For decades now, India has celebrated the relationship between siblings, typically a brother and sister, through the festival of Raksha Bandhan. With a promise to protect and cherish, brothers usually present their sisters with a gift in return of a rakhi tied around their wrist. This rakhi signifies a bond of protection.
History dictates we let our boys be the bearer of their sisters’ safety and well-being. This almost one-way street makes for a tradition that is imbalanced and reflects even in the festival’s ceremonies and gift-giving practices. Instead of putting things such as love, care and guardianship into boxes of gender, why not widen the possibilities of siblings sharing affection and protection mutually? Let’s ungender this bond of love.
All sentiments aside, a big part of what makes Raksha Bandhan so exciting for siblings is the exchange of rakhis and gifts. This mammoth task can be daunting if your sibling has great expectations and all you have in mind is a box of chocolates you found at your local supermarket. You could try gifting just that, but the look of disappointment on your sibling’s face will be much more than apparent.
We at Homegrown would not want you to falter in the slightest, and so we put together a list of contemporary rakhis that your sibling is bound to appreciate. These homegrown brands provide functional and contemporary designs with a conscious ethos for your sister or your brother, allowing you to go past the myopic lens of traditional rakhi gift-giving.
I. Habba Org.
With their two-pronged project, ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Artisan’ project, you can now send rakhis to our country’s soldiers, who brave extremes to keep us safe and at the same time, contribute to providing livelihoods to the local artisans of India.
II. Maker’s Asylum
Maker’s Asylum offers not just rakhis, but an opportunity to carry out a DIY activity with your sibling. The eccentric DIY blinking rakhis come in two designs, one of them being an animated auto. The kit is provided to you with all the required parts, all you need to bring is some creativity and friendly sibling banter (and a soldering kit, which they sell) to make it a memorable rakhi. If you ask us, this one’s the real deal.
III. Nappa Dori
With rakhis that are sure to earn you the ‘best sibling’ title, Nappa Dori presents a remarkable range. The real kicker is their line of rakhis that can be worn on many more occasions. What would make for an extraordinary rakhi would also double as a brilliant accessory to accompany various outfits.
Nicobar’s most magical offering (apart from their beautiful home decor collection) is their range of rakhis and gift sets. Complete with a gold or silver plated rakhi and a couple of other special treats, Nicobar preaches modern love and doesn’t limit the celebration of Raksha Bandhan between a brother and sister. They extend it to friends, family and anyone else close to you.
Apart from all the goodness provided by Samoolam through their efforts towards sustainability, providing livelihoods to women and dedication to Indian crafts, they put up rakhis worthy of a closer look. Crocheted by hand in playful arrangements and designs, their products are definitely what the people in the room will be talking about. Their range of rakhis looks out for youngsters as well as those that desire something slightly more sophisticated. The joy experienced, however, remains constant.
Sartorial also has the ones looking for delicate, light and elegant rakhis covered. Exquisitely crafted and intricately put together, the artisanal rakhis are sent in handmade pouches, adding that extra personal touch.
Handcrafted by artisans from Varanasi, Scrapshala’s rakhis are made from a traditional cotton thread (mauli) and cork. Completely eco-friendly, the rakhi contains a basil or marigold seed that can be planted! They offer quirky designs such as Peppa Pig as well as more traditional and simple designs.
Continuing the theme of sustainability, the rakhis made by SeedIt are plantable! These 100 per cent eco-friendly and biodegradable rakhis can also be customised. This Raksha Bandhan could mark the journey of growth for you and your sibling, and simultaneously for your very own plant.
The Burlap People offer hand-crafted and eco-friendly rakhis made of burlap, a fibre of the jute plant that is 100 per cent biodegradable and recyclable! Available in a range of designs and colours, these are far from typical rakhis. Apart from these special burlap rakhis, they even have a range of gift cards available for Raksha Bandhan. This year, you can tie your sibling more than a string. With The Burlap People, you will be able to take a step forward and promise a sustainable lifestyle.
Their hand-crafted artisanal rakhis mark true craftsmanship. Straying away from traditional designs, yet somehow maintaining an Indian touch, these rakhis introduce a pop of colour among other fun elements.
A special Homegrown mention goes out to Bombay Sweet Shop who pack joy into boxes with rakhi-themed mithais. You can choose from Dry fruit-stuffed Malai Pedas, Ruby Chocolate Coated Kaju Bon Bons, Coconut Caramel Patissa bars among others. They have teamed up with Riddhika Jesrani who has designed and curated intricate clay rakhis to make each box extra special!
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