So, there is always this confusion regarding my caste and religion.
Because in India, so many distinctions exist, they are bound to merge.
By caste, I would be Kutchi (i.e. hailing from the Kutch district of Gujarat).
My family follows the religion of Jainism.
On both counts, I belong to a minority.
Except when you consider the larger region I come from, i.e. Gujarat.
We have an abundant population all over the world.
Raksha Bandhan is a festival celebrated throughout India,
popularized primarily by the North.
Essentially, it is a day of celebration for brothers and sisters.
Sisters tie rakhis (a holy thread if you may) on their brothers’ wrists.
They do so in exchange for a lifetime of protection.
The exchange is sweetened with both feeding one another mithais
(traditional Indian sweets).
The brothers unite
In the city of Mumbai, everything can be made commercial.
We like to have fun with our rakhis.
As our brothers seem to enjoy toys and animals more than traditonal symbols.
While scrambling for something different is always a task.
We came across these paper quilled rakhis at an exhibiton.
A little bit of research on paper quilling will tell you all about its origin,
historical transition and popularity, even in today’s day and time.
What I find most interesting though is how modern rakhi-makers integrate all these art forms into making rakhis. The mere transference of the art form generates interest in the user and receiver.
Another art form I am extremely fond of is greeting card creation.
Hence, in a matter of minutes, I whipped up a greeting card
to be sent to my cousin brother residing abroad (picture above).
This excerpt from Vikram Seth’s ‘A Suitable Boy’ [edited] , you might enjoy:
Mrs Rupa Mehra glanced in a cursory manner over her piles of old … cards before returning to the birthday roses. She took out a small pair of scissors from the recesses of her great black handbag. … Eight years of the deprivation of small luxuries could not reduce her for the sanctity of the … greeting. In fact she enjoyed the challenge of making … cards. Scraps of cardboard, shreds of ribbon, lengths of coloured paper, little silver stars and adhesive golden numerals lay in a variegated trove at the bottom of the largest of her three suitcases, and these were now pressed into service. …
“It’s not a standard greeting | For just one joyful day | But a wish that’s meant to cover | Life’s bright and shining way – “
Greeting cards today are extremely fancy sitting pretty in large air-conditioned shops. The only element, they miss perhaps, is a personal touch. Nothing speaks better in a greeting than your own voice.
Speaking of such nice traditions, the rakhi tying is accompanied by a ritual.
The sister paints a tikka/tilak on the brother’s forehead,
and consequently decoartes it with chokha.
They exchange blessings and good wishes. Of course, gifts are included.
Thali/Tray preparation for Raksha Bandhan
If all these aspects had an important role to play in the celebration.
How could the ensemble not be important?
In keeping with the spirit of tradition and cultural roots,
I picked an ensemble dad brought from Kutch especially for me.
The embroidery on the kurta is perhaps
the work of a local Muslim ‘karigar’,
Although it has the remnants of the handicraft so popular in the region.
The brocade border on the hem is popular even now.
My traditional ensemble
I’m extremely fond of costume jewellery as I find it more dynamic, innovative and less heavy on the pocket as compared to real jewellery.
Like all things I like, create and have fun with, everything featured in the post was custom-made.
I always come across various people who have a creative bent of mind.
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Do you celebrate Raksha Bandhan? How do you celebrate it? Would you like to know more? Are you interested in the traditions and festivals of India?