HYDERABAD, INDIA August 3, 2012 (Times of India): It was festival time in the city on Thursday as families celebrated Raksha Bandhan with great fervor. Most schools and colleges remained closed on the occasion while sweet shops and gift stores cashed in on the festive boom to report 25%-40% increase in sales. Gift boxes of assorted chocolates sold like hotcakes this year according to some store managers.
While some celebrated at home in the traditional way with the sister observing a fast until she tied the rakhi on her brother’s wrist after taking elders’ blessings, others celebrated at their workplaces with their co-workers. City roads were not as clogged as is usual and many restaurants organized rakhi-themed lunches and dinners with special and traditional items on their menu.
Rajesh Dadu, proprietor of Dadu’s Mithai Vatika, said, “Sales today are three times more than on a regular day and 25% better than last year. We were not expecting such a good response from the public but customers started pouring in from yesterday itself. We made the most of the rush by making special festive sweets like sitaphal rasmalai, pineapple mazab, badam and kaju sweets shaped like rakhis and other snacks like mini pizzas.
Meanwhile, gift stores in the city were crowded with customers looking for the perfect gift for their family members. “We have never recorded such high sales of chocolate during raksha bandhan. Our profits this year are at least 50% greater than previous year’s figures,” said Sayeed Abid, supervisor at Himalaya Book World.
The girls and women who don’t have brothers or can’t be with them, like Padma, tie the rakhis around Deities at Raksha Bandhan, the festival which celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters.
Meena, a young woman who has four sisters, says that the male Gods always protect those women who consider the Gods as Their sibling. “When my mother died, lord gave me the support and comfort I needed to bear the loss,” she says, while sitting on the stairs of Laxmi Narayan Mandir. “Just like a brother would give to his sister.” Besides Vishnu, Meena also makes sure to tie the rakhi around the wrists of her cousin, Raju, who presents her with a sari every year.
“The festival may seem light-hearted to some people,” says Raju, as he sits beside Meena. “But the responsibility a sister bestows on him is huge. The brother will never leave his sister alone. This is not a game for us. The thread brings with it a lot of prayers. Before the actual festival begins, women fast for 17 days and pray for their husbands and brothers.