Call Me Old School, But I Hate That The Commercialisation Of Rakhi Has Reduced It To A Transaction!

Caring now means hampers and pampers. We have to create the perfect memories and experiences, so we shop more. Gift more. Order more. Plan more. Do more. But where's the real love?

Rakhi musings…

It was a low key, yet traditional Raksha Bandhan for me yesterday. Yes, even though it seems a contradiction, it is possible. In fact, that is how all festivals are for me.

When we were kids, festivals were about the festivals themselves. Some rituals, some festivity, and a lot of togetherness – in person and in spirit. That was enough – or so it seemed to be.

Enter commercialisation

Then, slowly, without our realizing it, the economy which was “opening up” unleashed a blitzkrieg of commercialization.

Festivals, occasions, events were to be celebrated. Announced to the world. After all, they were a validation of our “being worth it.” Our having “arrived.” Our gifts, and the money that went into them, were a measure of love, feelings and joy. And since these were immeasurable, the stakes were high. We were encouraged to ramp up our efforts, time and moolah accordingly.

This was followed by social media, where the photo became more important than the truth (like our lives). The picture-perfect pictures that our friends and families, and their friends and families were the benchmark. The color coordinated dresses, the photoshoot ready homes, the salon fresh looks- it was aspirational, desirable; and doable- so we were led to believe.

Gifts took on a whole new dimension too- now we had to go beyond the mundane items on especially curated gifts. Caring meant hampers and pampers. We had to create the perfect memories and experiences, so we shopped more. Gifted more. Ordered more. Planned more. Did more.

What’s wrong with intimate family celebrations?

And that was okay. Perfectly fine for those who wanted to and did any of these because that was how they felt they should celebrate. (In my case, most of these were not options as I can hardly get the family to come together for a picture; and If I go out for a salon look, the house will not even be photo-shoppable).

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I meanwhile continued with my low-key traditional celebrations…. I sent all my cousins and sibling their rakhis well in time. I met those who lived in Delhi-NCR and spent time with their family at leisure. Called or connected with the others. Generally enjoyed the happiness that connecting with those with whom there is so much of a shared past brings. There was a lot of chocolate. Some photographs. Lovely food. I checked out a lovely monsoon mela; bought myself a little something with their generous tokens of love.

Please, let’s go back to family?

And then I saw those memes. These were new (at least for me).

They were all of the tune of “the sister buying a rakhi for a pittance, and then demanding a fortune in return from her sibling”!

To reduce the feelings and emotions to money. To put a value on that love. To demean a relationship so strong and beautiful. To evaluate the thread that is symbolic of love and shared memories in terms of money.

Is this what we have become?

And no, it’s not a joke. (“Just a joke” is an oxymoron) If you could see that meme and not flinch, if you smiled, or even forwarded that meme, you need to know its not okay.

Call me Old school. Traditional. Someone who doesn’t have a sense of humour .Whatever. But this is not okay.

Image source: Nikhil Patil from Getty Images Free for Canva Pro

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About the Author

shalini mullick

Shalini is an author and a practicing doctor specializing in respiratory pathology. Her book Stars from the Borderless Sea (2022) was longlisted for the AutHer Awards 2023 (Debut category). Shalini was awarded a Jury Appreciation read more...

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