Sharmili Mallick

With Raksha Bandhan, the festival celebrating the eternal bond between brothers and sisters, just two days away, and the ease in lockdown restrictions, the demand for Rakhis have skyrocketed in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar.

Make-shift Rakhi stalls have come up all over in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar with price tags ranging from Rs 2 to Rs 1,000 a piece.

“My brother lives outside the State and cannot come home due to the ongoing pandemic situation. So, I will be sending him Rakhi by post and celebrate the occasion online,” said a girl who visited a Rakhi stall at College Square in Cuttack.

“As the shutdown will be in force on Raksha Bandhan as the festival falls on Sunday, I will be celebrating it at home with my family members. I bought some Rakis and will be sending it to my brothers via courier,” said Pallavi Singh, a resident of Mahanadi Vihar in the Millennium City.

On the other hand, Rakhi vendors in the Twin City said that people are scared to come out to purchase Rakhis due to the fear of a third wave of Covid-19 pandemic. But they observed that the market situation is better as compared to last year and the demand will soar in the next two days.

“We have put up the stalls while adhering to all Covid-19 protocols as per the direction of the State Government and maintaining social distancing inside the stalls. The footfall of customers has declined partially as people prefer to order Rakhis online for the fear of the third wave. There are not much designs of Rakhis in the market this year as we did not receive products from Kolkata, Delhi and Ahemdabad,” said a Rakhi vendor in Cuttack.

“Among the new designs of Rakhis available in the market are photo printed Rakhis, silver and gold Rakhis and stone Rakhis,” another trader said.

Similar scenes were witnessed seen at several Rakhi markets of Bhubaneswar.

“The celebrations may subdue, but no pandemic can affect the bond between brothers and sisters. As shops will remain close on Sunday, I bought Rakhis two days ahead of the occasion,” said a customer at a Rakhi stall at Indradhanu Market in Bhubaneswar.

“We have many varieties of Rakhis including Tiranga Rakhi, Dhana (paddy) Rakhi, cartoon (characters) and stone Rakhis. As the festival falls on Sunday, we hope the business will gather momentum in the next two days,” said a Rakhi vendor in the Capital city.
On the other hand, Patara Bisoi servitors at the Srimandir in Puri have started making ‘Pata Rakhi’ which Devi Subhadra ties on Lord Balabhadra and Lord Jagannath on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan.

 “We make the Rakhis with Basunga Patra dipped in four natural colours- red, green, yellow and purple. While Lord Balabhadra wears green and purple Rakhis, Lord Jagannath wears red and yellow. We also make Guamala for the deities,” said a Patara Bisoi Sevayat.