Rakshabandhan is just around the corner. The Hindu festival, Rakhi, celebrates the unconditional love between brothers and sisters. The festival that fosters the togetherness between brothers and sisters falls in the auspicious month of Shravan on a full moon day. Traditionally, on this day, sisters tie rakhi on their brother's wrist and perform an aarti for their good health and long life, where the brother in return promises to protect his sister in return.
Here are some popular faces recounting their fond memories of this popular festival.
Ssharad Malhotra Popular television actor, Ssharad Malhotra, who stays away from home, makes sure that he goes back home in Kolkata every Rakshabandhan to spend much-needed family time. He says, "Tying a Rakhi basically means a brother has to protect his sister but that goes without tying a Rakhi too. I am a younger sibling and my sister, Reema, is eight years elder, so she has always been protective of me since the time I came to my senses, it has been the same from my side. I am like her child and she's my mother figure. Over the years it hasn't changed anything we still bond the same."
The actor has always celebrated Rakshabandhan at his hometown and the family’s home-cooked lunch and dinner, prepared by his mother and sister, is something he finds more delicious than any of his go-to food joints. He fondly remembers the time he met his sister and his extended family where they all indulged in this lavish spread prepared by his mother which included his favourite foods: rajma chawal, paneer butter masala and gajar ka halwa.
Chef Kunal Kapoor Chef Kunal Kapoor, also the judge of the TV series MasterChef India says that this festival has always been all about bonding with the sister and taking care of her. He fondly remembers Rakhi celebrations from his childhood; flaunting fancy rakhis, a thoroughly enjoyed day-off from school and a fun time with all the cousins got together. When combined with a long weekend, it was basically a blast for him and his extended family. Growing up in a typical Punjabi house, he still remembers elders singing songs. He says, "We used to listen to the elderly women singing, they have a typical Punjabi song for every relation. It’s nice to hear, we didn’t understand a word, but we would just giggle and enjoy it.”
Today, his family usually plans a lunch or a late brunch on Rakhi, and even though he does not have a special Rakshabandhan spread, he tries to cook something for his sister Shiba Celly, who loves having aloo puri, chole kulche, homemade chaat and dhokla at home. They end the meal with a large portion of ice cream or kulfi. One thing that is synonymous with the celebration is the kheer made by Chef Kapoor's mom. Also, since there is a surplus of mithai during the festive season, he loves to give his own twist to barfi by mashing it up and tossing it in the oven with almonds, saffron, raisins and some desiccated coconut to make this perfectly grilled coconut barfi that they all indulge in with some ice cream.
Chef Gautam Mehrishi For Chef Gautam Mehrishi, Rakshabandhan is all about sharing the emotional attachment and showering his sister with love and blessings. His sister, Geetika Verma, has been in the US for more than 16 years now, but she sends a Rakhi to him without fail, every single year, and they also connect over a video call. Also, Mehrishi's daughter ties him Rakhi on behalf of his sister. (Also read: How to make your rakhi and eat it too!)
Talking about Rakshabandhan, Chef Mehrishi gets nostalgic recollecting this one instance when he was in Leh and could not make it for Rakhi. He says, "Even though I was about to return, I could not make it, but I managed getting in touch with my sister via a video call. We also had a conference call with my folks back in Mumbai. Instead of Rakhi, there was snow on my wrist and a compass in my hand, I pointed it towards my sister and we sat in such a way that we were geographically facing each other while tying the Rakhi virtually."
Homemade kaju ki barfi and besan laddu is their go-to desserts on festive season. Mehrishi and his son love besan ke laddu. So his sister makes sure she sends both the sweetmeats. But during the childhood, Mehrishi and his sister were more fond of cakes and pastries than mithai, so they would bake cake and do the icing together. It was their sweet and simple way of bonding.
"After growing up, I realised the importance of having a sister in life, because there are many who do not, so I feel lucky to have one. As people say there should always be a daughter in a family, similarly I feel a sister brings more happiness and love in the family", he adds.
Chef Pankaj Bhadouria The winner of MasterChef India Season 1 says, "To me, Rakshabandhan is a festival that celebrates the bond between siblings. An occasion to get together and celebrate, an occasion also an excuse to eat lots of sweets! It is no longer about a brother protecting a sister. I see it as a reaffirmation of our love for each other, the faith that we will always stand by each other.”
She feels in today's busy lifestyle, it becomes a reason to stay connected with your siblings. But since her brother lives in another city, she posts him a Rakhi and connects over a video call. "I also tie a Rakhi to Lord Ganesha, who I deeply believe in", she adds.
Some of Chef’s fondest memories are of all the cousins getting together and creating a ruckus. It was also about all the money the kids would get from the cousins and then spending it together. Another thing synonymous with Rakshabandhan is Bhadouria's mother-in-law's doodh pheni or sevaiyan. It is a family tradition and Bhadouria follows suit!
Ripu Daman Handa
Talking about the festival, celebrity chef Ripu Daman Handa says, "I feel sisters are a great gift of God to the mankind. They pray for their brother’s success and well-being hence I feel brothers in return protect their sister in every situation."
But since the chef does not have a sister, he celebrates it with his sister-in-law Sakhi Taneja Handa, they usually head out to Khan Market or Pandara Road spend the day together. "This festival is special because I celebrate it with my bhabhi who is more than a sister", he adds.
A particular dessert that he associates with this festival is son papdi and he also loves to indulge in ajwain wali poori and aloo ki sabji made by his sister-in-law on this day.
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