Left to right: Author Meghna Pant, Food Blogger Archit Agarwal, Doctor and sex educator Dr Tanaya Narendra
Left to right: Author Meghna Pant, Food Blogger Archit Agarwal, Doctor and sex educator Dr Tanaya NarendraInstagram

Raksha Bandhan 2023: 3 Famous Siblings Share Their Rakhi Rituals

With food, fondness, and fun colouring Raksha Bandhan, we spoke to three brother-sister duos about their unique traditions and favourite things to eat

On Raksha Bandhan, a typical morning in most Indian households is filled with chaos. Cousins and uncles all gather in one place, while the fragrance of delicious food wafts in from the kitchens. A winning combination of good food and fondness, the festival of Raksha Bandhan cherishes the bond among siblings in the most special way.

To highlight the revelry of this festival, Outlook Traveller spoke to three famous brother-sister duos and asked them to share their memories of the festival and their favourite things to eat.

Meghna Pant and Sorabh Pant

Author Meghna Pant with brother, comedian Sorabh Pant
Author Meghna Pant with brother, comedian Sorabh Pant

Meghna Pant, journalist and author of "Boys Don't Cry" and "One & A Half Wife," shares her fondest memory of Raksha Bandhan with her equally famous brother, stand-up comedian and writer Sorabh Pant.

"In 2012, I had planned a trip with my parents to Darjeeling. At that time, I was living in Dubai. Sorabh surprised me by flying down from Mumbai to Siliguri on Rakhi just so I could tie him one, which was really lovely. And we then travelled together, which was one of our best family trips," said Meghna.

As for the traditions, both of them, being in the creative industry, have a lot on their plates all the time, but one non-negotiable tradition they follow is to show up for each other for the festival, no matter how busy they are.

"Even if it's a few days later, we do a puja, tie the Rakhi, and eat a meal together as a family. But being creative siblings, we also make our own rules," she explains. "In our home, we gender-subvert the tradition of the brother giving a gift to the sister. Ever since we both began earning, Sorabh created the tradition of taking cash from my wallet on Rakhi to buy gifts for himself and I, and that's the unique 'Pant' tradition we still follow."

Talking about their favourite food, Meghna said, "I'm a terrible cook; while Sorabh makes good food, he's usually too busy, so, when we're in Mumbai, we eat pahadi (Himachali) food lovingly made by our mother and order kalakand (my favourite) from Brijwasi and chomchom (his favourite) from Sweet Bengal, since we both love Indian sweets."

Dr Tanaya Narendra aka Dr Cuterus, and Abhinay Khoparzi

Dr Tanaya Narendra with brother Abhinay Khoparzi
Dr Tanaya Narendra with brother Abhinay Khoparzi

The Internet's most beloved doctor and sex educator, Dr Tanaya Narendra, popularly known on social media as Dr Cuterus, and her brother believe in celebrating a lazy Raksha Bandhan with minimal fuss and maximum fun.

"We don't have a very traditional Rakhi celebration at home. We wake up, take a shower and put the Rakhi on. It's not like a huge celebration in my household because my brother and I are very close," said Narendra.

They have a cute running joke about how little money her brother can give her.

"When I was a pre-teen, he used to give me 25 paise. When I became a teenager, he told me, 'Now you're a teenager, almost an adult, so I will upgrade you and give you more money—50 Paise.' So, every year, it's a running joke to see how little money he can give me. Recently, it's got a little more interesting. One time, I got a Norwegian kroner; another time, I got a pound; so as I turn 30 this year, I wonder what he plans to give me."

Belonging to the Chaturvedi community, they enjoy traditional meals on Raksha Bandhan that their mother cooks, including kheer, dhoi or moong dal, and jhor-bhat (curry and rice).

"The main coup in my house is what currency or what little amount of money I'm going to get this year, and we just share some sweets. We don't have a massive gifting tradition in my family; it's more of a satirical situation between my brother and I," said Narendra.

Archit Agarwal and Charuvi Singhal

Archit Agarwal with sister Charuvi Singhal
Archit Agarwal with sister Charuvi Singhal

"I am a single child, but I have a cousin who has been an integral part of my childhood. Her name is Charuvi Singhal, and she's an animator by profession," says Archit Agarwal, chef and popular social media food blogger whose easy recipes and simple food videos have won him many praises and followers.

Their typical rakhi tradition involved some of the quirkiest gifts they would get each other.

"My favourites have been a copper dye-casted insect keyring and a pink Barbie refrigerator, which I loved so much! We still try to follow this tradition," said Agarwal.

Shakkar paare are fried dough fingerlings dipped in a sugar solution
Shakkar paare are fried dough fingerlings dipped in a sugar solutionArchit Agarwal

"My fondest memory about Raksha Bandhan growing up was the food," he said. "In our house, we always celebrated the festival early in the morning. This meant that we got some of the yummiest desi breakfasts. My favourite is Nagori aloo and sooji ka halwa. The mix of sweet and savoury is what I loved the most about that meal. Besides that, my grandmother used to make shakkar paare—fried dough fingerlings dipped in a sugar solution. which, when cooled, creates the most beautiful casing of sugar crystals like the sugar laced around a Sour Punk candy."

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