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The tie that binds

Smita Tripathi | August 28, 2004

Festival marketing is becoming big business in India. So, with Raksha Bandhan round the corner, it might be smart to check out what's on offer for fond siblings -- you might be surprised at how much things have changed.

The fact is that everything from silver rakhis to watches or even holidays are being marketed by enthusiastic salesmen. Amazingly, courier and distribution companies have also jumped on to the bandwagon with special discounts for loving sisters who want to send rakhis across the globe.

Out there in front is Frazer and Haws, which has introduced silver and gold rakhis. The rakhis come in a variety of symbols ranging from Om, Ganpati, Swastik to Rudraksha. The silver rakhis are priced at Rs 295 each and come with a silver chain, so the rakhi can be worn as a pendant later.

The gold rakhis are crafted in 18k gold and are embellished with either a ruby or an emerald. They too can be worn as pendants later. Price: Rs 2,600 onwards.

Then, there's Tanishq, which has also introduced a whole range of gold earrings, pendants and rings as part of its rakhi collection. These start at Rs 1,995.

There is also a scheme for brothers. On purchase of any gift from this collection, the brother gets a silver or gold coin (depending upon the value of the gift) -- free. The offer is valid till August 30, 2004.

Then there's Casio India, the 100 per cent subsidiary of the $6 billion Japanese consumer electronics giant has launched a new range of wristwatches for women in time for Rakhi.

These analogue wristwatches are available with either metal bands or leather straps. The metal band is made of corrosion-resistant stainless steel and is priced at Rs 1,595 while the leather straps are available in bright colours such as blue, orange and red and are priced at Rs 1,395.

These watches are available at Casio's exclusive stores and also at departmental stores such as Lifestyle and Shopper's Stop.

For those who prefer to gift something a little more exciting to their siblings, Travel Corporation of India offers holiday gift vouchers. You can simply gift your sibling a holiday.

These 'Giftcheques' are available at a minimum value of Rs 1, 000, and can be used to buy a holiday in India or internationally or against any other travel service provided by TCI.

The cheques can be purchased from any TCI office across India. TCI will advise on the ideal holiday, keeping in mind the occasion, the budget and the person they wish to gift it to. The Giftcheques are valid for one year from the issue date and are transferable.

At an entirely different level, Ravissant, the leading lifestyle and accessories store has introduced thalis in 92.5 sterling silver, priced between Rs 4,000 and Rs 15,000 (depending upon the size). There are also silver Ganeshas that can be gifted, priced at Rs 3,000 onwards.

And if sending a rakhi to your brother in the US is a problem, TNT, a multinational express distribution company will take care of that. The company offers the 'Raksha Bandhan' service.

This is an exclusive service that allows you to send a personalised package (in vibrant orange) of a rakhi, rice and tikka abroad to your brother -- even if he is half way across the globe.

Anyone who wants to send their own rakhi, has to just call up the TNT customer service number in their city. The company will pick it up at your doorstep. TNT is offering discounts for rakhi and so delivery to the US will cost Rs 992 and to the UK Rs 936.

TNT has even thrown in one extra service that couldn't have been available a few years ago. The company allows customers to track the progress of their rakhi on its way to its destination via SMS and email. That's certainly a new one for the books.

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