Story by: Elisabeth Fong
On the 4th of August, the entire Sanjhi Tokri team headed to the Pilakhanwali village for our Raksha Bandhan celebrations. Earlier on that week, we asked our customers to leave an extra Rakhi in their baskets for collection, so that we could tie those Rakhis on their brother farmers hands.
It was symbolic of asking their brother farmers to provide protection against harmful chemicals and injections. This initiative was well received by our customers, as over a third of our customers sent in Rakhis. This filled us with enthusiasm and optimism as we headed to the village and there was an atmosphere of festivity in the air.
We also had the delivery team along with us, as we felt that it was just as important for them to see whose food they were delivering.
Once we arrived, we were warmly received by our packaging crew in the village, who gave us a generous spread of food and drinks. Even though it was only my second time at the village center, they remembered who I was and it felt as if we already had camaraderie.
Taking their own time, the Tokri weavers made their way over to the village center, and slowly after that, so did the farmers. The relaxed atmosphere in the village meant that things did not start on time – but we did not mind.
Having never taken part in a Raksha Bandhan before, or much less heard about it before coming to India, I was a little nervous when it came to my turn to tie a Rakhi. The entire atmosphere was kind and welcoming, and it was a truly humbling experience to be accepted as an outsider of the community and of the country to take part in such a significant event.