Anindya Shankar Ray
Netbook (Rs 14,500-Rs 20,000)
Laptop (Rs 23,500-plus)
Mobile phone (Rs 2,000-Rs 38,000 for iPhone)
Digital camera (Rs 3,999-plus)
Digital photoframe (Rs 5,000-plus)
Wireless headphone (Rs 3,200-plus)
Pen drive (Rs 260-plus)
Geek is the new black. And gadgets the new gold. This year, gifts for Rakshabandhan are moving from traditional jewellery to trendy tech.
“Many people have booked the iPhone or the MacBook as a surprise delivery for August 24. The spot sale of the iPod Nano is also very high,” says Sanjay Chordia of Imagine, Apple’s premium store at City Centre 1 & 2.
With the launch of the iPhone 3GS and the iPad, Mac products are a dear buy this Rakhi for the, er, apple of his/her eye. “I got my sister an iPhone 3G. She loves touchscreen phones and is using an HTC phone now. My two-year-old son loves to play with her phone and has inflicted quite a bit of damage, so the iPhone 3G will be a perfect gift for her,” says Pankaj Kankaria. “Last year, I gave her jewellery but I thought why not give her something that is more with the times,” adds the businessman from Loudon Street.
With the new college season in full swing, laptops are the most wanted for siblings moving out of the city. Elder brothers and sisters are using this special occasion to gift the younger ones something that they really need. “Nowadays, gifts for special occasions are chosen keeping in mind the utility of the product; something that is used every day has more meaning,” says Chordia.
The rise and rise in the price of gold has also helped shift Rakhi buys from conventional jewels to jazzed-up digitals. The netbook, a compact and mini version of the laptop, has been moving fast. “Something like a netbook is easier on the pocket (around Rs 20,000) than gold but at the same time as weighty as gold,” points out Pinky Rathi at the Dell showroom in Kankurgachhi.
To colour it right for boys and girls, these netbooks now come in a splash of rainbow shades. “Pink and red laptops are being bought for the sisters while blue is a hot pick for the brothers,” adds Rathi.
Smaller tech toys are selling well for budget buys. “Rakhi gifts popular this year are wireless headphones, digital photoframes and the Kodak Playsport camera that can be used under water,” says Pooja Baid of Great Eastern Technocity.
“While wireless headphones free you from listening to music or watching a movie close to your stereo system, a digital photoframe is symbolic of memories and relationships, which is what Rakhi is all about,” explains Pooja at the multi-brand electronics stop on Sarat Bose Road, where Netbooks starting at Rs 14,500 are the top draw.
With social networking becoming a craze, tech tools wired to websites like Facebook are also hot-sellers. “Digital cameras that come in bright cool colours with direct upload to Facebook and other networking sites are doing well,” adds Pooja.
Mobile phone companies cashing in on the festive flavour are also targeting GeNext’s “social networkers”. For Rakhi, Sony Ericsson is offering “on-the-go entertainment getaways” with the Xperia X10 Mini (Rs 15, 000) and Mini Pro (Rs 16, 000). The lure is a glance through friend updates on Facebook and Twitter “without the hassle” of opening multiple applications.
For brothers and sisters now, the tech tool as a gift is both “cool and useful”. No wonder it is the rage in the run-up to Rakhi.