30th Jul 2012
The Hindu festive season is just around the corner, which starts with Raksha Bandhan. This is generally considered the beginning of the holiday season as far as the Hindu calendar is concerned, and ends with Diwali, somewhere by mid-November. Whether devoutly religious or not, Raksha Bandhan (celebrated this year on 2nd August) is a ceremony that every sister looks forward to with bated breath — she finally gets to demand a costly gift from her otherwise kanjoos brother. For those who haven’t decided what to pick up for their sister yet, here are a few options you can look at, based on your sibling's personality. Going the tech way could end up saving you a bit of money, as well as choosing a gift that your hard-to-please sister might actually appreciate for once.
Part II of this feature, gift ideas for brothers, is now available here.
The Safety-Conscious Sister
As a protective brother, you're probably worried as to how your dear sister will fare in this big, bad world. You want to take care of her even when you're not around, without being too intrusive. If you want to gift her something that will not just give you peace of mind, but also ensure her well-being, here are some interesting items you can check out.
Price (As On 26-Jul-2012): Rs 100 per year
If your sister has a smartphone or tablet that runs on the BlackBerry, Android, or Symbian platforms, this is a good day to gift her a FightBack subscription. The app lets the user send an SOS message when in any kind of danger, using the GPS tracker to let others know where she is at the moment. Just instruct your sister to press the big, red [fB] button when she senses a threat nearby. Within five seconds, the software sends out an SMS and email alert to five pre-fed contacts, as well as posting an SOS message on her Facebook Wall along with her current location. This way, she can alert as many people as possible to the danger she is in, ensuring that someone is in a position to call the police.
Street Price (As On 26-Jul-2012): Rs 250 - Rs 500 (Healthkart.com); Rs 300 (OlivePlanet.in)
Gadgets can run out of power, and apps can crash when you need them the most. Moreover, with the FightBack app, there will obviously be a lag between the call for help and the rescue effort. What is a woman in danger supposed to do in the interim? Worry not, because a can of pepper spray is a handy self-defence tool, which your sister can carry in her bag anywhere she goes. If getting hold of one locally is a problem, as always, you can turn to the web. Depending on your budget, you can pick up a keychain-sized can for as little as Rs 250, or a full-strength spray for as high as Rs 500. If you plan on buying this, do teach your sister the right way to use it too.
The Geeky Sister
Girls are generally known to be more inclined towards learning and academics than their male counterparts. If you have a know-it-all sibling who is a voracious reader with an overflowing book collection, here are a few options you can look at.
Street Price (As on 26-Jul-2012): Rs 4500 (IDASystems.net); Rs 4200 (eBay.in)
If you have a sister with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, then Openmoko's WikiReader will make for quite a useful gift. The 4", touch-friendly device has the whole of Wikipedia.com loaded in its storage so that you don't have to go online. It runs off two AAA-sized batteries and uses an e-ink display. The only downside is its glossy screen, which reduces sunlight legibility. Since it isn’t connected to the Internet, and doesn’t have any external ports, you need to update the bundled microSD card by connecting it to your PC through a card reader, then visiting the device's website. These updates are around the 5 GB mark and are available on a quarterly basis, so you will need a fast Internet connection with high download limits if you want to keep the device current.
Amazon Kindle Wi-Fi (4th Generation)
Street Price (As on 26-July-2012): Rs 5500 (Junglee.com); Rs 5900 (eBay.in)
If your sis prefers reading novels to knowing all about the world, then the Amazon Kindle is the perfect gift for her. The fourth generation, Wi-Fi-only e-book reader features a high-contrast Pearl e-ink display, which looks just as good as a regular paperback. The device sports a 6" display with a 16-level greyscale range and a pixel size of 600x800. With dimensions of 6.5" (l) x 4.5" (w) x 0.3" (9 mm) (d) and a weight of just 170 grammes, it can house several books in its 2 GB internal storage space (of which around 1.5 GB is usable). It offers support for the AZW, TXT, PDF, MOBI, PRC, HTML, DOC, DOCX, JPG, GIF, PNG, and BMP formats, so she can add books of any type — without worrying about where to store them all, or getting dog ears on the book's pages.
The Vanity-Obsessed Sister
Does your pyaari behenaa like to spend an inordinate amount of time in front of the mirror? Well, this is the one time of the year where you're actually supposed to indulge her whims, instead of scolding her. However, if you're shy of having to shop for "girlie" things, know that you usually can't go wrong with gifts like chocolates, accessories, jewellery, and soft toys. Thankfully, there are several websites from where you can order such stuff, without having to face the embarrassment of getting caught by your male friends while pondering over which shade of lipstick to buy.
No girl who likes dressing up can resist a good pair of earrings. If you want to go all out and get some gold jewellery, check out our post on buying gold online here. However, if you're looking for something that's easier on your pocket, then imitation jewellery is the way to go. One such place to shop is Juvalia.in. Getting around the website is easy, and if you're at all confused, just go to the Best Sellers section and pick up whatever looks good.
Clothes And Shoes
It can be a bit difficult to buy shoes online — most people want to try them out for size and comfort — but it seems to be fashionable to buy them online these days. As far as apparel is concerned, elders seem to enjoy the idea of gifting clothes to the young ones in the house. Websites such as Jabong.com and Myntra.com let you pick up such items with ease. Just figure out your sister's closest dress size and make a purchase. Even if the size is slightly off, like all fashion-loving girls, she'll definitely have a preferred tailor who'll alter it to her comfort.
Apart from jewellery, girls like makeup, clutches, bags, nailpolishes, belts, and whatnot — all clubbed under the category of "accessories". Looking at how nail art is gaining popularity, you can surprise your sister with some internationally designed nail polishes. From vibrant blues and sober nude shades to standard pastel hues, UrbanTouch.com has quite a range on offer. You can pick from whatever best suits your sister's personality, moods, and your pocket.
Well, that about covers shopping for sisters. In the next part, we'll look at what return gifts considerate didis can buy for their brothers. Until then, happy shopping!
Raksha Bandhan 2012: Part I — Gift Ideas For Your Sister
For doting brothers, here are a few gifting options for your sibling, based on her personality type.
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