Dolls—old and new 30/09/2011

Though I had seen Dushera being celebrated  in the places I had lived during my younger days,HyderabadandJamshedpur, I feel the festive season  in Chennai brims with a myriad colours  and  variety. A walk down North Mada street in Mylapore  presents a breath taking view of the street side ‘kolu’ where dolls  are arranged in a very systematic/hierarchical  manner on an improvised gallery. The Gods and Goddesses occupy the top few steps and all the ‘mortal’ figures/figurines depicting the occupations they follow are found placed in a descending order. One can also witness a mock wedding  with the whole paraphernalia required on  the occasion. The solemn expressions of the  young bride and groom dressed in traditional clothes appear  just right with the priest performing the ritual (I noticed there were no mobiles anywhere near them). The wedding feast is all ready with the tables set for the guests  to partake the meal.(no floor meals anymore).

Then the animal  kingdom gets a place in the lower part of the gallery amidst a  rural  backdrop.

Coming to the ‘kolu’ arranged in some of my friends’ houses, I noticed a contrast  in their  collection which  was a mix of the old and the new dolls.

The former though just a few, could be easily identified by their sober colours and  sharp and well chiseled features with clear expressions. The new ones, though larger in variety  stood out like a sore thumb with  their gaudy colours and  features not much to speak of !

Who ever said old is gold still holds.

n.meera raghavendra rao     


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