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