These days children’s toys are slick, they are smart and they appear from a different world altogether. Every time, I have to gift a toy to a little one, I find it way too impersonal, without the touch of love. Recently, when I walked into a Durga Puja Pandal in Hindustan Park, Kolkata ; I was transported to my forgotten toys of childhood. Growing up in a Kolkata suburb with limited means, I had to chose what I wanted wisely !! Those were the days of village fairs that would come to the fringes of the city as a mela and put up stalls on the roadside. You could get quite a lot with 1 Re; infact I felt quite rich if I had a few coins in my pocket.
The wooden ones with painted faces and limbs or the colorful terracotta animals and birds it was a difficult choice. Then came the plastic ones specially the colorful balls which I would try to bounce on the wall. I was smiling unknowingly, transported to back in time.
I recalled negotiating with my grandmother for an extra 10p to buy a bunch of ducks and I was willing to fan her for extra 10 mins during the hot summer afternoon.Those were the long days of power outage and when the ceiling fan did not work, you would use fans made of palm leaves with a wooden handle to beat the heat. I touched them with my fingers and the memories came flashing by.
While walking out, I saw those large dolls of mythological characters which were used to transport unsuspecting children into a fantasy land of kings, queens, gods and the demons and a few apsaras thrown in. Whatever, happened to the old man (dadu-grandfather) who added his twist to the mythologies and presented to us. I am sure anyone, who has grown in the 70’s and 80’s in Kolkata or in the Eastern part of India will find this familiar. With the passage of time, the fantasy world of children have changed. Maybe what is modern today will be history then; what is a fad now will be faded and forgotten then and life will move on its course…
- Kolkata Durga Puja 2015
- Kolkata Durga Puja 2014
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- Truck Art from India
- Kolkata – A City that Moves