Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Sunday Scribblings - "Toys"

I don’t think I had many toys when I was growing up, mainly because I begged for books instead. I do remember having one doll – with long golden hair - which mostly lived in the cupboard because I didn’t play with it much. For a while the doll remained in the original packaging as my parents didn’t want the doll to get dirty. But the packaging was eventually discarded.

The doll had a comb for its hair, but that idea didn’t work very well because the nylon hair had a tendency to get terribly tangled. I didn’t have the patience to untangle it - which is perhaps the reason for the mysterious hairstyle change that the doll underwent one day.

I honestly don’t remember how it happened, but the doll’s hair became short in the back, with uneven bangs over the forehead. I admit to having had a fascination with the “Sadhana cut” and with Zeenat Aman’s hairstyle in the movie Qurbani, and I remember my dad’s amused remark that I had probably played hairdresser to the doll – but I protested my innocence then and I maintain to date that I have no recollection of any such events... if the deed was indeed mine, so to speak.

In any case, the doll’s appearance was not improved by its shorter hair. In fact, it became sort of bald, revealing the little holes in its cranium which had once held the golden strands. The doll remained shut away from everyday life thereafter, although it dutifully traveled with us wherever my dad was transferred. I don’t recall what happened to the doll in the end – I think perhaps that a younger cousin took possession of it, bald head and all.

The one type of toy that I did play with were cardboard dolls. I had received a couple of books as birthday presents, which had dolls made of cardboard with dresses and hats made of paper, that I could cut out and attach to the dolls by means of little foldable tabs. There were only a few dresses, and I soon got bored with their limitations. That was when I began drawing and colouring my own dresses for the dolls.

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When the original cardboard dolls eventually lost their heads and hands, I began drawing my own version of the dolls – very basic, with their arms and legs ending in bland curves, with no hands or feet.

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But soon I evolved a thumb for the hands (but no fingers) and a foot shape for the legs (but no toes) because it was difficult to draw gloves or boots for bland curves, and even more difficult to attach them to the cardboard doll.

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At first I painstakingly cut out the clothes that I’d drawn and coloured, fitting them to my basic dolls to check if the designs (!) looked nice on them. Fairly soon this grew to be a painfully boring process – especially if I forgot to draw or cut out the tabs, which made it impossible for my dolls to model the clothes – and I stuck to merely drawing and colouring the various dresses, gowns, swim suits, hats, boots, shoes and other accessories on plain sheets of paper. In the end it wasn’t the dolls that interested me, it was the artwork involved. I enjoyed doing this for a while, especially when a friend of my mother admired my “creativity”, remarking that I could be a fashion designer.

Unfortunately, though, books turned out to be consistently much more interesting, and the few thoughts I’d had about fashion fizzled out completely, replaced by a strong desire to become a journalist (helped along by the fact that my best subject in school was English composition).

And so the loss to the world of fashion design came about... although I can't really claim that the world of journalism gained anything either.

Oh well.

PS. Please forgive the extreme amateurishness of the illustrations. I can't draw with a mouse!

5 comments:

Greyscale Territory said...

Such an honest unveiling of a child's world that didn't feature toys! I must admit, books were rather precious to me too!

linda may said...

I did that too. :)

ummon said...

for a moment i thought those were sketches from childhood.
i still have a doll from my childhood. a big rubber-plastic boy sitting on a green potty, showing his bum. O is tickled that I played with something as silly as that.
ps: welcome back

Teesu (very very Indian, very very good) said...

Heh heh. I DO have a tough time imagining you with dolls. Maybe because I know you missed many a bus with your nose in some book or the other even at the bus stop? The sentence about the loss to the worlds of fashion and journalism is so funny LOL.

Kamini said...

Such a charming post! What a difference to how children play today! No doubt your creative mind and writing skills blossomed the way they did!
I too had one beloved doll who suffered one unfortunate hair cut (there was none left after that to remedy matters!); most of the time I had my nose buried in some book!