“Don’t you wish you could take a single childhood memory and blow it up into a bubble and live inside it forever?” ― Sarah Addison All
Sonali Banerjee takes a trip down the memory lane and remembers her childhood days playing with dolls with her best friend. The fine details in the story are so engaging that you can visualize the pretend doll wedding that she describes. Our favorite part is the ending of the story.
I am a kid of late 60s. At that time there was no Barbie and Kane…but we had our own kind of dolls. We had small earthen pots and miniature kitchen equipments made up of metal, wood or clay. We would make small pretend doll houses for Diwali.
I just can’t forget those days spent with my best friend Swati, playing with such dolls. Swati was my neighbor as well as my classmate. Our Dads were colleagues too. When we first met in the school we became friends immediately.
We started spending time together in school. We used to talk so much in class that one day our class teacher asked us to sit on separate desks. Our friendship extended as we started visiting others house after school evening also. We played many games like Vish Amrit*, Ludo, Chinese Checkers and with our Dolls.
Her mother whom I used to call Kakima (Aunt in Bengali) was also very friendly and very creative .Apart from many other things she was fond of making dolls out of fabric. Those dolls were very beautiful and perfect. She used to sit with us when we played with dolls made by her and gave many innovative ideas. The one thing I remember most is when we planned a pretend wedding of our dolls. It turned out to be a gala event.
Kakima organised all the things methodically. She took the pain to make a lavish spread for our wedding. All in miniature sizes. Sweets and Puris (fried India Bread). Potato cut into small pieces made into a curry. Everything was served on tiny plates. Our brothers became the Baratis (the groom’s family). We made small special dresses for the bride and groom, packed tiny gifts for the bride and the groom’s relatives and performed all the rituals that are part of a traditional Bengali wedding.
There was this one particular ritual where the bride’s mother is supposed to measure the groom with a thread and then swallow that thread. (Don’t ask me why, it is an age old ritual.) Swati, who was the bride’s mother, was in a dilemma on how to swallow the thread. Obviously she was only a 8 year’s old ‘mother. So I took it upon me swallowed the thread with ripe banana that day.
Memories of what we experienced that day is so vivid and precious to me that I will never ever forget it.
Last year, Swati’s real daughter got married. Unfortunately I was not able to attend the wedding ceremony. I did wonder though whether she had mustered enough courage to swallow the thread that day.
*Vish Amrit is a popular game played by children in India. It is very similar to playing tag. but once you are tagged you stay put in your place till another team member can come and help release you from your spot.