Thursday, April 7, 2011

Life in plastic, it's fantastic!

Big blue eyes and shimmering blonde hair. Perfect 34” 24” 36” figures and an exquisitely sophisticated wardrobe. Eternal, ceaseless smiles embossed on cheerful plastic faces. They were my world. And what a flowery, glittery, dazzling world it was!

I got my first Barbie doll when I was eight. (Before that I used to use my sister’s old ones, so they technically weren’t mine) I was so thrilled that I did not/could not study for days. I named her Annie and I would spend hours and hours dressing her up, changing her clothes, brushing her hair, having imaginary conversations with her and would take her everywhere. (Yes, she used to sit with me on the dining table, even though mom would tell me not to do that everyday; and I would make her eat the bite first before I ate it myself. Go ahead, you can snigger) Soon after, I got my second Barbie who I called Nancy. After coming back from school, I would spend my entire day playing with them. A couple of years down the line; I had 6-7 Barbie dolls (their names were Caroline, Shania, Harriet, Vicky and their puppy who I called Michu) their car, a hoard of dresses and countless accessories (and they had their own house, with a bed, a lamp, an bookshelf, chairs and all the works)

I never got around to buying a Ken and so I would have to team up with my bro to play because, come on, they needed to have male friends! So my Barbies would have to do with either a masked scary-looking, red and blue guy who had a big black spider scrawled across his chest; a semi-nude heroic warrior with crazy yellow hair who could not survive a second without his shield; a half turtle-half man freak who lived in the gutters; or a superhero with two pointy things on his head and who would only come out at night to save mankind.
But actually, it turned out to be a lot of fun. I would get really serious about the characters, their roles, the plot and the settings. My bro would make a face at the idea of his super awesome Batman (who was not even half as tall as my Barbie) being Nancy’s boyfriend. “Why can’t he be her brother or cousin or something?”, he would say. But I would always make him propose to her and make them kiss (while making kissing noises) and would make him save her from gundas at night.

I used to make proper arrangements for the sets, stitch appropriate dresses for the Barbies according to the stories and prepare proper dialogues. This one time, we had a water park scene and I had actually used my bro’s Hot Wheels yellow tracks and my mom’s china to make the water slides! There used to be twists and turns and kidnappings and accidents and murders and love triangles and love and tears and what not! Those toys have had a blast with me! And now they’re just lying in boxes. With their ever-smiling faces and their long shiny hair.

As I grew up, I realized that it was an artificial and a make-believe world I had created for myself. You don’t grow up to look like your favorite Barbie doll. You get pimples and your skin doesn’t glow and your nose is big and your teeth aren’t straight and you don’t have flat abs and your hair isn’t silky shiny. Also, I developed an aversion for the colour Pink. It's just so... pink! It turned out, that I started to become more like a tomboy as I grew up (and thank God for that!) I don't wear high-heels or pretty butterfly clips or make-up or go "aww my koochee poochee poo" at every baby I see. On the contrary, I may have turned out to be rather clumsy and unsophisticated. I drop things in the most disgraceful way possible, I fall and stumble while walking, my mom tells me I don't know how to dress up and act like a girl, I laugh like baboons and sometimes I'm just a loud, crazy chimpanzee who has lost it's nuts and bolts. 

But I was just thinking, maybe I’ve always been like that since I was a kid; lived in fantasy. Ergo I’m still like that somewhere. A dreamer. I love fantasizing. I love to imagine. I love to envision a world where there is love and peace and happiness in abundance. And if something happens to disrupt that image, BAM goes my little heart. 
I used to write elaborate, endless stories about my Barbies where they would travel everywhere and anywhere and have the time of their lives and suddenly there would be an accident, or a wedding, or they would set off to solve a murder mystery! (they were basically inspired by Nancy Drew and Mallory Towers) but in the end of the story, everything would be okay and everyone would be happy! I still have them and I read them sometimes because it makes me smile to see my childish cursive writing and it makes me realize how much of free time I used to have. (And how stupid my stories sound now) My sister and my grandfather used to read them regularly and correct all the grammatical errors (I never used to make spelling mistakes) My sis actually used to ask me to write because she would want to know what would happen next! True story! And I still love her for that! That actually gave me the motivation to write. I remember when I was twelve, I had written a 'novel' and had full plans of getting it published. Kheekhee. 

Back then, after a hard day’s work of playing and thinking and dialogue-delivery, I would feel so satisfied, so happy and so... important. Like I’d achieved something. How easy it was then to feel like that. Painting a birthday card for mom, cautiously colouring a picture in a colouring book, successfully making a paper flower, reading an entire Enid Blyton series, winning a round of Business King.. all these were achievements. Little moments of triumph. All those were things I wanted to do and I did and felt a sense of pride. And how often do I feel like that now?

We usually don’t get time to do the things we love or we don’t love the things we do. Even if we have free time, we squander it all online or just wasting it away. True, we have other bigger, more urgent things to worry about, but surely we can make some effort to be those free-spirited, carefree kids we used to be! I wanna get out! I wanna be impulsive! Time is slipping away and soon I'll get so busy I won't even get time to write blog posts! Maybe it’s time I figure out what it is that would make me feel joyful again. Take time out and just DO it! Shed my sluggishness for once and actually do something to feel like that again!

Draw. Sketch. Paint. Write. Dance. Be creative. Be crazy. Something. Anything! And most importantly, let my imagination sooooooaar!

P.S. Just for your information (and for fun) Barbie's full name is Barbra Millicent Roberts!

P.P.S. Just for fun, a kiddie picture of my brother and me! :)


  1. hey really really entertaining post ... "chalo bob bob khelte hain" ... LOL ... i remember all of ur games ... i was witness to them :)
    Those days were so much fun and yes u r absolutely right in saying that feeling satisfied, having achieved something, important, happy ... was so easy ... we create complications on our own in our heads and then sit and cry over them ... so what do we do about it ... try to have as much FUNNNN as we can and leave the worries, tensions behind but, focus in life is also necessary ... i hope u understand y i am making this statement :p

  2. "Bob bob"! Sheesh. Yes, not only were you a witness, when I was littler YOU used to spin the stories and make them talk and I would just admire you :P

    And, erm, yes, I shall focus :P

  3. I loved it astha!
    it was like reading about my childhood(except for the writing a novel part, hehe)
    and guess what, recently i went to mc donalds and they had a barbie with every happy meal. and i specially got a happy meal for myself so that i could get that barbie. and i couldn't stop obsessing over it for the next one hour. And yes, i'm 20. :D

  4. Thank you Abhilasha! They seriously gave Barbies with Happy meals? Damn, you should've told me! :P


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