We all know all the usual chatter about dolls . especially when it’s a barbie doll . Barbie dolls are right at this time being debated to giving unhealthy obsessions to girls which is a little true to some extent . So here is my Barbie story from times when people would not get offended easily .
So being a 90’s child when globalization did not touch our Indian roots Barbie doll was something only a rich kid could dream . Watching commercials on Cartoon Network which was not CN by then was like something I could only dream of owning .
So all the buzz started when a cousin of mine got a gift from Santa yes our chubby uncle from the North Pole got her a Barbie . Me and my brother we used to hang our socks religiously every Christmas and hope for Santa to show some consideration , and appreciate us for finishing vegetables on our plate . Somewhere we knew .That was the coolest thing I thought could happen to someone . We all knew that it was her father . It’s basic logic we were brown and Santa wold not come to India because it’s really hot here and moreover our parents are crude , they do not want us to dream about material things . My parents were really simple and no sugar coating . If we do not have something we do not have it there is no in between . I do not remember having all the toys I wanted but I had all that I needed . So we knew our brown uncle with a government job got our cousin a Barbie . She enjoyed a special status though in our league of cousins . So yes I loved it and my parents were totally clear about how I was obsessed with it . I had dolls but they were those huge and chunky dolls , the ones if you turned them horizontally would close up their eyes and open up when held vertically , quite an intelligent idea as it mimics laying down and closing their eyes . The weird part though was sometimes one eye would not respond to gravity and your doll looked one eyed , that is not the look of a doll you would put to bed but , a doll that would hide under your bed and make your nightmares come true . Another thing I was not happy about was the way the hair were weaved . It was just enough hair to tell it was a dolls head , like a thin layer in the forehead and at the base of the neck and a row at the center parting . I remember how they were placed in the display in neat ponytails so that you feel this doll has good hair . I could not braid those hairs efficiently enough to not make my doll look like she has bald patches , it was embarrassing. So I was happy with my dolls though , making neat jumpers for them , I would knit caps catering to the changing weather .
So one day I guess I was in second grade and my friend came to my house after school for a days stay . So we had the best time , and she was looking at my dolls maybe I had 3-4 of those dolls and I had cut one of my dolls hair , it was a bald doll that was the victim of my hairdressing ordeals . I was proud of her though , it was the guy doll , I would call it that because it made me accept him or her better . So we had a fun time .(this will all make sense later ) .
Sometime later it was that dreaded summer time when we had 9-10 hours of power cuts which were unannounced and sometimes if our transformer blew up it would be days . We still have power cuts on Mondays but now we have backup power so it’s good . One such day my dad comes home with this cardboard box a rectangular one . Me and my dad we had our own guessing same , my dad would come at night with a small package and tell me to guess what it is , it was the best thing of my day sometimes I would get treats or other little things which would make my heart melt . So my dad is standing with that rectangular box and asking me to guess what it is , guess what I say “It’s a Barbie doll” . Well “drum rolls” it was not , it was a box of candles . It’s funny how my dad pranked me but when I think of my answer I get a lump in my throat . Maybe it made him feel guilty about not being able to get that one Doll for me . Remembering how my dad would come home at night all tired and we would run towards him and all his tiredness vanished . That answer did not acknowledge all things he would get for us , all the times we never said we needed something and we would get it . Till today we know our places and know what to ask for and get it there is no in between . They gave a lot of time to us , which my cousins and friends never had the privilege to . My dad as usual would not loose his game , and will never stop his practical jokes .
I had grown up enough in a little time to realize it was not something I needed . It was a plastic doll after all my 8 year old mind knew that . When ever I had to go a friends birthday party me and my dad would go pick up a Barbie , because my dad wanted me to fit in so that I am not looked down upon my well to do friends . He would always ensure that I took something respectable , I was happy about it but a little jealous too , but I never nagged my parents about it . It was good times , I got to attend the parties and see what all money can get , back at home I would wait for my father to thank him for letting me go , he never replied to it but asked me to go to sleep so that I get up on time the other day .
A few years later I was in 5th grade and went to my friends house the same friend who came to my house in 2nd grade . This girl was my best friend and she had the coolest barbies I had ever seen . She had a teacher Barbie which came with a small green board to write upon and little chalks and a small duster which was so cool it still is though . She had around 6-8 dolls but my other friend had more than that so I was not intrigued , but whatever dolls she had were the coolest I remember the other one was an American one with blond hair and brunette highlights and the braids looked so beautiful on this one . Then I saw something which made me question her , She had the same guy doll like I had , she cut the hair off of one of her Barbie’s . I asked her and she said when I saw your doll I came back home and did the same with my doll .She had honored her doll to a proper masculine status with shirt and pajama’s . I was so offended at how could someone have the nerve to bring a scissor around their Barbie , that doll is a Ferrari and you decide to scratch it and create art on it , that doll is already a masterpiece no scissor has the privilege to touch those blond hair . I remember going home with a sad face and telling my mom what sin my best friend of years had done , and she laughed and told me ” at least you started the trend” and then I broke out laughing .