It's all about tradition

Last Updated 17 October 2012, 12:32 IST

Every community starts off Dasara in a unique fashion. In the South, the festival begins with the arrangement of dolls.

Popularly known as Bombe Habba, Bombe Koorisudu or Bommala Kolu, the arrangement plays a huge part in the festive spirit.

Passed on from generation to generation, this custom is accompanied by pujas,
storytelling sessions and of course, food. But the highlight still remains the display of dolls, which are made from clay, wood and even plaster of paris.

For most, the collection starts off only when the dolls are handed over by the elders of the family. “The first pair of dolls are received on one’s wedding day from one’s mother or mother-in-law. From then on, it is up to each woman to start her own collection,” says Anusuya, a homemaker.  It’s all about bringing in the stories of the past — both mythological as well as historical ones.

Stores in many traditional areas of the City still sell dolls during this season too.
   There is one such store in Malleswaram, called ‘Chitty Babu’s Doll Store’, which has been selling dolls from across the country for nearly 60 years. Chitty Babu says the store was started by his grandfather. “He used to make the dolls himself and took pleasure in making them,” he adds.   

Many even choose a theme to bring in their own creativity to the collection. Mythily Ramesh, a professional, has been continuing this tradition for nearly ten years now.
Despite being a working mother, she takes time out, thinks of a theme and arranges her dolls for the entire nine days of the festival.

“I have always had the interest and passion for arranging dolls and even make elaborate rangolis. I see this tradition slowly disappearing but I want to keep it alive for as long as I can,” she says.

She adds that many of her colleagues see a different side to her when they come home during the festival.

 “Every year, I call my colleagues so that they too can share this festival with me. And they get very surprised to see this creative side to me,” she says. It’s not only households — even malls and stores in the City are joining in the celebrations. RmKV Silks, a sari store, is displaying an 11-step doll arrangement in a City mall.

Srinivasan, the marketing manager of the store, says, “The festival is all about keeping our culture alive through the traditional stories. It’s sad that many youngsters aren’t even aware of these. So, we want to do our bit in keeping this tradition alive.”

(Published 17 October 2012, 12:32 IST)

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