Dasara dolls come alive across city

Dr K Padmapriya (below) has been collecting dolls for 11 years.

Doll displays are getting bigger and better, even if the tradition has died out in some homes in Bengaluru. Avid doll collectors return with their grand displays year after year. They tell Metrolife how they think of new themes and plan their bombe habba.

Annual storytelling

You should escape technology and connect with culture at Veena Ravindranath’s house this Dasara. For more than two decades, her family has thrown open its doors to guests who marvel at their collection of nearly 7,000 unique modern and traditional dolls. Thousands of people come from as far as Mysuru and Chennai to see their collection and hear their stories each year.

Veena says it is important for people to know about the tradition, culture, and heritage behind each of the dolls on display. “The dolls bring families together, which is the main thing. They can be away from their gadgets enjoy these instead of watching movies or being on social media,” she says. Veena started collecting dolls 20 years ago. When she realised people were bored with her small collection in the initial years, she began adding to it. It became a family passion, she says. Her husband has grown to love collecting dolls and her adult daughter has been narrating doll stories since she was just three. The family now boasts a collection of modern and traditional dolls from all over India. “Wherever we go we are always looking for dolls,” she says.

The Ravindranath family’s doll display is open to the public every day until October 20 at 8 Kalappa Block, Gandhi Bazaar, Basavanagudi.

 

‘Being Human’

Meera Venkatesan, a resident of Koramangala, has chosen an unusual theme this year: ‘Avatar-Being Human’. The display is about the avatars of different Gods.

Avatars in our mythology, reasons Meera, tell stories of the times when Gods took human form. “They went through the pains and pleasures of being human. They got an opportunity to experience the entirety of the life that we humans go through,”says Meera. Her display this year introduces you to avatars of Vishnu, Shiva, Lakshmi, Bhudevi, Parvathy, Ganesha, and Subramanya. She also tells stories from across Asia, Africa, America, and Europe- showcasing the key human qualities. “The dolls are displayed for nine days and we get to exchange these stories with the many guests who visit us. We listen to their stories too,” says Meera. Her interest in dolls doubled after she became a storyteller. “I love how the dolls come alive, right in front of our eyes,”she signs off.Both her daughters are gifted artists and pitch in for the annual display.

Location -110, 4th A cross, 10th main, Koramangala, 4th block.

 

Passion for teaching and story-telling

No two Dasara doll displays are ever the same for one avid Bangalore collector. At Dr K Padmapriya’s house, the clay dolls change each year. Her passion comes from wanting to share her love of stories with her friends and family visiting her during the Dasara festivities. Every doll tells a story of culture and tradition, but if it doesn’t, she makes sure to make her own story for the dolls.

“I’m a voracious reader and I read a lot of myths and stories and I really wanted to tell people about these ideas,” Padmapriya says. “It is important to continue this custom and impart knowledge to people.” Padmapriya began collecting clay dolls 11 years ago after being gifted some sets by her mother-in-law. She plans her displays a year in advance. “As soon as the festival is over I start working for next year.” She has spent years scouring for new and unique pieces on her travels around Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to add to her collection of about 1,000 dolls. “Wherever I see dolls I can’t resist buying them,” she says. Her favourites include goddesses Lakshmi, Durga, and Saraswati that she found in Kanchipuram. “Their faces have been made so well. That’s what really interests me,” she says. About 70 of Padmapriya’s friends and relatives pay her a visit during Dasara.

Location -  No 244/5, 2nd Main, 3rd Cross, SVCK School Complex, Thyagarajnagar.

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Dasara dolls come alive across city

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