when you start getting old. You want to attend dance parties-you
know the ones where your limb movements are not in sync with
the music, you want to dress up more than you usually do, you
want to hang around with a younger crowd, you want to go on
a trek, or build sand castles, or read Eric Segal all over again,
worse still, start making loud claims before your teenage son
that you know more about Britney Spears’ private life than he
does. Mine is an even more peculiar retrogressive wishful desire.
I want to play with a doll-house.
As a child,
I was hardly the doll playing type. I was not the car dashing,
basket-ball playing type either. Actually, I was not the playing
type at all. My biggest nightmares used to be the games classes;
but I loved my PE classes and yoga lessons, and the aerobic
teacher and so on. I was, what you may call, a classic example
of a good girl. But I had an enviable collection of dolls. Real
fancy ones. Ones that sang lullabys and petted their infants
in arms, ones with nimble body parts that waved, nodded, squatted,
stretched, ones that danced, ones that crawled, ones that came
with changeable wigs, or ones that came with bidets, and the
likes (there were no Barbies yet in my home town; infact I hadn't
even heard of them then). But, as I said, I didn't play with
them much. My memory fails me here, but all I can remember of
those dolls is being neatly arranged in my <>almirah<>,
and me talking to them every time I opened my cupboard for clothes.
A big proper
doll-house I never had. I had a small blue two-storeyed wooden
one with doors on hinges and a green driveway and small green
bushes around it, big enough for a Thumblina to fit in, but
not large enough for my dolls. Then again, it had no rooms demarcated
inside, and no attic (mine was a <>desi<> one built
like the houses you and I are used to in the Subcontinent, so
no attic), and no chimney, and it didn't look like any of the
doll-houses in my story books. Mine looked like Lily aunty's
house next door, only, hers were a shade darker and more horrendous
than the blue on my toy. Once a pen friend from Brussels sent
me her photograph with her doll-house. I ran high temperature
for the next three days. After which I never played with mine.
week, I felt a strange stirring when on a recent round to a
toyshop with my little one, I came across a doll-house. It was
perfect. With louvered windows, see through doors, separate
rooms, tiny furniture (even a glamorous wash basin), it was
irresistible. I just had to pick it up without much ado. But
of course, I couldn't have done it, could I? It felt rather
juvenile even thinking about that. But nothing stopped me from
buying it for my child, so there was always that pretext. I
asked my little one, going ballistic as he was at the sight
of all the vehicles with wings and doors and seat and seats
with drivers and bonnets and wipers and wheels and sirens, pointing
out the doll house to him.
at this beautiful house here”. He looked at it with keen eyes.
Looked like he was about to start throwing a tantrum for it
to be bought.
I see a dwarf car in there…there, do you see?”, he said excitedly.
I bent (now
I know why all toys are placed at our knee level) and squinted
to see what he was pointing at. “Oh no darling, that's not a
car. It's a small blue sofa, only looks like a car. Do you like
a firm disinterested reply.
I thought I'd heard it wrong, so I pressed again. The reply
this time was an even more determined no. Could this be true?
Which sane child would say no to a toy, any toy, especially
to this marvel of a doll's house? I spent the next few minutes
trying to convince him that there were several fun things he
could do with it; things like slide a car down the roof and
see it crash below, or he could make a tunnel through the width
of the house and pass his cars through it, or he could park
his cars outside and go in to sleep and bathe and eat and what
off the roof myself”, he suggested.
“No, no, I don't think you could do that. This house will break”
“Okay, I want to buy it and break it.”
“I'm afraid son you can't do that, but you can play with it,
and switch off the lights before you go to bed”.
“No, I don't want it. I want that blue police car.”
I gave up. I could see that this persuasion was not going anywhere.
But then, I gave it another shot. A different approach this
“Santa may give you a doll's house this time, you never know”,
I said a few days ago when we sat up decorating our little tree.
“Oh no, he'll give me a white police car, a doctor set, and
a big car with big wheels and a steering wheel. I will drive
it on the road”.
“Still, he just may get you a doll-house too, who knows. Won't
that be fun? Where will you keep it?”
“I will not keep it. I will give it back to Santa”. I gave up,
once and for all this time. But it broke my heart. Oh, I wanted
to have it so much in my house. I wished to arrange the furniture,
and place the tiny figurines in the rooms, and peep inside the
house, I wanted to…PLAY with it. So much.
son was away at school yesterday, I finally went and bought
it. I cleared a small space for it in my bedroom, gift wrapped
it neatly, and gave it to the much-amused Hubby. “Please put
it away, and please ask Santa to leave it behind for me on Christmas
too old to receive gifts from Father Christmas, are you?