Thank you, Dolly

Avanee with Dolly; Me with Dolly

About 25 years ago, Dada (my maternal grandfather) brought me this beautiful doll from one of his trips abroad. I was smitten the moment I saw her–she was pink skinned, wore that lovely blue and white ensemble, and had the prettiest eyes. In a phase of absolute uncreativity, I named her Dolly; never to change it.

For many, many years after that, Dolly was my best friend. When a kid in class told me I couldn’t possibly get selected for the annual day dance because I was ugly, I told her; not my mum. When Amma told me I couldn’t get a cross-eye-creating fringe (or any other haircut), I went and cut Dolly’s hair. I dressed her up when I was invited to a playmate’s house because I knew I was invited only by virtue of being the girl with the best doll. (This playmate’s father managed a cold storage/factory, and we would often get to see peas being shelled, blanched, and frozen–an activity I always looked forward to. While the friend carried my doll around for the employees to marvel at.) But then, you couldn’t blame them. I mean, look at her! Even my great grandmother was impressed–when she came to stay with us one holiday, she knitted her a pretty red and yellow sweater with a hat to match. Dolly made you fall in love with her. And she always understood. When I felt low, I would slide under my bed with her and just be. Somehow, her soft tummy made for the perfect pillow for a sad kid’s head to rest on.

Yesterday, Amma pulled her out from the deep recesses of her loft, and handed her to a bemused Avanee. Dolly is now yellowed with age, her plastic skin refusing to clean up. Her hair is knotted beyond repair, and the soft tummy that I once found comfort in is now giving way. She looks scary; but frankly, she looks tired to me. I was sure Avanee wouldn’t take to her. She had a doll back home that she wasn’t particularly obsessed with, why would she want this scary looking thing? But when she reached out and held her, I was almost jealous. Since that moment, she has not left Dolly’s side–for meals, for naps, for playtime–Dolly’s always with her. Avanee pats her to sleep the way I once did, and feeds her mock treats. She has long conversations in a language none of us understand, and sings her songs.

Just about an hour ago, however, Dolly did me a big favor. SheΒ  put Avanee to sleep. I have been having trouble weaning, and Avanee has been having trouble going to sleep with anyone else but me. Today, the three of sat on the swing–Avanee, Dolly, and I–and in minutes, Avanee had rested her head on Dolly’s lap and was off to dreamland. After months and months of incessant crying and milk-demanding at bedtime, this was a blessing.

Looks like I still need Dolly. Avanee may have found a new doll; but today, I have found my best buddy.

Comments (11)

  1. Anonymous December 9, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Oh Saee! You brought tears to my eyes and reminded me of my own doll who was my best buddy years back. The picture of you with your doll is so adorable!!! and Avanee is a copy of yours. πŸ™‚ What a beautiful post…you brought back so many happy memories!

    – Priti

  2. Sayantani December 9, 2011 at 11:17 am

    this post reminded me of the book I just finished, 'keep the change' where the story is told by the letters that a girl writes to a friend. at the end its revealed that she writes to a doll that someone brought her from abroad.
    sharing secrets with our fav. toys is a very common thing but very few gets to see the same thing being shared with their daughters.
    love the clicks. is that you in the second click or your niece?

  3. Saee Koranne-Khandekar December 9, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Thanks, everyone!
    @Sayantani: I'd love to read that book! And yes, that's me in the second picture.

  4. SJ December 9, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Aww that is so sweet! Ilove reading posts like these. Avanee is already dozing off in the 1st pic poor thing.
    Girl what are you complaining about my son sleeps between me and J and won't go to bed without me near him! Weaning meaning breastmilk? I can remember that incessant crying from month 4all the way upto month 11 ugh.

  5. sliceofmylyfe December 9, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    This is such a moving post. No words..

  6. Anjali December 9, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Loved both the pic. Your nieces look just like you, I remember you had shared their pics is the past. Nice post too.

  7. anishathefoodie December 10, 2011 at 5:44 am

    That was just beautiful and moving. I have tears in my eyes. I had a doll too her name was Seema unfortunately Seema never survived the growing years of my sister. Missing my pretty Seema after so many years now.

  8. Nags December 11, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Sayantani, I wish you hadn't revealed the end of that book πŸ™ I have it now and was going to read it soon.

    Anyway, about the post, it was very nostalgic for me too πŸ™‚ My Dolly is called Masoom (because of that word printed on the back of one of her ankles, don't know why).

  9. Swati Reddy February 5, 2012 at 5:13 am

    i don't know what to say — should I say anything — not much — just that reading it was so overwhelming and Saee this is beautful — all of us need someone like this in our lives — you had your Dolly — I could always run to Baba — not anymore — but his memories are always there to guide me through!

  10. Kulsum September 26, 2013 at 9:48 am

    what a wonderful write up. reminds me of few things of my husbands that now are with my daughter πŸ™‚ unfortunately, my family isn’t a hoarder and won’t keep things for so long. xo

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