Lifelong fascination with dolls

Come Dasara, Padmini heads for Chennai’s hub with her colourful collection

Dasara is a few days away and the mood has set in. ‘Kolu’ — the display of dolls — is the highlight of this festival dedicated to Devi and Mylapore is a famous hub to source icons. Sellers from all over Tamil Nadu and beyond converge here attracting buyers with their freshly painted wares. Most of them are regulars, like Padmini.

“My parents initiated me into this world of dolls. ‘Come what may, don’t give it up,’ my father said. So I’ve been coming back here, again and again,” says Padmini, who has spread her array of dolls and awaits new arrivals as the festival approaches. She has been doing this for 40 years. The family lived in Nungambakkam and she helped her parents in those days. After marriage she moved to Oorapakkam and is assisted by her brother and son.

Padmini has a wide range — from compact Ganesa to huge Srinivasa-Padmavati and Puri Jagannath. The price too ranges from hundreds to thousands. As passers-by enquire and move on, Padmini smiles. “It’s too early. They’ll take a look at all the shops and come back,” she remarks. The price of course is negotiable.
She has been selling dolls for four decades. Has the scene changed? “Everything is expensive these days and transportation is a huge cost factor. We get the dolls from several places in the State and the money we spend on shipping has shot up manifold,” she explains.....Read more
Source web page: The Hindu

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