Out of bounds


When we were kids, there were certain things and areas in our home that were out of bounds to us – our Dad’s bookshelf, his stationery cupboard and his files; our mom’s wardrobe and steel almirah, and our aunt’s knitting basket!

My Dad could sense if his files and papers had moved even an inch, and I don’t need to even talk about my mom’s antennae.

On rare occasions, we were given the privilege of peeking into my mom’s wardrobe or seeing my dad’s important papers and stationery.

These treats usually happened on long weekends or holidays, when my Dad would decide to clean his cupboard, or when my mom decided to clean hers.

We were allowed to watch and help as long as we were careful and didn’t behave irresponsibly.

We could barely contain our excitement, when we saw the creamy white paper or pens and lovely paper clips that our father had. My hands wanted to possess one of those notepads – to write (not sure what??).

If our Dad was happy with us, we would usually get something from his treasure trove. He would sometimes read out quotations from his notebook, or show us pencil sketches from his college days.

The things we collected thus were so precious, if only because our father had kept them so beautifully. We felt honoured to receive an old notepad or empty diary or a fountain pen.

When our mom opened her almirah, we would gaze in wonder at her beautiful silk sarees, neatly hanging in a line. There was the beautiful fragrance of sandalwood that gushed out of the wardrobe from the fragrance pouches she used.

Image courtesy – Dreamstime.com

Shiny sarees, the occasional sequinned saree, ornate jewelry boxes – we got glimpses of these as mom took out stuff, cleaned her cupboards and put them back in.

There was also a small, square, metal piggy bank that our mom had. It had the picture of a happy family on one side, and for the longest time I thought that it was ‘our family picture’. The piggy bank had a complicated locking mechanism, and we watched our mom pick out the key from a bunch of other important-looking keys to unlock the piggy bank.

When the cleaning was done, we usually went back to play or to study; knowing that those areas were out of bounds to us again….till the next time.

My Doll Display – Part 4


Today’s featured dolls are from The Masai Maara Tribe in Kenya, Africa, from our trip there.

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We visited the Masai Village on our trip to Kenya, a couple of years back.  These dolls are from there.

We spent a fascinating afternoon learning about the Masai Tribe, that has lived in Africa for centuries.  Their culture runs wide and deep, and is steeped in a lot of beliefs.

The Masai live in settlements called ‘Manyatas’ or villages.  The village is surrounded by a bramble bush and stick fence to protect the tribe from wild animals.

The Masai men performed a welcome dance for us and crowned each of us in turns, with a top-hat made of lion skin.

The Masai have stopped hunting wild animals, as hunting is banned in Kenya.  However, they do kill the odd wild animal, if their cattle or tribesmen are threatened.

The Masai guide ‘Philip’ wore a chain that had a lion tooth pendant.  He claimed to have killed a lion; the pendant was a souvenier.

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The guide spoke good English, the result of a drive by the government to make education mandatory.

The Masai are mainly cowherds, and each village has sheep, goats and cows.  The village we visited had 67 tribe members and over 300 cattle.  The central village enclosure is where the cattle stay at night. The place is filled with cattle manure, used extensively by the Masai.

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Men mainly graze cattle, build fences and protect the village, while women fetch water, cook food, build and repair the house, care for the children, and make jewelry.

Polygamy is an accepted practice, with a man having about 6 wives.  The man pays a dowry to win his woman – 10 cows per woman.

The main diet of the Masai include milk, blood and meat.  Their main tools are the sword, the spear and poisoned arrows.

The Masai houses we visited were made up of tree branches and cow dung.  The houses are tiny and have areas earmarked for various activities.
The houses have a small opening to sky to let light in. At night, they use a kerosene bottle lamp.

The Masai make fire using the branches of the olive and acacia trees. It was amazing to watch.

After this, we were taken to the village handicraft exhibition, where we bought these dolls and some lovely bracelets and chains.

A piece of another culture added to my Golu through these dolls. So many memories here!

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