A coworker sent me a link to this toy (thanks, Abi!) and I can’t resist posting it, if only because I wonder how much of “us” Mattel got right and wrong. From Barbie Collector (where it’s cheaper, if you’re about to make some little girl or boy really happy by buying it for them):
The most important and magical festival celebrated in India is Diwali. Homes are decorated with marigolds and mango leaves, thousands of oil diyas or lamps are lit as auspicious symbols of good luck, and everyone enjoys sweets to the sound of firecrackers and revelers.
DiwaliÂ™ BarbieÂ® doll wears a traditional teal sari with golden detailing, a lovely pink shawl wrap, and exotic-style jewelry. The final detail is a bindi on the foreheadÂ—a jewel or a mark worn by Hindu women.
Mango leaves? Really? Since I’m a 2nd Gen (and a Syriani Christiani) penne I’m not going to claim that I know much about either that or the festival of lights, but I do have an opinion on Barbie’s ethnic dress. I don’t think that is a “traditional sari“. Perhaps it’s half-of-one? Honestly, I think it’s more of a lehnga, since I’ve never worn a duppata with my very traditional (can it get more old skool than kanjeevaram?) outfits.
I was curious about the “exotic” jewelry so I started fruitlessly looking up words after AIMing an equally clueless friend who insisted that the chain and pendant which decorates Barbie’s hair is called a “tikka“. I associate this word with murgh, but whatevs. After reading an entry in Stephen Colbert’s favorite online resource, I was concomitantly disagreeing with her and picturing 55 word nanofiction written by Jai. Here’s what was so evocative:
* When Rajput men married, they are said to have cut their thumb on their sword and applied a tikka of their own blood to their brides. This custom evoked the Rajput values of courage and indifference to pain.
* Several Bollywood movies have used the “tikka of blood” theme, notably Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak and Gadar.
I had seen neither of those films but now, after disambiguating the tikka, I have a mild urge to do so. This takes my “avesham”-level to zero, since before researching this post, my desire to see some Bolly was in the red. Already lost in Wikipedia, I surfed back to “sari“, where I skipped downwards until I tripped over this:
In Pakistan, the wearing of saris has almost completely been replaced by the Salwar kameez for everyday wear. According to many observers, the sari has lost favour in Pakistan since it is seen as being associated with India. However, the sari is often worn by the elderly, and to formal events.
I knew that Salwars are more popular in Pakistan, but I didn’t connect wearing saris in that country with…the elderly. As for being “associated with India”, two of my Pakistani friends used to bluntly admit that they often associated saris with Hinduism. I smell conflation, but I’ve lit some agarbatti, so I’m sure that odor will be replaced, shortly.
I remember when I posted about Neela getting married on E.R.; we had the most fascinating discussion about who gets married in what, after some of you found it odd that she wore white. It’s hard to believe that Barbie of all things might be the catalyst for it, but I can’t wait to hear what you have to say about saris, jewelry and…um…mango leaves.