No, I wasn’t put up for adoption by my biological parents, if that’s what you’re thinking, nor am I deprived of the basic attention that any normal teenager requires. In fact, this post covers my regret at having abandoned the most important things of my childhood. It’s not education – I’ve quite a few plans for it but abandonment isn’t one of them. That thought does cross my mind a lot given that some college dropout went on to change the face of the IT industry, but let’s forget it since there’s no way I am going to pursue IT. It’s my once-prized toys that are facing this ordeal.
My playtime, that wasn’t spent outdoors, would be used up playing with the numerous soft-toys and barbies that I owned. My first Barbie was dark-skinned and had brown hair, and she usually ended up playing the villain in most stories I concocted. I was partial towards those blondies which is not to say that mishaps didn’t happen to them. They were treated to occasional visits to the spa which was nothing more than an overnight dip in a bucketful of water. And I’d apparently beautify their faces by applying multiple layers of make-up(a permanent one) and have duly come to regret it. Over time their hair would grow uncombable and would then need to be cut off – something my father really enjoyed doing – or would be tied up into a very unbecoming ponytail. Some even lost a few limbs in the journey, but what’s life without a few hardships?
My soft-toys, especially the dolls suffered a similar fate. Some of them lost an eye or a nose, mostly because they were detachable. And some have even split open in places, revealing their cottony entrails.
My first stuffed doll was named Kumkum. I don’t know where we picked up that name from or who named it either. But I was pretty attached to her, or so it appears if you look at my photo album. I acquired my second doll a few years later and I turned my loyalties towards her, abandoning my once-beloved Kumkum. And by a puzzling coincidence, she too was named Kumkum.
A theory: Two people sharing a name are called name-fellows. Under the present circumstances (which includes a dire need for such a term to be coined), can’t we call the two dolls the name-foes or name-enemies of each other?
Anyway, I have come to reform my ways and give equal preference to both who now sit side by side with a story to tell. The newer Kumkum’s face has been painted and now wears an assortment of clothes from back when I was small. The older one hasn’t suffered any bodily harm except that her hair is falling off in clumps. It’s probably because of the neglect she once faced which might have led to depression.( I’m only assuming that depression causes hair loss; it could have happened because she wasn’t washed, but that isn’t a very interesting theory.) There also is a rabbit – a white bunny – among the survivors. He maintained a snow-white fleece for years because he would be deposited in the washing machine from time to time. But I don’t think he has been washed in five years nor do I have reason to believe that he’d like to be spinned underwater, let alone survive it.
So, why were they abandoned, you ask? It was because – and I hate to admit it – I grew up. Much to my annoyance, my mind and body have been growing over the years and there’s no chance of my becoming Peter Pan. I have dressed up my only unharmed Barbie and placed her beside my books, more out of a sense of duty towards her than any affection. I do love her but not as a child does; I am not very often drawn towards her, and the fun I had arranging her house for hours at end has disappeared, replaced by a sense of needlessness. I don’t even bother to look at the other dolls for days, and even when I do, I don’t take them out and admire them as I used to, don’t talk to them, don’t sew them clothes, don’t take pride in them anymore.
I shifted all my soft toys to the top of the cupboard because they used to produce a lot of dust. I can look at them everyday but they aren’t touched or cuddled with and are leading a purposeless life. I still feel for them, want to play with them (I am only a teenager: that is still allowed). But that feeling isn’t enough for me to put aside my books or my phone and devote time for them. Clearly, I have failed. They played a big role in my life, faced hardships for me, delivered me out of loneliness, and I haven’t returned an ounce of it. I abandoned them. They are alone, and I am no different, but we can’t be together any more. I know I sound like those overly dramatic, love-stricken, heart-broken teenagers( sorry friends but your relationships sometimes sound ridiculous) but this is how I feel.
I have been toying with the idea of giving them away. It’s most ironical given that I’d made a big fuss when my parents had given away my stuffed Santa without asking me. But that wasn’t my decision. They had violated my property rights, had illegally donated my personal item. But if I myself feel the need to pass on my toys, it will be a different thing. I won’t regret it or keep on pining for something which has been given away because I chose to part with it. It will be for the better if my toys are given away. But I haven’t found anyone deserving of my possessions; I keep on finding faults with all the kids, making a mental note of their flaws. I am still dubious about whether I should give them away. I haven’t even told my parents about it( Hi Mum!) because no sooner do they hear my part-decision, they’ll be eagerly looking for kids to get rid of my dusty toys for good.
But I have decide one thing for sure. Even if the receiver pulls out their arms, flings them about, drools over them in their sleep, I will know that my toys will be cared for. And caring doesn’t have to mean that they will be put in a showcase, seldom touched, but in first-class condition. Caring means that they too will have all the fun that I had because of them and that fun will last until they do.