The birth of Barbie and after | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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The birth of Barbie and after

chandigarh Updated: Sep 11, 2012 10:40 IST
Pallavi Singh

"The first Barbie doll appeared in 1959. It was made by Ruth and Elliot Handler, co-founders of Mattel, and they named the doll after their daughter, Barbara. The doll was dressed in a black and white swimsuit, with sun glasses, high heels and gold hoop earrings. In the first year, a total of 351,000 Barbies were sold at $3 each. The doll went on to become one of the best-selling toys of all times."

I came across this piece in "The World of facts" and a rush of nostalgia took over me. Staring at the accompanying picture of scores of dolls with their perfectly translucent skins and itsy-bitsy clothes brought back my childhood when possessing a single doll involved intricate planning (on my behalf) and budgetary permutations on behalf of my parents.

An impending birthday, fevered vows to study harder and countless errands later, I was the proud owner of the iconic doll.

Then followed hot, dusty days, closeted in a cool garden corner, where I would gasp in sheer delight at the perfectly formed plastic stilettos, rakish hat and the impossibly tiny handbag of my darling doll. She went with me the grocer, the dentist, the bookstore and eventually under the green counterpane of my boarding school bed. How I loved my doll! She was my confidante, my companion and my pet. I never desired another!

Imagine my surprise when my little niece today casually points out to half a dozen Barbies in her possession and an armoire of tiny designer dresses and accessories to boot. But it is not the Barbies she dolls up every afternoon, but herself!

I see her preen, pout and prance in front of the mirror, prattling to herself, wearing an assortment of bangles, hairclips and makeup, and the Barbies consigned to a forlorn corner, all forgotten.