Kiyaa, India’s answer to Barbie

Hima Sailaja with a range of Indian version of dolls she created, in Vijayawada. —Photo: Ch.Vijaya Bhaskar  

The idea first came to her mind over a decade ago when she was returning home to Hyderabad from Boston. “In the transit at Dubai airport, a ‘Barbie dress-up’ contest was on. I participated in it and even as I draped the doll in western outfits, it set me thinking of a desi avatar of the iconic doll,” says Hima Sailaja, a native of Vijayawada settled in Hyderabad now.

To translate her ideas into reality, she created Kiyaa, India’s answer to Barbie. “In Sanskrit, Kiyaa means cooing of the bird. “We allow our little girls to fantasise about western lifestyle. But when they grow up, we want them to have Indian values and lead a desi lifestyle. This is possible only if we teach them to admire Indian beauty and lifestyle when they are young. A doll plays an effective role in a girl’s life. Little girls play and talk to their dolls for endless hours,” she says.

She points to the fact that many smaller nations have created their own authentic dolls. “In Saudi, they have introduced ‘Fulla’ sporting a hijab, a veil that denotes their religious belief system. Koreans have ‘Pullip’ and Iranians dote on ‘Sara’. Why should India, which has a rich culture of its own, rely on Barbie?” she says.

“Kiyaa is India’s answer to Barbie,” she emphasises pointing to the dozens of dazzling dolls draped in different Indian style of clothing.

After completing schooling from Amali English Medium High School in city, Ms. Sailaja went to Krishnaveni Women’s Polytechnic College and later shifted to Mumbai to pursue engineering. She came back to Hyderabad and opened a boutique at Srinagar Colony after trying her hand at different jobs.

She has the basic structure of dolls imported from China and drapes them in myriad Indian styles like a sari, a chaniya-choli or a Punjabi suit. “This doll is specially made for Sankranti,” she brings forth a glittering half sari-clad doll adorned with a traditional set of jewellery.

‘Kiyaa’ is up for sale on online websites like Snapdeal, Amazon and Redlily. For more details, log on towww.kiyaa.inor FB

A doll plays an effective role in a girl’s life. Little girls play and talk to their dolls for endless hours

Hima Sailaja

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Printable version | Nov 22, 2020 1:16:12 AM |

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