India has a glorious tradition of toys. The tradition of toys started from Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro which have thrown up a magnificent profusion of clay toys of considerable ingenuity, animals with moveable heads, monkeys that slide around a stick and the most skilful toy carts. Toys are torches, which guide children into adult life, for it is through them that they are imitated into the inner mysteries, traditions and faiths of the world they are to enter.
My tryst with traditional toys began in my childhood when I used to spend my summer vacations with my Grandparents in Andhra Pradesh. Each visit included an essential visit to Lepakshi Emporium in the city which meant buying a new traditional toy to show off to friends back in Delhi; the toys which were so popular with other children and common in the show-cases of living rooms of relatives and friends in Andhra Pradesh.
Kondapalli, Nirmal and Etikoppaka toys are the most significant wooden toys made in Andhra Pradesh. I decided to study and document Kondapalli toys which are traditional wooden toys carved by artisans. This project gave me not only an opportunity to revisit memories of toys but also to answer questions that I never tried to answer before.