Life can be a fairytale!!!

Plabita Barua

“Mirror mirror on the wall… what’s the silliest of them all?” Yeah you heard that right! Now before you question my sanity let me remind you all that this dialogue was etched in our minds right from the time we fell in love with one of our favorite bedtime stories ‘Snow White’ as kids. Snow white out of the blue?? Good question.
The other day as I was browsing books in the city library, my eyes fell on a beautiful princess on the cover page of a book ‘Our Favorite Fairytales.’ In an overdose of nostalgia, I picked up the book and my mind raced some years back to my childhood. My childhood belonged to that generation when we had no easy access to the internet, mobile phones or video games but revolved around our dearest treasures, which for me were fairy tale collections, Barbie dolls and cute pink hairclips. Days, when we had plenty of time to pass many lazy moments under the blue skies, where lying on the green grass we could smile at the beautiful dreams passing by along with the white clouds. Recalling my childhood some of the fondest memories were games posing as prince and princesses, defeating the demons and living a happy and luxurious life. Silly though it may seem, these fantasies were bliss at that time to the little innocent minds.
But as I turned the pages of the book, my mind went through a radical change of perception. The world of fairy tales which fascinated me as a kid suddenly seemed so silly and absurd…. a world that transports our mind from reality to unexplored realms. Because growing up can be harsh and reality is much more tough than a fairytale. Attaining a few levels of maturity we suddenly realize that life is not really a fairy tale after all. Things never get fixed magically overnight and miracles almost never happen. But being fed so many beautiful stories our minds get used to happy endings and we feel cheated if things don’t go the right way.
Looking back, the once beguiling stories of the fairy tale world now seem so ridiculous and illogical. An all knowing talking mirror which was the root of all Snow Whites’ troubles; Red riding hood could not differentiate between the wolf and her grandmother (seriously????); a frog turned into a handsome prince when kissed by a princess; Sleeping Beauty came out of her coma by the prick of a needle; Rapunzel’s hair defied all biological calculations; Cinderella’s carriage turned into a pumpkin and Jacks beanstalk would put the best farmers to shame. And suddenly cats, dogs, trees, insects, doors and mirrors everything starts talking …and all it needed was just a silly mantra to turn you into an animal, plant or a river. I failed to understand how these stories where princesses were kidnapped or poisoned or tortured could actually be called “sweet”. (And why did these tales always needed a strong prince to save the damsel in distress,,, now that inclines towards a feminist issue… will debate about that later sometime!!). Growing up also made me realize that distinguishing between the good and the bad was not as easy as in fairytales as the good persons does not always come in shining armors and the wicked does not always wear a black cape and have a black mole.
And to think, once upon a time, I loved these! Disappointment painted large on my face and I was about to keep the book back when a small girl almost snatched it from my hand. With the selfless intention of saving this innocent from the silliness of fairytales, I asked her “You like fairy tales?” “Oh yes, Cinderella is my favorite” came her intense reply. “Why?” amusement reflected in my question. “Because there the wicked stepmother and sisters get punished and Cinderella gets the prince because she is the good girl” she answered happily. The child’s naiveness compelled me to ask my next question “What else do you like?” “I like Snow White.. seven dwarfs who don’t even know her help her because she was in real trouble.. so good na! And Rapunjel.. even being in a tower, she didn’t lose hope and was freed! Red Riding Hood’s wolf cannot keep his disguise for a long time and gets caught! After reading frog prince, I never call anyone ugly” she rattled on. My final question was “What do you learn from these tales?” “If you are good, good will happen to you and if you are bad, you will be punished”, she replied in the simplest of words. And probably bored of the interrogation, the little chatterbox ran away.
But her words left a smile on my lips. Engulfed by the complexities of life and trying to analyze everything, we miss the simple morals in simple tales. Yes, fairy tales are silly but they have the same morals that our epics Mahabharata and Ramayana preaches, same morals our constitution believes in… that good and truth wins, always. In our childhood, our minds are at our creative best. We are all dreamers. Fairytales instill simple morals in us in a way that captivates us. These highly optimistic tales give a child hope for a good life on the path of good. They don’t remember the monsters, giants or torture part. Their last thought is always the “happily ever after” part. We learn from these stories that “if you are good ultimately good will happen to you and if you are bad you will be punished”. Yes!! It is as simple as that and it is the truth of life irrespective of whether you are analyzing this fact with the mind of a child or a grown ups’. These tales clearly tell us that there is light at the end of every dark tunnel and ‘the happily ever after part’ gives us the hope to carry on undefeated through all distress.
Now for those who say that life is not a fairytale, here is a quote from G.K. Chesterta “fairy tales are more than true not because they tell us that dragons exist but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten”. Well life can be a fairytale if you choose to make it one hoping for a happy life by moving on the path of good!

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