Friday, September 4, 2015

The Modern fairy tale

Since time immemorial fairy tales have always invoked a great sense of wonder and marvel. The magic of Cinderella’s shoes, snow white’s jungle adventures and Rapunzel’s long Goldie locks. We wanted it all while growing up. As adults too many a times we aspire for things fairy-like. A beautiful Cinderella like dress, snow whites’ charm and of course the prince charming riding a horse. What we read as kids stays with us till a long time after.

My fascination with fairy tales and Barbie dolls is inexplicable. Having an elder sister and many cousin sisters, I neither had to buy any fairy tales books nor force my parents to buy me dolls. I had abundant passed on dolls and books from sisters. Also some utterly fascinating bedtime stories and folk tales that I read and re-read every night. It would not be wrong to say that childhood fables leave a lasting impact in our minds. As adults we may seem to outgrow them and at times even see some glaring flaws in them. But there will always be a part of us that will smile fondly at the all the memories they invoke.Being a book-nerd I always push people around me to read. I try to narrate excerpts from my favorite books to interest them. At times highlight the advantages of reading, argue that books are way better than the monstrous movies they turn them into. So it was not much of a surprise when I bought a big book of all-time favorite fairy tales for my 4 year old niece. Since it was out of question was her to read it herself. I, very willingly made myself her self-appointed fantasy tutor. I thought it would be a great way for me to re-enter the childhood world of magic.

While reading and explaining the intricacies of having mouse’s as friends, evil stepmoms and fairy godmothers, I was somehow not convinced this time. Wisdom imparted through years made me skeptical on the whole helplessness portrayed by Cinderella and other fairy tale protagonists. Ok so the step sisters and mother treat her bad. Why does she not stand up for herself? Why does she behave like Tulsi from Ekta Kapoor’s Kyuki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi? Why does she have to rely on magic? Why is the fairy godmothers magic so conditional, 12’O clock, carriage to pumpkin and those shoes pretty and all but glass? It was not easy explaining to my niece that glass shoes are not only unavailable and also impractical. The final straw was on how everything falls into place right after prince walks in. Whether to sweep Cinderella off her feet or kiss Snow White to life. It was then I realized that this book is full of damsels in distress, waiting to be rescued by the prince charming rather than taking an effort to do it themselves.
I definitely did not want my niece to grow up reading this stuff. Thinking that having men in her life is the solution of all the problems. Don’t get me wrong, men are great. Getting into relationships is great but designing your own life around their existence is not! This is not how the 21st century women are or should be. I have witnessed smart independent women transform to shadows of their better half soon after getting hitched. Maybe they take their cues from the stories they grew up reading. Their man is the only topic they can talk about. The clothes they buy will be of his choice and not theirs’. They will stop doing stuff he doesn’t approve of. Some even stop eating because their man does not want them to get fat (ouch). While many of you would say that this is a perfectly fine thing to do in love. But I say why love have to be about compromise and adjustment why not acceptance. If you love me at size 4 you should love me at size 8 and even size 16. Encourage and challenge me to lose or maintain not taunt or threat. Companion ship should be about the freedom to do the thing you love and at the same time taking time to cherish the thing you both like. Acceptance of YOU as YOU are and not as someone they have mentally pictured. And if the pictures don’t match then, well then Just Keep Searching.

I want my niece to grow up reading a story of a princess who is awesome. One who eats green vegetables with delight and sips green tea. Occasionally indulging in pizzas and pastries (this would help her to understand the secret behind her slender waist from a young age). She eats a balanced diet rather than going on fad diets. So she will not grow up to have eating disorders. A bright student, she believes in wisdom from knowledge. She has fun hobbies like playing congas. She lands a fabulous job doing what she loves. She is kind but does not let people take her for a ride. She knows karate and can like literally kick some ass. She buys sexy shoes (not made of glass, duh). And if she does meet that special someone who loves her for who she is, she takes out that blue gown and her tiara :)


That’s more like the stuff to read and replay, let me know what you think in the comments section!