A Fairy Tale

2 Nov

“Every man’s life is a fairy tale written by God’s fingers” Hans Christian Anderson


Everything begins somewhere, even stories.

Yet some stories are such that they really don’t have a beginning. They begin somewhere in the middle and define their own course. But a fairy tale it always begins with a once upon a time and this tale too starts there.

Once upon a time, a time long ago when I was a little kid, my grandmother used to tell me fairy tales, stories of the valiant princes, beautiful princesses, conniving villains, fiery dragons and dreadful demons. I believed every word she said, every story. They all were real. And none more real than the demons. Blazing eyes, thundering voice, the soul snatchers, the dream wreakers. I would lie down in the bed and worry about the poor princess. Princess I lost my heart to every night. I would lie awake in my bed, imagining myself as a swash-buckling hero on his way to the castle on top of a treacherous mountain, through the deepest jungles, fighting the blood sucking trees, the lurking beasts, swimming across the burning rivers, jumping across crevices in rocky mountains and there would be me atop the fortress where the princess was imprisoned by the demon. But I never ever entered the castle. I never fought the demon. I always lost my courage. I never fought him. He was way too strong for me. I knew the princes waited for me. She believed me. But the demon was an idea that was larger, scarier, and fiercer. So every night I would stand there. Imagining him and his horrifying reality. Feeling small and helpless in face of such an adversary. Adversary I never saw. An enemy I never faced. A challenge that went unanswered, every night.              

I lost my sleep. I would wake up every morning with bleary eyes, no energy, no motivation, scared, scared of what I lost, regret of the love disappointed, left waiting, alone, facing my fears but mostly trembling at the thought of the face I never saw. The demon. My demon. 

One day, my parents made me sit down and told me that there were no demons. I told them that they existed and they were real.  They said that demons were imaginary. There was no need to be scared of something that doesn’t exist, howsoever scary it might be. I’m not sure what scared me more then, the demon or the fact that he no longer existed, the one I would never fight and win, that there was no princess who would love me, that there would be no happily after ending. But as I believed the stories, I believed  their new words. As it had come into being that fantasy world vanished in that moment. I was left alone, with no dreams.

Years passed, years I spent, in school, college, professional college, followed with a job, then the routine set. Wake up. Get Ready. Go to office. Stare at a screen. Watch black taking some shape on a heartless, soulless screen, sucking out life from the soul. Finish. Come home. Meet friends. Someday go for drinks. Some girls came in between. But all quickly moved on. I was not the one they wanted. And they were not what I had imagined. Life was an order. A clock. Time moving forward yet making the same circle every day. Unchanging. Unmoving. Nothing had changed, except the fact that I grown old. There were enough white hair on the head which could not be hidden by a trick of the comb, new lines had appeared on the face, some extra inches at the wrong places, I walked a little slower, smiled less, laughed rarely, mostly alone. 

But in some recess of the mind lured a lost memory. An unremembered dream. An unfinished journey.

Then one day I saw her.

And at that moment I knew my parents were wrong. Wrong all along. They had lied to me. There were princesses.

And one of them was walking towards me.

The whole place so drab, so lifeless, lying comatose, bored for life lit up with her presence. The walls with peeling faded colors blushed, the light seemed brighter, and the sun came down to peek from the window, every head  turned and was mesmerized by the little dainty walk and sunshine smile. A lilting music played in the heart and the whole place was awash with the soft smell of fresh strawberries.

If the princess was here the demon has to be around and all the childhood nightmares came flooding in. I quickly turned around expecting him to be standing behind me but saw only my face staring back at me on the window reflection.

Startled I turned back.

I looked back and watched her little more closely, she was still smiling maybe to some private joke but her smile didn’t stop just at the lips it went all the way to her eyes. I was sure if one looked just into her eyes, one would know she was smiling. She was wearing a well cut grey suit, she walked as if she owned the place. She was now its mistress, everything around inanimate or living her slave in that instant, ready to please any wish, any desire, any command.

As I sat just staring at her, someone came and gently shut my mouth.

Fairy tales. Always about beautiful people. A beast has to  turn into a charming prince, even a toad transforms into a man of dreams. Princesses always love princes. Do the toads and beasts have their fairy tales or are their tales always about tragedy and misery, about unrequited, unreciprocated love. Are they always on an unending, unrewarding journey? Journeys without purpose, journeys without meaning, with no one waiting for them to comfort them, no one to kiss them, no end to their their struggle. Struggle always without purpose. Do they even have dreams? Are they even allowed to dream?

I sat there, every morning, talking to myself. Rooted at the same spot. My yearnings, my desires, rotting inside,  burning me like acid. I would see her flitting from one person to another ignoring me like a rotten, dried leaf. I would hear her lilting sounding floating in ether from all directions but never a word  for me, never a look for me, never a smile for me, not even nothing for me. It was as if I didn’t exist. Was I invisible? Did I even exist? Did she take me for a beast or a toad?

I the slayer of the dragons, her lover, her knight, I who would hold her, love her, I who would ride through the deepest jungles, fight the demon for her and one day we would live happily ever after. Did the beast or the toad disgust her, couldn’t she see her prince in me. But then princesses never do. They always find out.

I was obsessed with her. Obsessed with her, as much I was obsessed with the idea. Obsessed with my fairy tale.  She pervaded my every thought, I felt her around me all the time. I took it upon me to save, guess in my effort I stalked her, maybe scared her. But when she smiled I thought she smiled for me.

One day I saw her with someone. She was holding his hand, looking into his eyes, smiling, content, happy. I was devastated. Broken from within. She turned and saw me. The smile vanished. A fear came into her eyes, she cringed, scared, moved behind her protector.

In that moment I realization dawned, I was not the prince. I was demon. The demon I never saw, never met, was me. It was always. Demon that needed to be killed was me. And there was no prince to kill this demon, I needed to slay the demon.      

But before that I needed to kill the nine demons standing behind her, living inside me, breeding inside me, breathing inside me.

I smiled and turned.

I was the prince. I was the demon. I was the slayer.  I was the vanquished.

It is a destiny of a beast to have an eternal wait.

 So does the story end here.

Beasts do have their fairy tales but they end differently. All stories don’t have a happily after end.

But some stories should never end.

I believe that’s when you can call that story your fairy tale.

 I wait. Forever. Till the end of time.


3 Responses to “A Fairy Tale”

  1. John Doe November 4, 2009 at 6:01 pm #

    really enjoyed reading this.

  2. fictitioustruth November 4, 2009 at 7:31 pm #

    Thank you. Appreciate the comment. But i expect more than this. some suggestions, some guidance.

  3. sue November 7, 2009 at 9:57 pm #

    picture abhi baaki hai mere dost! 😀

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