Dolly Koghar spins a yarn of a fairy tale gone askew.
How could I, or any young missy on the planet that’s grown up with Disney’s Cinderella (1950), Sleeping Beauty (1959), and Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs (1937), not have dreamt of coming face to face with a tall and fair (imperative) prince, on a night unlike any other in the history of astronomy? A night when every single star in the galaxy would vie with each other to illuminate the velvety canopy above; and the moon, a huge, round, unblemished white orb, would gaze down through the gently swaying evergreen branches. A night when the intoxicating fragrance of English roses would waft through, with a hint of a rhapsody of love from Nat King Cole:
“It was fascination, I know
Seeing you alone with the moonlight, above…”
In that fantasy, fate would have already dictated the inevitable and instantaneous burst of chemistry between me and the rajkumar, who will, of course, be regal and cultured of bearing, and yet, unassuming and gentle in manner. His chiselled jawline will bely the sensual lips that readily break into a perfect Colgate smile. His (preferably) blue eyes will mischievously play on my heartstrings from beneath his rakish, wavy, champagne locks.
As for me, when I turned 17 I would have magically transformed from a brown Punjabi girl into a super fair, lissom young maiden; demure and naïve, begging to be protected. My black, almond-shaped eyes would now be a mystical green; saucer-sized pools of limpid innocence, lowered behind fluttering butterfly-lashes. My lips: two quivering rose petals; my cheeks: the colour of apples on the throes of ripening. My tiara will sit atop my L’Oreal commercial-worthy, auburn hair cascading till my waist; one so slight that the Prince could cradle me with a single palm when we waltzed together as if clouds were beneath our feet; so untouched, so ethereal, on that eternal night.
Seeing such Barbie-esque, perfect me, the poor chap’s rationality will short-circuit and post-haste, he will gallop off on his white steed on a treacherous mission to kill a fire-bellowing dragon to please his sassoor-to-be. Mais oui, he’ll come back successful, with not a trace of fatigue, or a crinkle on his dapper outfit, thanks to the assistance of magical fairies and gnomes en route.
But isn’t it bizarre that in fairy tales, the prince’s royal family couldn’t care less about the dulhann (bride); they never send any token of acceptance of the auspicious union or shagun, not even an outfit or two, or some baubles? Nothing!! Even weirder is that not a single person from his royal family turn up for the nuptials, not even a single friend to act as his sarbala, or best-man.
Also, as if it’s an axiom for fairy tales, the one and only, utterly spoilt beti (daughter) never has a sibling to share the limelight with. So, dear papa-ji would have tried his utmost best to organise a grand wedding followed by an exorbitant banquet and, he would have fared rather dismally, since the Queen wasn’t alive to give him advice. Which seems to be yet another axiom of these tales, that the mothers are almost always long gone and dead by the time the story unfolds. Nevertheless, even if she was alive and kicking, it would have been nigh impossible for her to have captured the pulse and intricacies of a young girl’s dream as perfectly as ourworld-famous Bangkok wedding-planners, whose sales pitch of, ‘Be a princess in a fairy tale wedding,’ speaks beyond Bollywood dream sequels.
Way back in the stone-age of 1969, fate above and the families arranged for my shaadi, but then, our wedding- planners weren’t even born yet! I was 17 but didn’t become fair, nor was the doolha (groom) blue-eyed, though he possessed a heart of unalloyed gold. In Barbara Cartland’s paperbacks, ‘THE END’ is always preceded by, ‘and they lived happily ever after’. On the contrary, a wedding is but the beginning of a tango between two unique individuals, shaped by karma, nurture, nature, and their own distinctive prisms of life. To make this dance of ‘marriage’ last ‘till death do us part’, an open mind, an open heart, listening ears, and a cautious tongue is valuable; as is tolerance and acceptance of each other’s differences and shortcomings to keep this fragile bond from fraying. Get real, soulmates are a fallacy, fairies don’t exist, and there’s no such thing as a Perfect Prince or Princess!