Some things don’t change. Fairy tales is one of them. I kept Tunmun away from princesses and their tales, but the world got to her. Just like Barbies and high heels, Tunmun heard about Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow white etc. Come one night, she wanted to know their story.
“Mamma, tell me Cinderella’s story.”
“Hmm.. Ok, let me think…”
“What mommy, you don’t know Cinderella’s story?” Asked a visibly shocked Venky.
“I know, I know… Ok, here you go.”
“There was a girl called Cinderella, she lived with her..”
“Stepmom and step sisters!” Tunmun chimed in.
“What is a step mom?” I asked.
“I don’t know.”
Ok, she lived with her aunt and her daughters because her parents had died when she was little. The aunt and her sisters were mean to her. They would not send her to school and made her do all the house work. She always wore old clothes and looked ragged and dirty.
“Why couldn’t she wear nice clothes?”
“Because she did not have the money. Ok, so one day, the prince of the kingdom threw a party and invited everyone. Her aunt and sisters wore nice clothes and went away. Cinderella had to stay at home.”
Both my kids were intently listening.
Cinderella was feeling sad about missing the party. So, fairy godmother took pity on her and appeared. She changed Cinderella’s dress through magic and changed the pumpkin into a carriage so that she could go to the party. Cinderella was happy now. As she rode to the prince’s palace on her carriage, she passed by a hotel. She found an sign on that hotel which said “Vacancies available. We need housekeepers who can cook and clean well. Stay and food will be provided by the hotel.”
“Wait! Something is wrong!” Venky shouted.
“What is wrong?”
“You have changed something.”
“Nah. This is the real story! Now listen!”
“This is what I do all day and do not get paid anything.” Thought Cinderella.
The carriage rushed ahead and reached the palace. The palace was decorated beautifully. There was song and music. Every one was enjoying. Cinderella went inside but could not focus on the party. She kept thinking about the sign on the hotel. She was lost in her thoughts when the song changed and the prince came to her.
“Oh, beautiful girl, will you dance with me?” The prince asked.
Cinderella looked at him for a while and answered,
“No! I need to go somewhere!”
She then ran out of the palace and asked the carriage driver to take her to that hotel. Cinderella knocked at the hotel door and asked about the job. The hotel owner asked her demonstrate her skills. Cinderella cooked and cleaned with ease. The owner was impressed with her skills and offered her the job.
“You will have to wear the uniform young lady and stay here at the hotel.”
“Oh yes. That will be great!” Cinderella said.
“Well, you can start tomorrow.” The owner said.
“How will I come? This carriage is not mine!” Cinderella was worried.
“I will send a carriage for you. Be ready by 8 am sharp. Give me your address.”
Cinderella went home happy. Her sisters and aunt came home late. Cinderella couldn’t sleep with excitement. She got ready early in the morning and wore her uniform. She packed all her things, though there were not too many. When her sisters and aunt woke up, they were upset to see that Cinderella had not cleaned up and not made their morning coffee. They banged the door of her room with anger. Cinderella looked at the clock. It was almost 8. She looked out from her window and saw her carriage standing. She opened the door of her room. Her aunt and sisters were shocked to see her in an uniform, carrying her bag.
“Thank you for letting me stay in your home all this while. I have decided to not burden you anymore. I have found a job and I am moving out now.” Cinderella said calmly and left the house.
“She did not marry the prince?” Asked Venky.
“Then how did she live happily ever after?”
“She worked hard at the hotel and got promoted fast. Soon she opened a hotel of her own. Then another and then another. She became the CEO of a chain of hotels. That is how she lived happily ever after.”
“Mommy, I am sure you have changed the story!” Venky laughed.
“Nope. This is the real story. Now go sleep my babies.”
After the kids fell asleep, I told the story to Vibhu. He laughed and said I was going overboard with feminism. But I really hate this “wait for prince when in trouble” business. I have now made my own versions of other fairy tales. I call it the “Cut the prince” series. Hmmm.. maybe I am going a little overboard. As long as it helps drive the point of self reliance into my little D, I don’t mind the feminism overdose! 😀