Happily Ever After…

“People blame movies and videogames for introducing kids to violence but no one ever talks about how movies and music build up the belief of happy endings in children’s minds,” mused the mild-mannered gamer.

Being a sucker for happy endings myself, I started to think when this whole quixotic idea of happily ever after got inscribed in my brain?

***

As a little girl, I remember being labeled pesky when I sang the third and fourth line of the following rhyme with much gusto.

Inky pinky ponky
Father had a donkey
Donkey died
Father cried
Inky pinky ponky

I think it was because people flinched every time I stressed on the words ‘died’ and ‘cried’ that I was mystified by the rhyme. On being told to drop this rhyme for a nicer one like Hot Cross Buns, I queried what was wrong with my current favorite. Now, when I think back, I realize I was bluffed. They told me it was not nice to talk about death, but when I further probed they told me that when a person dies, he turns into a star, and then he looks upon us forever. I also recollect seeing an animated movie about this. I believed it.

***

I do not think I was the only kid whose favorite fairy tale list included Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Snow White. All happy tales. I had not even discovered tales of The Little Mermaid and The Nightingale until I was much older. Although, they tried to make those sound happy as well, these were never my favorites. I still loved my childhood favorites. I believed them.

***

As far as my memory goes, Pyar Jhukta Nahin was the first complete movie that I ever watched. A sad tale of estranged couple and their boy, which ends with every one making up and living together, happily ever after. This was followed by Sound of Music, where the whole bunch of kids find a loving new mother and Maria finds love of her life in Captain. They may have had to flee Austria but they were all together, happily ever after. I loved those movies. I believed them.

***

When I first heard the unforgettable song Jamaican Farewell, I wanted to know what became of the little girl in the Kingston town. “He finished his travel all around the world and came back to her,” they told me. I believed them.

***

When I was in an unvanquishable state, crying my eyes out over the death of a beloved, a well-meaning auntie told me, “Come on darling, you are a big girl. You should know this is a part of life. Be brave for your family.” This was not what they had told me earlier. I was not prepared for this.

The day I came home with my first heartbreak, my very own mother advised me to be practical and move on. They had taught me to believe in fairy tales. And when my fairy tale ended, they asked me to be practical. I felt cheated.

Cheated, I still feel but did I learn my lesson? I do not think so. They did their job pretty well when my mind was still impressionable. Despite frequent reminders that life sends out, I still watch the falling rain, catch fireflies by cupping my hands, search for rainbow colors in floating soapy bubbles, and believe in happily ever afters.

I like my happy cliché; like they say, faith is a fine invention.

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