{Of all lies, art is the least untrue - Flaubert}

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A Childhood Tale

I read a story when I was kid, and I think everybody had because even if it is not read, it just get passed onto generations like the evolutionary gene, you learn so many thing like that, which are not said or explained, they are just put in air. The story was about a young, (of course beautiful) princess, who, for some strange reason had forgotten to laugh or she is just suffering from some teenage syndrome, that Freud can explain in details, given the relevant data and a scope of extrapolation. The important point is that it is not good for a princess to be sad, because she is princess and its its bad to have a sad face. For all of us, face is nothing without a smile and you can't potentially smile with heads or legs, though some poets have tried to attribute smile to eyes with partial success, but for most of the time and for all practical purposes, it is attributed to lips and some area around it. So the little princess was not using her lips for what they are made for, and it is really pissing off the onlookers, they want to see her happy, desperately.

The princess too sensed it but was not responding because this is what you do, when you are a princess, try to be indifferent, and if you fail, just show that you are. So with the king presiding, all of the friends and officials (who are by default friends) gathered, to picture this you can imagine it as a corporate meeting with well defined but never explicitly exposed hierarchical relationships and people discussing a trivial matter with unwarranted importance. When I was a kid I imagined it as a big courtroom with silver chandeliers and all of the friends in their royal robes looking really royal and also worried whether the meeting will come up any good solution and also wondered what would it be. The kids who read the pictorial version of this story were refused of that imagination but those kids, now young professionals working here or there, will rightly argue that even my imagination would have come from some other pictorial book, but I will say, I was free to choose.

But now, with all the commonly and worldly wisdom that I have gained, I picture it less dramatically and also don't worry whether or not the solution will solve the problem but I now have a fear what the solution will be, will they assign the task to a over-ambitious Mantri who will catch someone and probably assign him the task to make princess smile in 5 days, or if he is benevolent, one week or so and that will make both, the life of that man and the princess miserable, and probably by the end of it man will also forget how to smile, although that will give him relevant and worldly experience which he can use in his other professional pursuits and if he is of any artistic type mortal, he may even write poems about the pain of smile, at least he has suffered it. All in all a classic lose-lose situation will emerge and probably in the end princess will smile with sick desperation and the Mantri will get promoted to a slightly higher level and friends will definitely be happy about the princess newly-found smile.

In the childhood story, they came up with a very elegant solution, which I now consider really sensible on the part of the creator of the story, they actually announced in the whole kingdom that who-so-ever will make the princess laugh will get half of the kingdom ( the king really loves his daughter because money counts) and will marry the daughter (now the we can doubt king's intentions). The last part of the solution has greater benefits and repercussions, for the romantic kind of readers, it may be said that the one, who can make the princess laugh will always keep her happy forever, for the more enterprising readers, it looks like the king had a clue that clowns can never be good administrators and he can get his half-kingdom back easily, for the feminists activists, if we remove the chance of a girl marrying a girl then this competition will turn out to be guys-only and it also points to an arguable fact that girls can not make you laugh, which might be right, but I am unable to comment because of lack of any solid experience but I still think they are sort of funny, for the more fatherly readers, it removes one from the tension of marrying their daughter, the sooner the better, the tension should go. Anyway, the solution is elegant at least in one way, its based on free-will, no one is forced except for their hunger for money or their libido, which to a certain extent sounds fine, at least in a childhood tale.

Also from the perspective of a storyteller and entertainer, its a dream come true, you have a entire kingdom of strange characters to choose from and made them do hilarious stuff, which might not make the princess happy but can make the readers laugh. When I read that during my early years, I really found the same pleasure that the kids (also grown ups who are into kid stuff) of this generation find in their potters and harries. So now in the kingdom, full fanfare was going on. People who wanted to showcase their talents came from all the parts, even though they knew that it is quite a high dream to make a princess happy but they can go and see the extravaganza and be part of it and probably be happy for themselves. While all this reality show went on, suitors came with huge smile and confidence and left with sullen faces.

After few days of this effort to challenge the sadness of princess, this sadness spread all over the kingdom. During childhood I wondered why a princess was sad, of course she is a princess and everybody want to be so, then I thought it to be a story trick, I thought that in real life princess can not be sad but if the princess in the story is not happy, how the story will progress. Now I think how can a sad princess ( for that matter any person) be made happy by people jumping in front of her and saying 'Be happy', for what I can imagine it would make her irritated and she will try to cover that irritation with a plain face and since a plain face doesn't have any smile, she will again be considered sad. Now readers can wonder why she didn't fake a laugh just to get rid of the buggers but you should understand that there is a thing called ego and we should respect our ego, otherwise who we are, at least a princess should maintain some decent levels of ego.

Now that the fun fare has ended and people have started thinking that they are done enough for the sad girl and they have other works too, and life is not making everybody happy and couple of more convincing things like that, they stopped caring. Once in a while princess girl friends will make sad faces to pretend to be a princess and a word flew that princesses are usually sad. By this time princess is also getting bored by her sad face and the lack of attention, and she got into some serious thinking to get her smile back.

Now as any serious story reader and any famous story teller know, there is no story without a happy ending and all the authors and readers don't love Kafka that much. So here it goes, at the same time when our would-be happy princess decided to get her smile back and decided to brush her teeth properly before she do it, almost at the same time a clownesque young boy thought he should also try his luck and put a late entry into the reality show. These type of chances are rampant in our daily lives, but we accuse the poor story tellers for fabricating them. How many of you have met a pretty girl on flight? all...see... As they say it is important to be at the right time at the right place with the right person or may be vice versa. So at the sunrise, after brushing her teeth properly, she came to balcony to see the sunrise and wow, here she sees a man in a clown dress jumping like pig, not with the faintest thought that the upcoming smile will cost her a life long porky feeling, she stretched her facial muscles and a just-average smile came up, which made the guy jump more vigorously, and to make the coincidence sure and proper, a gardener saw all this which he proudly termed as, 'Love at first sight', and the news of princess laughing and getting married to a clown spread, to borrow an overused expression, like a jungle fire.

A smile costed her a fortune. Although with hardcore royal grooming, the pig with turn to a virile stallion but even then. As a child my heart throbbed in the final sequence, and to picture the pearly smile of princess was very satisfying. Now I think why this fairy tale is told to kids, I seriously think it may harm the innocence of young girls and they can even get struck by sadness, which, as I said earlier, Freud only can explain. Like this the story ends, on a seemingly happy note, but I think we should ask the princess first, on an average a princess do get a smart guy with blue eyes or may be pink horse in the end, sometime even animals turn to handsome and rich princes but even though our princess was the princess of the fairy tale she got just a smiling moment and that too resulted in serious after effects but as always let us assume for now that she lived happily ever after.


Alok said...

hehe! good to see a fairy tale deconstruction after all the kafka talk !!

I really found the same pleasure that the kids (also grown ups who are into kid stuff) of this generation find in their potters and harries.

LOL! :-)

Anonymous said...

it was funny..Nice writing... loved the feminist point of view .. that was really innovative

Srinivasulu said...

Nice one man..

This one is too good ;)

"it as a corporate meeting with well defined but never explicitly exposed hierarchical relationships and people discussing a trivial matter with unwarranted importance"

Indrajith said...

ఇరగతీసి౦ది...ఇన్క కొద్దిగ ఇన్టెలిజ౦ట్ క్వాటర్ని౦చి బైటపడితే బాగు౦టావు..