Once upon a time, I starred in the school play, called Cinderella. And that’s where the fairy tale ends. What happened next was part comic and part reality check (not the fancy, magical tale that I expected it to be).
So, this was at the time when I had messy hair, scrawny limbs and a pronounced slouch. But they said, that I could be this character. So, I felt immensely gorgeous (in my head). After all, who doesn’t want to be Cinderella at 15 going on 16! I certainly did! I was looking forward to the glass slipper, the ball, the gown, the prince, and the importance of being the princess, and that too in a school play! However, it turned out slightly different to what I had imagined it to be. (See below)
For starters, it was a spoof, and a deliciously wicked one at that. But unfortunately, my starry-eyed younger self was dim-witted enough to have missed the intended satire entirely. I felt lost. This particular Cinderella was supposed to be a scheming, conniving, opportunist, whose ultimate aim was to snatch the prince (in a wig), from another woman (her own lovely step-sister). Oh, the devious, devious Cindy!
Anyway, then came the second shock. We performed the play for the junior school, a day before the opening night. And these little righteous people were out and out indignant. Their faces fell when they saw the play. Part of it was probably my bad acting, but the other part was my deviousness. I was a wicked Cinderella! I had single-handedly maligned a good and beautiful character for them (perhaps forever). They just wouldn’t forgive me. “Bad Cinderella,” they taunted me as I walked down the corridors. This went on for many days. So, as you can see, this fancy idea of being Cinderella was not that fancy after all.
On the brighter side, I got to convert my mother’s beautiful orange and white chiffon in to a flowing skirt. I also got to borrow my friend’s billowy white blouse (which I adored), and I got to say that atrociously clichéd but sweet line, “Of course, I will marry you!”
The truth is that I enjoyed this bitter sweet, comic-tragic play. So much so, that I re-enacted it for my Trinity Guildhall Exam performance much later in life. The memory of that first fairy tale remains though. As an adult now, I look at the lessons learnt from that. Lesson 1 is that life turns out differently to what is expected. Lesson 2 is that people will judge you. I also learnt that I don’t need shoes, prince, and a ball, as much as I need a fairy god ma with a sympathetic ear. But to be on the safer side, I always return home before my carriage turns back into pumpkin.