Some princesses are locked up high in the castle towers and I’m in a lockdown in my towering building. If the princes were led to Disney princesses for the dulcet songs they sang, I only had a hoarse voice hearing which, even the frog prince would make a hurried exit. A dreadful disease had overtaken the world and people stayed away from each other. Who would come to rescue me, and why would he?
My heart did a double take as I saw a smiling tall, dark, handsome man in an unusual attire outside my window. I was on the 22nd floor! Was he a ghost? I was about to black out when he quickly said, “Sangeetha, fear not! Don’t you know me? I’m Aladdin. Come, hop on! We have no time to lose!”
Hop on?? Where??
I gingerly opened my window and there he was on his flying carpet. He took my hand and before I knew it, we were flying through the night sky, high above the skyscrapers and twinkling lights below. I gasped.
“Aladdin, where are we going in a hurry?”
“Sangeetha, you have to save Ariel from making a grave mistake. She’s been brainwashed into killing my friend, Prince Eric.”
“Ariel? The mermaid? What are you talking about! Why me? Oh! Doesn’t she live under water? Are you trying to drown me, Aladdin?”
“Sangeetha! How can you even think …! She’s been imprisoned in an impenetrable tower on a small island in the middle of a raging sea. Ursula, the witch who gave her a raw deal, has brainwashed you too and given you land-legs to separate you from your family forever. Don’t you remember anything at all?! You’re Ariel’s sister. I’m here to take you to Ariel.”
All this was too much to take in. I had to save my sister. She wouldn’t survive long on land!
“Sangeetha, my genie will give you three wishes. Use them wisely.”
As I nodded, we reached a strange land and I peeked in through the tower window.
“Don’t be afraid,” I said, stepping in.
Ariel gasped. “Sangeetha! Where were you? How are you? I thought the witch killed you. Can you get me out of here?”
“I think I can.” I tried to convince her.
“Then let’s go!” Ariel was anxious. We hopped onto the magic carpet and I rubbed Aladdin’s magic lamp. When the genie appeared, I told him to make us invisible.
“Hold on tight, Ariel.”
With her arms wrapped around me, we plunged through the freezing water.
I made my second wish to help me breathe underwater. Once we reached her castle, we were visible to the mermen, who had spotted us swimming towards them.
“Look who’s here! It’s Ariel…and…. Sangeetha, Your Majesty!”
My father was overjoyed to see me. I was meeting my long lost family. Although I couldn’t remember my life with them. A great feast was held in my honour. When it was time for me to leave, they wouldn’t let me go! They bound me with seaweed ropes inside a cage made of sharp shark’s teeth and poisonous stings of stingrays.
“Ariel! Is this what I get in return for helping you? Release me!”
Ariel, hearing my cries, pleaded to her father to let me go. But her voice too fell on deaf ears. I still had the magic lamp in my pocket. I rubbed it and made my third and last wish to take me back to where I came from.
I was thrashing my hands and legs. I woke up to blinding sunlight outside my window. It was noon. I was back at home! It had felt so real all this time.
I felt something tied on my wrist. My gaze fell on an exotic handkerchief with the most intricate embroidery that I’d seen on the cover page of Arabian Nights’ Tales!
Enclosed in my palms was the most beautiful seashell embedded with untold precious stones from the ocean depths. “Thank you, Sangeetha. Live free. With love, your sister, Ariel” was written in dainty writing on it.
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