I tried to focus on my writing assignment, ‘Alter’. My children were fighting like cats and dogs. How could I concentrate amid this pandemonium?
“Riya wants to play with my aeroplane collection. Why can’t she stick to her dolls?”
“Dolls are stupid! I want planes and rockets, just like Rohan.”
I looked at the discarded Rapunzel set, the one with the barbie looking down wistfully from her tower. It had cost me a bomb and was lying in a corner, unloved.
“Riya, girls don’t play with rockets. Play with your doll.”
My next work-assignment was to interview a Princess.
Cinderella was out shoe shopping. Snow White was inaugurating a new Apple store. Sleeping Beauty? There was a risk that she would doze off in between. I finally zeroed in on Rapunzel and did my homework.
Rapunzel held the Guinness world record for longest hair. She had been confined to a tower to escape a curse. That made her one of the earliest proponents of social distancing. The curse was lifted when Prince Charming rescued her. And they lived happily ever after.
Here I was, at Rapunzel’s doorstep. I rang the doorbell and was welcomed by a girl in faded jeans, sporting thick glasses and a pixie haircut.
Must be her assistant.
“I’m here to interview Princess Rapunzel for Penmancy.”
“What? You seem different. Your hair…….”
“My story has evolved. So have I.”
I followed her in and began my interview.
“How did you kill time in the tower?”
“I upskilled myself. I read books on technology.”
“Tell me about your rescue.”
“Don’t get me started on my promised Prince! He was woefully unprepared! He yelled from the base of the tower, ‘Rapunzel, let down your hair!’
Who orchestrates a rescue without basic equipment? And using my hair as a rope? Do you know how painful that can be?”
I nodded sympathetically.
“I took matters into my own hands. I chopped off my locks. It was liberating! My hair had been dragging me down. I made a rope of my long plait and tied one end to the grill. Donning my gym shoes, I climbed down that tower myself. I hailed a taxi and waved goodbye to Prince Bumblehead. If only I had done this earlier!”
“What happened next?”
“I completed my studies and joined NASA. Never grew my hair again. It’s difficult to manage long hair in a Spacecraft-simulator.”
“But your story?”
“I altered the narrative. I’m no damsel in distress. My ‘happily ever after’ starts with me.”
I woke up startled and tried to process my dream. I felt pangs of guilt. I knew what I had to do.
“Riya, we can return the Rapunzel set and get you something you like.”
“Rohan! Girls can love planes too!”
I ignored my son’s puzzled expression and walked on, with my invisible cape fluttering behind me.
“She seems different,” I heard Rohan whisper to his sister.
Did that Rapunzel doll just wink at me?
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