Mar 1, 2014

And they lived happily ever after... Really?

“And they lived happily ever after...”- takes me straight back to my childhood. Mamma by the side of your bed telling you how, against all odds, the princess was rescued; the good ol’ days. There was nothing to worry about, because deep down, I knew that everything would turn out to be all right! However, as the years passed by, I realized that the world was cruel- the thought of a happy “ending” is just a fluke. In fact, there’s no ending, and “ever after” is just a cliche used in fictional works!

Don’t believe me? I don’t really blame you. After all, even you were brought up to believe in the concept of good overcoming evil. Ask yourself, why then do we have wars? Why do families sacrifice their own in the name of honor?

If you think harder, don’t we have historical examples which disprove the very idea of living happily ever after? Shakespeare wrote dozens of plays, and plays like “Merchant of Venice” portrayed happy endings, but wasn’t Hamlet, a tragedy, arguably the most popular and critically acclaimed of all? “Romeo and Juliet” may be a great love story too, but did any of them survive to live a happy life? Talking about the fairy tales, the modern versions are actually very different from the original version published by the Grimm brothers, which were far more gruesome.

The idea of ever after isn’t just attached to romantic stories. Back in the arly 90s, a promising bunch of youngsters backed by an angel investor started Netscape Navigator (an early version of the modern day Firefox). They were ruthlessly taken over by Bill Gates as Microsoft, quite unfairly might I add, shoved them aside to gain advantage in the famously documented browser wars. There are many such examples of which tell you that the world is just not fair.

If that was too early for you, let’s rewind six years to early 2008 and the grand success of the maiden IPL season made it look inseparable from its orchestrator, Lalit Modi. It seemed that an eternal bond had developed between the two. Alas, it was not meant to be. With his downfall and eventual sacking from the board, thanks to the controversies surrounding him, even the IPL hasn’t been able to stay away from trouble.

History teaches you a lot. One of them is the idea that being an optimist is not enough. I take pride in being one, but I always carry an umbrella- there’s always the possibility of rain, no matter how sunny it is! Being a realist is far more important- weigh your options rather than blindly putting faith in the one that suits you the most.

I realize there was a small error in the statement that I started with- there is an ending, definitely. And no matter what you do, which path you take, you are going to end up the same way- death. Food for thought?

The point of all this is simple- don’t tell lies. Tell your children it’s practically not possible to climb a fort using one’s hair (or that it would take fifty years for your hair to grow twenty five feet long!) Tell your kids that the prince tried and fought hard, but in spite of all that, it was not possible to win. Tell them that although winning is important, it’s trying hard that matters. Most importantly, good doesn’t always win, but we must try to fight for it. After all, don’t they have the right to know the truth?

This post was written as a part of the creative writing contest for the Literary Fest of Motilal Nehru College, DU. You guessed right- I didn't win. But I did get a special mention!

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