Saturday, August 13, 2011

It's a kinda magic!

"Bubz, by golly! We're looking at rich times. The tooth fairy has heard my prayers. There are cupcakes in the fridge...I left this morning and there were none, and then I came back and voila...muffin tops peeking at me cheekily from the fridge, glossy and rich!"  I looked at Sid, beaming from ear to ear, teeth a-gleam, armed with a dozen of my finest double chocolate cupcakes, prettily arranged on a plate!  I had much to say in reply to all this excitement, but before 'much' there was 'one' thing that had to be addressed urgently.

"By golly?", I asked.  "Oh I'm just experimenting with a few catch words, terms, phrases, if you may, that I can revive. You know, re-start a trend, by golly!" He waited for an enthusiastic response from my side, but I didn't blink.  "Lose it, I said, never gonna happen". He looked crestfallen, "That's cold man, really cold". I raised an eye brow, "Lose that too".  "But bubzzz", he cried, "I like that one". I decided to move on from this "by golly, that's cold" phase he was going through and address the more important matter at hand.  "I made those cupcakes, not the tooth fairy". He stared at me, mouth ajar.  "Also", I continued, "I don't think the tooth fairy rewards anyone when they get their teeth cleaned at a dentist. And I'm pretty sure you have to lose a tooth to get anything out of her. Oh and I think she generally leaves cash". He looked crestfallen. "So there's nothing magical about these cupcakes appearing here"? I returned to my magazine while saying, "Nope. Just the regular ingredients and the magic of the microwave, sorry".  My attention shifted to autumn fashions which would never look good on me, but which I stared at all the same in various fashion magazines. While deliberating the unisex look which advised me to raid my husband's closet for his blazers, pants and over sized shirts, I heard a silent muttering in the background. Tearing my gaze away from Kate Moss in what was definitely not her fiance's clothes, but a very well tailored size zero suit, I looked up to find Sid mumbling.  "Speak up boy", I said rather sharply.  He looked at me straight in the eye and said aloud "You don't believe in magic, you're no fun"!

It was a rather cruel blow.  For fantasy and magic have played a very important role in my life.  "That's not true", I replied. "You just need to get your magical facts right.  The tooth fairy doesn't make cupcakes for teeth-cleaning adults. Witches have square feet and are bald. Elves love to dance around in a ring at midnight. Brownies are hard working, industrious sorts. Goblins are fantastic with metal and make handy war tools, but they're super mean. Fairies have shimmery wings and they leave their dancing shoes in flower beds. And they're lots more...trolls and ogres, giants and centaurs, wizards and werewolves, etc, etc.".  He looked stunned.  "Yes, the mind reels at my "magical" knowledge.", I said.

Brought up on a staple diet of Blyton, Dahl, Tolkien, later Rowling and a whole host of other writers, a parallel world of fascinating beings were constant fixtures in my life. But like Sid I too had a rather cruel awakening from all that flew and shimmered.  I wrote to Santa Claus religiously around Christmas, drawing up a long list of needs on my "nice" list, and a shorter one based on necessities just in case he felt I had been "naughty" and wouldn't give me as much! My family went to much effort to set the scene for me, with my dad demanding I hurry up with the letters or it would get caught in the colossal mail jam that takes place around Christmas, a time hated by employees of the postal service, rendering many nervous-breakdown-ed and swearing off Christmas for eternity. On the night before Christmas, though I tried to watch the living room and our bedecked tree like a hawk, I would usually be lured away for a few minutes.  Much excitement would ensue within those minutes, when I would hear a bell being rung and my mom and sister screaming, "Did you hear hooves? I think that's his sleigh outside?".  When I would tear back into the room, below the tree would be a pile of gleaming gifts, but no Santa would be in sight.  A sketch would be prepared by them for me with my nani saying that he was about 'yea high' (pointing at her knees as the cut off), and a "stout little fella". My sister would go on to say that she hardly saw him since he whizzed into the room and out before they could call for me, and my mom said he looked "stressed".  My face would fall at the missing of such a momentous opportunity to meet the man himself, but I would be pacified by little marks in the driveway that were the marks of the "reindeer hooves", my sister declaring herself the expert after much time spent reading National Geographic mags.  Unfortunately, that time passed, though I held on to it till I was eleven, mildly suspicious, but never wanting to believe the bleak alternative. My dad put an end to it impatiently one day as I clamoured for my letter to be posted, saying "Reem, I'm not going to run around for the postage stamps. Santa isn't real".

At another time, I was wandering around the back garden, studiously hunting the insides of flowers and undersides of leaves to find any trace of fairy-dom, when I thought that leaving a note would work really well.  A few minutes later, an untidily torn piece of paper was placed neatly beneath a bouquet of lantanas, the scribbles upon it describing the need of the sender (me) for a birthday gift for her dad. Particulars were detailed as a "watch" or "shirt" or "anything really" and never forgetting my manners, a peppering of 'pleases' featured through out the letter.  If I had cared to look up I would have noticed from an overlooking window, two beady evil eyes watching the proceedings. My sister, Shanu, who at that time definitely had goblin blood in her, was thoroughly bored with taming her hair and listening to Cliff Richard and decided to see what her fantasy-struck sister was up to.  Waiting for me to exit the scene, she swooped upon the note, chuckled in a mean older-sister way, and pocketed it. Returning a few hours later, I was thrilled to see the note was missing, which obviously meant that the right little creatures had found it.  The next morning was even more thrilling, when I discovered a message lying beneath a drooping dahlia.  If I had cared to notice, I would have recognized the lazy tilt of the handwriting, the traitorous t's and swooping i's and the Reynolds blue ball point ink, that was probably not a fairy's choice of ink, but I didn't bother being bogged down by the finer details.  The note was a polite rejection of my demands, not because they were unreasonable, but because "the evil goblins are working the brownies too hard, and the latter are on strike. Hence, the manufacturing of "watches", "shirts" and "anything really" would not be possible at the moment, but thanks for writing"! How polite (my parents had raised us well!) and even though I wasn't getting anything, I was so chuffed at actually getting a reply, it didn't matter what it said. Her aim may have been otherwise, but Shanu actually made me even happier with that response that day.

I really wouldn't trade that blind belief in magic as a child for anything.  I'm happiest when lost in a book that deals with the subject, and I insist on playing things out for my sister's children now. Though technology also plays a role as I call Santa on the phone in front of my nephew, to ask him what time he'll be coming over.  As I looked at Sid morosely munching on a muffin, I thought it sad that I had killed what he felt was the truth. Later that night while he slept I grabbed my wallet and pulled out two notes of whatever I could grab in the dark and shoved it under his pillow along with an earlier prepared note.  Eight hours later, I woke up to find a confused looking Sid reading the note.  "What's up"?, I asked sleepily.  "Bubz, I have good news and bad news", he said.  I yawned and stretched lazily.  "By all means, the good news first. I've just woken up", I said. "The TOOTH fairy exists, bubz. See she left me a letter".  I smiled and read it "Dear Siddharth, thank you for last night".  Wait a minute, this wasn't the note I had written.  Where the hell was my little rant on "thank you for believing in me. And never give up believing in magic and your dreams and all of that"! I looked at him.  He looked back and braced me for the bad news. "Bubz, I think I cheated on you with the tooth fairy. You can see what she wrote"! I stared at him in disbelief, the bastard had played me at my own game! "Oh please, you switched the notes", I yelled.  He yelled back, "DID NOT! What note? Do you mean to tell me that there is no tooth fairy and that she didn't leave me this note!".  "I AM the tooth fairy in this case, you twit. I just didn't want to kill the magic so I left you that note", I shrieked.  "Oh you're just jealous because she left me a note and she and I have a thing going on"! I decided to get up and look for the original note, but not before I stared at the two ten-rupee notes in his hand and replied "You couldn't have been very good if she only left you a twenty!".  I walked out while he made gulping noises and managed to yell before I exited completely, "Oh please, I was splendid. We made our own magic, you're just jealous"!

4 comments:

Saurabh said...

Loved every bit of it.. Specially the 'magical' twist in the end :)

Reem said...

Thanks Saurabh!

SeaIris said...

Ouch!!!(for sid)...Reem that was a good one!!

Reem said...

Thanks Baishali!