Dancerella: An Indian version of Cinderella

[ The author is a 7th Grade student of Karachi American School.]



                                                  Come dance with me

“Why is this happening to me? What did I ever do to deserve this? Why am I being punished? Am I not obedient, kind, and respectful? I must have done something wrong. Otherwise, not all this would be happening to me. Maybe God is upset at something I did unknowingly but I pray almost all the time. There has to be a reason for all this.”

These are the questions that are bothering poor Sandia. She is not poor if it is wealth we are talking about. After all, being a Raja’s daughter means having a luxurious life. It is the situation she is in that has made her so helpless.

Sandia’s mother, the Rani, died at childbirth and her father, the Raja, died when she was fifteen. Her father’s will state that Sandia would inherit the money and be able to rule after she is married. Until then her uncle, who became her guardian, will rule for her. Her uncle became extremely busy and got the illusion that suitors were being sought out by his wife, while she on the other hand had no such plans of doing so. The aunt disliked Sandia because she was not only more beautiful than her own daughters but would also inherit all the money. Whenever the aunt saw Sandia a mixture of hatred, jealousy, and envy filled her body. Therefore, instead of arranging a wedding the aunt who wanted to enjoy the power she now had, locked Sandia away in her room. The uncle was always away, so he did not notice and the servants did not dare to inform him. Sandia’s own palace became a prison for her. The four walls of her room were suffocating. The only thing she has to look forward to is her dancing lesson with her dancing teacher. Her aunt had given her this one freedom at the price of her gunguroo.

Those gunguroo reminded her of her father. They were a gift from him on her tenth birthday. Having them taken away crushed her heart. Sandia sits down in front of the statue of Shiva, the god of dance, and cries all her pain out. Then out of thin air appear gunguroo made of pure gold sitting in front of the statue. Sandia realizes that they are a gift from the god Shiva and humbly accepts them. The gunguroo are a lot more than just appealing to look at. They have the power to grant any wish the owner has. Everyone can hear the gunguroo when Sandia dances. Furthermore, except her aunt everyone could see it. Slowly Sandia begins to understand the magic the gunguroo possess.

A few months later, her dance teacher tells her that the Shanshah is throwing a grand party tomorrow to celebrate hundred years of ruling India by his family. The Shanshah is also hosting a dance contest in which five well-known dance teachers, including her, have to enter their best student. She proudly announced that she has chosen Sandia. Sandia feels honored and promises to meet the dance teacher outside the palace tomorrow before the party starts. She also requests her dance teacher not to notify her aunt of their plan. Sneaking away to the Shanshah’s party would have been impossible but with the help of the magic gunguroo, it would not be so hard.

The next day, in the morning Sandia’s uncle returns home. He informs his family that the Shanshah has invited all the Rajas and their families to his party, which includes them. Sandia’s aunt looks ecstatic and her cousins jump with joy. Sandia on the other hand now has a serious problem. If she goes, with them to the party then she cannot dance but she promised her dance teacher. Suddenly the aunt realizes that her husband is also talking about taking Sandia and decides to interfere. She tells him that Sandia is not feeling well. Even though Sandia hates to lie, she has no choice. This could be the only way out. So unwillingly, she goes along with her aunt’s lie and pretends to be ill.

As soon as her uncle and his family left, Sandia scrambles out of bed and puts on her gunguroo. She closes her eyes and wishes to go to the Shanshah’s palace. When she opens her eyes, she finds herself standing in front of a magnificent palace. Sandia is even more shocked to see her wearing the most gorgeous dress she has ever seen. It looked like the night sky. Her dance teacher is waiting for her outside the palace just as they planned. Sandia approaches her and they go inside together.

The party is held in a grand hall. Gigantic chandeliers are hanging from the ceiling. All kinds of gems are engraved on the pillars. The hall is extremely crowded. The Shanshah is seated on his throne and standing next to him is the most handsome boy she has ever laid eyes on. She was not surprised to see all the girls nearby staring at him. Her dance teacher tells Sandia that he is Shahzada Saleem. As Sandia glances around, she spots her uncle and his family standing together and moves far away from them.

Sandia covers half of her face with her dupatta so that only her eyes are visible. The four contestants have all danced and now it is Sandia’s turn. She anxiously walks to the center of the room but as she starts dancing, all her nervousness goes away. Whenever Sandia dances, she feels as if she has gone off to another world. She dances with her sole. When she finishes dancing, everyone is awestruck and silent. Then that silence is erupted with a thunderous applause. For a moment, Sandia’s and the Shahzada’s eyes meet but she looks away.

The Shanshah announces Sandia as the winner and gives her a beautiful diamond necklace as a reward. Dinner was ready to be served and so everyone is requested by the Shanshah to join him in the dinning hall. The Shahzada approaches Sandia to congratulate her. Suddenly Sandia’s dupatta falls down and her face is exposed. Her beauty mesmerizes Shahzada Saleem. As he blinks, Sandia disappears. He scans the grand hall and catches a glance of her going out of the palace. The Shahzada scurries after her but when he reaches outside she is nowhere to be seen. One gunguroo has been left at the bottom of the stairs. He picks it up and guesses that it belongs to the enigmatic dancer.

Sandia is back at home safe. She manages to come home before her uncle and his family does. What a fabulous night it was. Everybody loved her dance. The Shanshah has given her a prize. The applause was still ringing in her ears. The sad part is that Sandia could not say goodbye to her dance teacher because she had gone to the dining hall and Sandia had to leave, otherwise she would not have been able to make it back on time. The other down side is that when Sandia reached home she realized that a gunguroo had fallen off but decided it was too risky to go back. The thought of never seeing the Shahzada again is very depressing but you cannot have everything you want. You would think that after experiencing her wish come true, Sandia would be avaricious for more, but she is grateful for everything God has made possible for her. She also does not want to try her luck too much.

It has been a week since the party took place and Shahzada Saleem still cannot stop thinking about the mysterious dancer. It is obvious that he is madly in love and badly wants to find her. He has ordered the five dancing teachers to come and meet him at the palace. He asks each of them about the beautiful dancer and then Sandia’s teacher starts spilling out all the information she knew.

The Shahzada arrives at the palace where he is greeted by Sandia’s aunt. As usual, Sandia is locked up in her room. Shahzada Saleem demands to see her. The aunt wants to trick him into marring her daughters. So tells him that one of them is Sandia but she does not know that the Shahzada has seen Sandia’s face. This means that he cannot be fooled. Suddenly the Shahzada hears a sound coming from somewhere. It sounds the same as the gunguroo he has in his hand. He follows the sound and stops in front of a door. The Shahzada orders the aunt to open the door and she does. The doors flung open and inside is Sandia dancing, like always.

In the end, Shahzada Saleem and Sandia get married. Sandia inherits all her father’s money but makes her uncle the Raja. After all, she was a Shahzadi now and on a much higher status. The Shahzada’s love for Sandia increased when after they were married. He had the Taj Mahal made for her, which was later claimed by Shah Jahan. Shahzada Saleem and Sandia lived happily ever after.

5 Responses to “Dancerella: An Indian version of Cinderella”

  1. January 15, 2008 at 2:48 am

    Its kind of a twisted story i must say.

    Poor Shah Jahan, His taj mahal was already built before he could do that for his lady love ……………… 🙂

  2. January 15, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    Thanks for keeping eye on Alone in the Dark.

    What exactly u mean by twisted story??? Shah Jahan part was made for little fun in the story.

  3. January 25, 2008 at 4:24 am

    I started writing in Inter. I gradually improved my writing skills, looking at this piece of writing I must say she has all the potential to be a good writer.

    You go gurl! 🙂

  4. January 25, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    Thankyou Ammar for ur valuable comments.

    Inter=Grade 12

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