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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.

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