Teacherji, in our school, once told us a tale. It was about someone called Snow White, but I had no interest in her. The only thing that caught my fancy in the tale was the Magical Mirror in. How I wished that I could get my hands on it someday! I would lovingly describe it to my papa when he would come back from work. I would jump into his lap, and tell him about the pretty little mirror, till his gentle snores told me that he had fallen asleep.
One day, when papa came, he was looking different. Instead of looking haggard and careworn, he was beaming at me. He suddenly thrust a package into my hands, and looked expectantly. I slowly unwrapped it, and then gave a yelp of delight. In my hand was the precious mirror. Papa just smiled at me, and walked out of the room. The mirror was ornate with intricate silver design around it. The handle was snowy white, and I was petrified that if I ever placed my dirty paws on it, it would be befouled. As I was about turn it around and see myself in it, my Ma snatched it away from me, saying “Tu iska kya karegi Rano? Teri nazar padtey hi, yeh bichara tut nahin jayega. Iska haqdar koi phool sa chehra hai, Amavas ka chand nahin”
Suddenly I loathed the mirror. I wish I could grab a stone and smatter it into pieces. I stared my ebony fingers, as bitter tears began falling down my cheeks.
Next day, a few women came over to our place. “Look”, one of them exclaimed, “it is so pretty and delicate! And you say Soni, it is worth 100 rupees?”
“ your husband loves you” , said one enviously
“made of silver, you say!” said another excitedly
And the days became normal again. Ma made some excuse that I won’t be able to take care of such an expensive thing, and kept the mirror for herself. But one day, it was stolen, never to be found again……….
I stare at the tarnished mirror whose cheap plastic diamonds have all fallen. It is an ugly looking thing, yet I marvel at my beauty, through the cracked glass, “Iska haqdar koi phool sa chehra hai, Amavas ka chand nahin” my mother’s words echo in my ears. I giggle just like the excited little girl, who had received the once beautiful mirror ages ago.
“Amavasya”, somebody calls out my name, “I don’t understand why you can’t get rid of that filthy thing; what fascination you have for it is beyond me!” I just laugh at the irony of it all, as I slip the mirror into my beautiful leather bag, and I stand up, ready to set the ramp with fire.