CHAPTER I: PROLOGUE
This is the story of Snow White and Seven Dwarfs for you and your friends. The things narrated in the story happened long long ago in a far away land. To make it interesting and just for the fun of it, let’s imagine the things happened in our country and not so long long ago.
CHAPTER II: LAKSHMI BAI
Once upon a time, there was a God fearing woman, named Lakshmi bai. After the death of her husband, she had been head of her family. Her late husband’s brothers had taken care of the family business but always took her advice on important matters. At home she was like the queen. She decided everything. Their family was the most respected family in the small town of Bharatpur. Lakshmi bai was very proud of her family’s status and she controlled everyone in the family to maintain it.
As I told you before she was a God fearing woman because she believed God was an angry person. She would never do anything to make her God angry, especially having a girl child in the family. She knew this very well because during her childhood, her grand mother had never missed a chance to remind her how her birth had brought bad luck and wrath of God to their family.
The family of Lakshmi’s husband never had a daughter since a long time. Her friends and relatives considered her extremely lucky and envied her. Because Lakshmi’s friends and relatives also believed in the same angry God who becomes angrier if there’s a girl in the family.
But beyond the friends and family in the darkness there were whispers and murmurs. Simple folks in the night used to whisper among themselves.
“You know Lakshmi bai is a witch.”
“Yes I know she scares away spirits of little girls.”
“I have heard she sacrifices little girls.”
“We better stop talking about her or next she will sacrifice us.”
However, the truth was known only to two people. Lakshmi bai herself and Madna, her trusted midwife of 30 years; the “truth”, whispered in Lakshmi bai’s ear by her husband’s late mother.
Last year Madna passed away and Lakshmi bai had yet to find another trusted midwife. She was in a hurry to find one because wife of her only son was going to be a mother soon.
Finally she found an efficient midwife, Mangla. She was widowed at young age. Childless Mangla was very fond of children.
It was a long standing tradition of Lakshmi bai’s family to pray at a temple in the neighbouring village for a baby boy, before every delivery. Following the tradition as the delivery day approaches, the whole family with the domestic staffs left for neighbouring village, leaving behind only Lakshmi bai, the mother to be and the midwife Mangla.
CHAPTER III: BIRTH OF SNOW WHITE
Two days after the family left, Mangala efficiently managed to deliver a healthy baby, but after seeing the baby she was stunned. She couldn’t move for few minutes because it was a girl.
“How can it be? A girl in Lakshmi bai’s family!”
After getting round she ran to her mistress and announced the shocking news. Mangla’s mistress replied in an emotionless voice “you know what to be done”.
It was as if ground was pulled under Mangla’s feet she had heard about this from some elderly midwives. She cried and begged again and again to be spared but the same emotionless voice threatened her. Mangla saw the menace in those eyes and froze with scare. Lakshmi said “it’s up to you use handful of salt or pillow to finish the job”.
Mangla went back to the delivery room the mother was still unconscious and the child was crying. She had a peek at the girl, she was fair almost as fair as snow would be. She had never seen snow in her life but had heard about it from her friends who lived in mountains. She didn’t have the heart, yet she was scared for her own life.
She went back to Lakshmi and said “I am taking her to the river”. She ran towards river still muddled in her head. After running for a while she saw a circus camp in the big field near the river. The troupe was packing to leave the next morning. She wrapped the baby in a cloth and put her in an open trunk lying around. She prayed for the little girl for a minute and then went back.
Lakshmi bai’s family, when came back, were informed there was a stillbirth. After few days Mangla suddenly fell sick so she had to leave Lakshmi bai’s employment. Her neighbours were surprised to hear this piece of news because the next day they saw, perfectly fit Mangla looking for a job as a cook.
CHAPTER IV: SNOW WHITE MET THE SEVEN DWARFS
In those days, circus used to be very popular. Like any other circus troupe, the circus troupe in Bharatpur too had ring master, animals, acrobats and above all clowns. This circus company was famous for its clowns. The company had many clowns but the limelight was on seven particular clowns who were little people or dwarfs as they were called back in those days.
These seven dwarfs always performed together on stage. They were inseparable off-stage too. No one knew their real names. Everyone knew them by their stage names; which were Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy and Sneezy. The names were given by the Ring Master. Once when the Ring Master was in a big city, he had a chance to watch a movie called ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’. He loved the movie so much that he named his most famous seven clowns after the seven dwarfs from the movie.
After two months of successful run in Bharatpur the circus packed up to leave for another city. While packing their stuffs the circus people heard some faint cries, presuming it to be some kitten they did not bother about it. They left for their next destination which was journey of a day and a half. After half day’s journey they stopped at a place and started cooking for the whole troupe.
The clown Sneezy opened his trunk to get a towel from his trunk and what did he see! A baby who was as white as snow (he had seen snow during their shows in a city in the mountains) and lips red like blood. She was sleeping peacefully. At heart a softie, he immediately fell in love with the small angel. He called his six friends and showed them the beautiful baby. They could guess someone had abandoned the baby because accidentally babies don’t end up in clowns’ trunks.
They talked to others in their troupe and they concurred too. Hence everyone decided they would not look for her real parents and would keep the baby with themselves. The elderly women started feeding her and she took it immediately.
Since she was fair like snow, the troupe started calling her Snow white. She became a child of the circus. Everyone loved her but she was specially attached to the seven dwarfs. She called each of them ‘papa’. And the seven clowns loved their daughter more than anything in the world. She grew as a happy child.
Her papas wanted her to go to school like other kids but that couldn’t happen. Because, they had to move from one city to another with the troupe. However, Snow white was a keen observer and a first learner. So she started learning informally from each member of the troupe. It included alphabets, numbers, taming of tiger, knife throwing, acrobat and so on.
The circus was her family. With her family she also prayed to a God. But unlike Lakshmi bai’s God, this God was not an angry God. Snow white believed in a loving God.
CHAPTER V: SNOW WHITE’S MOM
You must be wondering what had happened to Snow white’s real mother. In case I didn’t tell you her name before, it was Saraswati. Lakshmi bai and Mangla had thought she was unconscious throughout and had never seen her daughter. But in reality, she was conscious for some time and had a peek at her baby. She was silent always in fear. Later she had two boys but she used to think about her daughter often with sadness.
Like this time flied and 18 years passed.
CHAPTER VI: BACK IN BHARATPUR
The circus troupe was back in Bharatpur once again for shows. Things had changed by then. Circuses were no more popular. The number of their troupe had dwindled too. They were getting little money. There was not much demand for their shows. They did not want to come back to this city but apparently there were still some demand for circus in Bharatpur. With short supply of money what option they had. Anyway they felt there was only a slim chance of Snow white ever finding out her reality.
Mangla was an old woman by now. She had left midwife’s work 18 years ago, since then she had been cooking for other people. One year back her sister had died leaving behind a small house for Mangla. Since then she had started a mess for working people at her home.
Lakshmi bai’s family was still rich but now there were other neo rich people around who were richer and more influential. In last 18 years, worlds of Mangla and Lakshmi had not crossed even for once.
CHAPTER VII: A RAID
On the third day of the circus show at Bharatpur, the animal activists started protesting on the venue. They complained about an illegally captive elephant in the circus camp. The elephant had been in the circus since last 40 years and not being aware about life outside circus, the circus people did not know keeping an elephant required legal formalities. The protest went on for couple of days. Then on their demand police raided the circus camp. When police raided, all circus people got scared and fled the tent taking with them whatever they could.
Snow white and seven dwarfs ran away together. After running for some time they stopped sensing there was no danger any more. They were relieved to be out of danger but at the same time they came to the realisation; they didn’t have anything else other than small change on them and they had nowhere to go. Clueless they just sat under a big tree.
CHAPTER VIII: A NEW FRIEND
And at that time Mangla was coming back from an errand, taking the road near the tree. Her attention was grabbed by the odd group and then she could hear them talking about their woes. Ever eager to help others, Mangla went and talked to them. Hearing their whole story, she offered them to stay with her in her tiny place till they can afford another place.
They were very happy and couldn’t thank Mangla enough. They got settled and immediately started looking for work. In spite of their small size, the dwarfs were hard working and eager to learn new tricks so in a few days all seven of them got jobs. Snow White started helping Mangla in her mess, two extra hands in the kitchen were very helpful with increasing costumers.
Mangla became very fond of snow white. She always wondered how the girl ended up with the little people. Once at late night while snow white was asleep, the seven dwarfs were sitting in the courtyard with Mangla lying on a cot. They were chatting in general, so Mangla asked them about snow white. The dwarfs had started to trust her so much they told her the real story; how eighteen years back they had got her in the same city.
Mangla felt numb. Since that eventful night eighteen years back she had not a single night of good sleep thinking about the little girl. And she decided it was high time for her to get sound sleep. She hoped Lakshmi bai might have been repentant of her deeds too.
CHAPTER IX: TWO MEETINGS
Next day she went to Lakshmi bai’s Bungalow and demanded to meet her. First she was not permitted inside but she told them “I am Mangla, old midwife of this family. I want to meet Malkin (mistress) urgently. I will wait here, till she comes out to meet me”. Hearing this piece of information Lakshmi bai immediately agreed to meet her because she had been always suspicious of the way Mangla had left her job so suddenly. She asked her gatekeeper to bring Mangla to their backroom.
So Mangla had a meeting with her old mistress after 18 years. She told her everything. However, she could feel Lakshmi bai was not really looking repentant nor showed any emotions hearing about a grand daughter. So Mangla demanded justice for snow white.
Lakshmi bai got lost in thought for some time. Then she finally she spoke.
“Yes, I will bring her home. But first let me prepare my family. I have a pooja at home tomorrow, will you come for it? Then both of us together can tell my family whole thing. Then we will go and bring her home. In the mean time don’t tell anything to Snow white and seven dwarfs because don’t want them to know about everything before my family gets to know about it.”
Mangla was quite happy with the outcome and thanked her old mistress doing a big namaste. Holding her Lakshmi bai said “actually I am thankful to you”. Both their eyes met and then went to the window for a split of second to the hedge swaying softly in wind. Mangla then took leave full with happy anticipation.
Next day after the seven dwarves left for work, Mangla started for Lakshmi bai’s place but after reaching there she got to know there was no pooja and Lakshmi bai was out. She got confused and waited for a while. From her balcony Saraswati saw her. You remember swaying of hedge when Mangla and Lakshmi bai were talking, actually it was Saraswati hidden near the backroom.
The day before, Saraswati had overheard all the going ons between Lakshmi bai and her gatekeeper. She had the immediate feeling this had something to do with her daughter. Then she hid herself near the hedge and heard the whole conversation between Mangla and Lakshmi bai. she was happy beyond word but instead of coming out immediately she wanted to give her mother-in-law a chance to amend herself. But she did know about any pooja so had a small nag in her mind.
Seeing Mangla waiting, she went to meet her. This second meeting of Mangla in 2 days began with a tight hug. Saraswati first hugged her and said thanks again and again to save her daughter’s life. Then she told her how she had overheard everything. Both of them talked for sometime, which mainly involved Saraswati asking thousands of questions about her daughter. After a while, still Lakshmi bai was missing and there was no sign of a pooja; hence both of them got very suspicious and decided to go back to Mangla’s place
CHAPTER X: THE POISONED MANGO
From the moment Lakshmi bai heard about Snow white, an idea shaped up in her mind. She knew if everyone got to know about her little secret, she would be in serious trouble. She invited Mangla to her place to keep her away from Snow white. From Mangla, she got to know Snow white would be alone at that time.
On that day she went to Mangla’s place carrying a basket of mangoes and covering her face with a long veil. Among those mangoes, one was injected with something lethal. She found Mangla’s house easily.
Snow white was preparing lunch and was really worried where had Mangla disappeared without telling anyone. Then she heard a knock at the door. Opening the door she saw a woman with long veil was standing near the door. She couldn’t see the face. She thought veiled woman to be Mangla’s friend so wanted to be nice to the stranger.
“Have you come to meet Mangla Mausi? She has gone out. You can wait for her here.”
“Oh no, I am in a hurry, can’t wait. She loves mangoes from my tree. I had got a basket for her. I will just leave it with you. They are very juicy. Why don’t you taste one?”
“No no, I can’t”.
“Arrey, take one”.
Like this Lakshmi bai persuaded Snow white to take a bite of the poisoned mango. As soon as she took a bite she fell forward. Lakshmi bai wanted to ensure her job was done but she could hear voices outside so rushed from back door.
Mangla and Saraswati saw the door was ajar, calling out for Snow white they entered and saw her huddled on the floor. Knowing the history of Lakshmi bai they could guess what had happened. They summoned the seven dwarves from their work and together they took her to the hospital.
Thankfully Snow white had taken just one tiny bite. The doctor immediately worked on cleaning her stomach. Not wanting to be in any kind of trouble, they told the doctor she accidentally had eaten a rotten mango.
While Snow white was inside the emergency room, Mangla and Saraswati told everything to the seven dwarfs starting with their adopted daughter’s birth. All of them cried together and then prayed together for Snow white.
After almost one hour the doctor came out and told them “she is fine now. You can meet her. But don’t talk to her for long, let her take rest. After seeing her please meet me. I need to talk to you.”
CHAPTER XI : NEW LIFE FOR EVERY ONE
After opening her eyes in the hospital, Snow white saw a face not unlike her loving God. After that the hospital room witnessed few tears, more smiles and even more hugs. Then Snow white slept with her mother watching over for the first time in her life.
Meanwhile Mangla and the dwarfs were with the doctor. He asked them very tactfully if Snow white had attempted a suicide. They were aghast at his insinuation and then told him the truth.
Listening to everything patiently the doctor said “Snow white should be fine in a day. After that I suggest you meet my father. He is a lawyer, he can guide you.”
In the room, after being sure about Snow white’s sound sleep, Saraswati kissed her on the forehead and started for her home. The Saraswati who came home was no more the subdued Saraswati, it was a new fearless Saraswati with determination and mission.
She straight went to her husband and told him everything. Husband was not stupid, he had his suspicions about everything happening around him; yet he was always scared of his mother. He couldn’t take a decision to go up against her. Saraswati told her husband “if you are not human enough to do the right thing, that is your prerogative. I am now going to be with my daughter.”
Then she called her sons and told them they have an elder sister who needed her mother more than the two boys so she would be away for some time. Then she told them “I love both of you. I hope one day when you grow up, you will understand what I am doing and why I am doing it.”
CHAPTER XII : WRAPPING UP
The next day all of them went to the lawyer’s place. He was very nice to them. But listening to everything he said there’s very little hope for their case. Because there was no solid proof. Snow white had never seen Lakshmi Bai’s face. In those days DNA testing was not that easily and readily available. He advised them not to go to court wasting their hard earned money. Then for future, they had a detailed discussion about how Lakshmi Bai would be stopped from attacking snow white any more.
When Saraswati’s sons got to know about the full story they wanted to join their mother. Their guilty ridden father finally gave up and left his mother’s place. He took up a small job and started living with his wife and boys in a small rented place. Although snow white still lived with the seven dwarfs she had two families and mangla mausi now.
After Lakshmi Bai’s son left her; itching for freedom her extended family got separated from her with a legal division of wealth. After the separation, Lakshmi Bai was still a wealthy and influential woman with high status in Bharatpur but she was also the loneliest woman in Bharatpur with no one to love her.
Snow white was very impressed with the lawyer. She started studying and took her high school certificate examination, since she was very bright she cleared it easily. After finishing college she joined law school to become a lawyer.
CHAPTER XIII : EPILOGUE
What? You don’t think this is a fairy tale ending? You expected the story to end with Snow white getting married to her prince charming? But this is a fairy tale ending too. Snow white lived happily ever after. She became a lawyer worked for people and with the money she got she could lead a comfortable and happy life with people whom she loved. From the story we don’t know in future she got her prince charming or not but one thing is sure she would be happy irrespective of it.