This blogpost is contributed by Marilia Magdala, Brazil. Visit her blog Little Lights.
The stories that I read in my childhood have made my imagination fly higher than the magic carpet of Aladdin...
Aladdin, Ali Baba and the 40 thieves, Sindbad the Sailor, 1001 nights and others have provided enthusiasm and inspiration to my life..
These childhood stories always made me dream about the female protagonist. One moment I would be charming Princess Bela , the very next moment, I would be the innocent Snow White. Then I would be the constrained Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella waiting for a prince to come -- a handsome prince, rich and nice, who would save me from all dangers and bring about the happy ending ... "and they lived happy forever".
But of all the female story characters that once marked my childhood dreams, the two that have fascinated and inspired me the most are : Jasmine and Scheherazade.
Jasmine was a rich and beautiful princess. She could have married any wealthy groom chosen by her father and led an easy life; However, Princess Jasmine was ahead of her times. She was courageous. She chose to follow her free will. She chose to explore the world outside her charmed palace. She chose to discover her own choice. And discover she did -- Aladdin.
Aladdin was no prince but a simple lad. He did not have the luxuries of life. He came from a life of suffering, But in his heart, he had greater nobility than had the princes who were born in golden cribs..He was noble, smart, funny, bold, courageous, and a devoted friend. all at the same time - an ideal reward for the courage of Jasmine.
I could spend hours talking about this couple and their stories as they are my favorite.Who can forget Aladdin’s adventure with his fast and faithful monkey Abbu, Who can forget Rajah, the great and sweet tiger who was the intimate friend of Jasmine? Who can forget the fights and the beautiful swords and the music - so strong and intense? And spare a thought towards the story's Oriental charm - "If you had three wishes, what would you ask for?"
Did you ever wonder what the true meaning of this story was? What wealth Aladdin gained after meeting the smart and lovely girl who at the same time was charming and stubborn ??!!
And now finally, let me tell you why I admire Scheherazade. I can go on for pages but I will just give a glimpse of her splendor.
Scheherazade was a beautiful and intelligent girl. She married the vengeful and bitter Shahryār, the Persian King, a man angry and scorned with all womankind. Under his reign, women have little or virtually no choice, opinion or voice in society. But the voice of Scheherazade was to change her fate forever..
Scheherazade is a proof of the intelligence and imagination of women. She choose a marriage which seemed imminent death. But Scheherazade was above death.Scheherazade enchanted Shahryār with exciting and interesting stories which the world came to call as the Arabian Nights - tales full of mystery, surprise, music, danger, adventure, friendship and love. Scheherazade re-inflamed the human emotions in Shahryār and made him believe in the love, happiness and a reason to appreciate life.
Scheherazade is an icon for women still oppressed today,more in some places than the others. The charm of the culture and provinces brought to light by Arabian nights has been dwindled by the constant laments that the war has brought about in Karachi, Kashmir, Kabul, Gaza...When will the thousand and one nights be recreated in Baghdad? When will the sisters of Scheherazade come to life once again? If only we would know......
And finally,I leave with admiration and respect for the many Scheherazades perhaps still unknown to us. The Scheherazades who use their insight, patience, subtlety and persuasion while facing opposition, but who constantly strive to bring about a better tomorrow for everyone.
More than everything, we need to have ability with words, because good words can change everything....
Dedicated to the 3 childhood's friends: Shobhendra, Shalabh and Sanjeev.