The Cinderella Mantle

Post college, a group formed. Odd and bits of people, eventually sieved and shortlisted  into those who have seen you at your worst and stuck on anyways. For me, that group on whatsapp is called Khi love and thanks to the geographical distances that marriages, moves and thirties brought about, it’s pretty much pinging 24/7, as life unrolls on each of our ends and we keep up a stream of talk that can be quite the lifeline on certain days and simply a great read on others.

Recently with new babies having been introduced to the mix and work and elder kids lives having taken on new vistas, we are all juggling newer roles. One or two of us are in the coming up roses phase, where independence and time out is easier while others are at the phase where alone time (even in the bathroom) is a  precious commodity, not to be shared with anyone. So our conversation can be oddly dichotomic, one relaying details of a fun night out with friends while the other complains of the third load of laundry she just put in. A few oohs of delight and awws of support later, we get back to our business of life.

Recently, as A mentioned a long and amazing face massage she had for the third time in as many weeks, M mentioned how she felt like Cinderella. We had this hilarious discussion on how each of us have had this one time when we look at the others lives and think, wow when will we get there, and if we ever will, becuase though the years are short, the days sometimes feel very very long. For us, we are lucky, it becomes a healthy balance of gratitude and aspiration and perspective, with a sprinkling of jealousy which we get out of our systems by yelling “You BITCH” in allcaps.


The Cinderella mantle isn’t a permanent one, of course. Nothing ever is (also one of our mantras). It’s one we share.passing it on from city to city, depending on the life phase, enjoying the humility it brings, and living vicariously through videos and pphotographs of the step sisters enjoying the party they have earned. Sadly this weekend, Charlie and I are  left holding the Cinderella mantle, as the party goes to Dubai. She can be excused because she’s battling labyrinthitis demons of her own but my excuses were the ordinary, baby stuck to me type. So as I log in this morning and see the shiny-happy-we-are-free-and-the-kids-are-far away grins update post dancing and eating away somewhere fun, I actually laughed out loud at the stark difference. I was in my pyjamas and scraped back hair, feeding Zak, helping Lily draw something, while painting and scraping happens in the house while Nadi was getting ready for his Scouts expedition. I have never felt more in character with Cinderella missing the ball.

All I can at this point say is I am grateful for the humour that saves us from envying. I am happy to have friends who will tell you the back story of that shiny happy photo to make you laugh. And most of all I am excited for times ahead when the turn will come to fling the Cinderella cape onto one of their faces once again.

lovely vintagey illustration by Jeannie Harbour Peel did justice to my emotions here




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