Olira was angry today. 

She couldn’t get her afternoon snack of honeysuckle. Her mistress, Her Highness, Princess Sannidhee of Panvel screamed in anger. The warrior-slave Rakesh hastened in fear… 

Olira is not an English word.

Hell, it’s not even a word at all! It’s a creation of a very creative, hyperactive and a bubbly child. It’s the name of an orange colored ugly doll, which belongs to my six years old daughter Shree.

Happiness is a chimera at the most of the time. It’s as fleeting as the thought of charity in a miser’s heart. But, during that nanosecond, happiness fills one’s life with a light, which has the brilliance of a thousand suns. Happiness is watching a girl child screaming with laughter. Now, this is not a chimera. Why should it be? Nasty creatures, these chimeras! Ugly as sin and a combination of many animals. Those ancient Greeks were loony! Don’t know why I related them to happiness! Anyway…

I have a Dottie Dotter. It’s indeed an achievement in one’s life. Anyone can have a male child. A breed of idiots, each one of them. I should know. I was a male child myself and have a male child too. All these male kids do is, collect frogs and smash their best friends. Not to mention their ugly and scruffy faces!

Shree was a dream when she was born. The dream became a reality. She is a good business person. When she was three days old, she purchased a slave for a simple glance. I was sold. Professor Sigmund Freud said that a daughter’s first love is her father. In my case, Shree was my first love. In my checkered life, I never had any girlfriends. I simply couldn’t afford them. She was indeed a dream! A dream which I never deserved.

On her first birthday, I was in a doldrum. I had to gift her. We all love gifts. People of Kurdaniya are known to murder for gifts. Where’s Kurdaniya? How the hell I know? Do I look like a geography teacher?

I went to a shop, trying to think about all the girls in my life. Never had any. The uninterested sales girl looked at her manicured nails in a bored way. “Nice nailpaint!”, I babbled nervously. She perked up. “You like it?”

As it happens, I love nailpaint and nail art. I’m an authority on it (I always like to think that.). I started expounding my theories and she was wowed to see a male explaining foundation, strokes, dabs and brushes. When she was sufficiently wowed, I gently whispered the million dollar question.

“Are you married?”

She stopped midtrack in her recital of how she cares for those beauties and looked at me suspiciously. Suddenly she whirled away and a fat matron took her place.

“What do you want?” The dragon enquired. I blithered idiotically. “I want a doll!” Even in my natural stupidity, I found this statement a bit suggestive. I invoked my oratorical talents and constructed a beautiful and sensible sentence. “I mean, I want a beautiful girl doll.”

May be I wasn’t so vocal or may be the dragon was hard of hearing and didn’t hear the word ‘doll’, I found myself again on footpath, sans a doll. What the hell! Always knew women can’t be a good business person.

I smoothed my crumpled collar and went to the next shop, rubbing the back of my head, where some whizzing missile had hit during the last altercation. An old man was presiding the counter.  I looked around. Knowing my luck, there may have been girls lurking around! None. It wasn’t a boutique exactly. It was just ramshackle affair with a strut for a shopkeeper.

How simple is life with men! I just marched in and demanded. “Ek doll dena.”

He counter questiones, “Kitne wala?”

“Saste wala dikhao.”

The result was Chucky, with all its natural ferocity and wicked smile! I shrank back in abhorrence! What kind of a perverted designer thought it fit for a baby girl? As I didn’t want a murder in my house, I requested, “Chicha, thoda achha wala dikhao na!”

Here in India, the quality is measured by price. Achha is definitely costly. He produced the ugliest orange colored female doll I had ever seen in my life! Not that I had much opportunity to see, considering the only females in our home was my mom and a cat and they never had any dolls to my knowledge. The man seemed to be proud of this abomination and asked me like a doting father presenting his child to his friend, “Beautiful, isn’t it? Only 300!”

I looked dubiously at the grumpy face and the button nose of the doll and nodded my head reluctantly, bowing to the superior knowledge. After all, this guy was selling these monstrosities! He should know it. I imagined my one year beauty with this orange colored witch and shuddered. Hell! At least, it will protect her from an evil eye!

No one liked the doll and everyone joined forces in cursing me, including my dog Jackie. The doll was unceremoniously dumped on the loft of my Mazagaon home and forgotten.

When Shree was 4 years old, she was quite a brat- spoiled beyond reason by me. She always knew that she can always get away after doing anything, as long as I was there. She broke my new HTC cellphone, damaged Shanu’s laptop beyond repair and various other things. She was and still is a very stubborn child.

Once she went to Mazagaon and ransacked the loft. She dug out the doll and whooped in happiness, when she realized that it was her first gift. Being the queen of nomenclature, she promptly named it Olira.

Now I served two mistresses. Sannidhee and Olira. I always prefer working at nights as I find myself most productive then. I usually reach home at around 6am, waste two hours doing something or other and then wake Shree. With her eyes closed, she rattles her order: “Papa, please wake Olira. And tell her Shree is calling.”, and, reader… I’m damned if I don’t do exactly that!

I was a brat in my younger days. Being an ugly and incompetent rascal, I never had a ladylove, so always used to make fun of those who were starry-eyed in love. I used to retch mockingly, when my friends used to call their femme fatale ‘Sweetie’,  ‘Dollie’ and other revolting things.

Imagine me standing on our kingsized bed and cajoling an ugly doll, who looks like Chucky’s daughter and might have a knife or two hidden in her apron, “Hey, Olira! Get up. (Shree screams in background: ‘Say, get up my love’.) Get up my love! Look! Shree is up and shining!” I don’t feel any shame. And, then it dawned on me! Love makes one do stupidest things without a care. Love has its own strength to defeat all the scornful idiots. What a fool I was as a young man! And, how unlucky to never have experienced the magic of love when it mattered!

I made fun of people, whom I thought as crazy, just because they talked rot, besotted in love to the people they love! I know, reader, you don’t believe in magic. But, I know it as a self-experienced fact. It’s real. There are two kinds of magic. Female and male. Black and white. Hatred and love. Love is the only white magic in the world.

I looked over my shoulder and said, “My doll, Olira told to slap you. Should I?”

My further monologue was lost in the indignant squeals of a lovely little girl child slapping with her tiny hands and the pretended howl of a middle aged father, toughened and calloused by the wild winds of life. Olira looked at us with her flinty eyes. Years and love have softened the venom in her. Even villainous dolls can be changed with love! Alas! We humans cannot!

The warrior-slave Rakesh found the honeysuckle at the foot of the Black Mountain. He was a boxer and a swordsman. He killed the giant protecting it and brought the prize to his mistress. Princess Sannidhee smiled and tapped the slave on his right shoulder with her jelly stick and proclaimed, “Arise, Sir Rakesh! I dub thee a knight for doing an admirable duty!”

Rakesh got up from his knees and said, “But, Your Highness, I already work nights!”