'You know what my mother told me?' asked Manya, showing me her recently broken tooth. I enquired, wanting to know what this little girl seemed so excited about. 'If I put my tooth under my pillow tonight, the 'tooth-fairy' will come and replace it with something exciting ' like money, chocolates, or even a art-kit!' Her eyes twinkled like stars in the night-sky.
Till about six years ago, I used to be just as excited as my little cousin whenever I lost one of my precious, pearl-looking, baby teeth. Many times, I even tried to stay up all night, wanting to meet the 'tooth-fairy', but was told that she would only come if I were sound asleep.
However, it was when I turned 11 years old that I came to find out that the 'tooth-fairy' was actually a 'tale' told, or a 'role' often played by my own mother. This upset me, and forced me to lift my faith off all those 'tales' that once sounded 'non-fiction' to me. I even stopped believing in 'Santa Claus'.
Today, six years later, when I was instructed by my aunt to carry out the task of the 'tooth-fairy', I hesitated. 'I don't believe in all this!' I protested. My aunt did not listen. So, at midnight, I crept into my cousin's room, reached under her pillow, removed her now-rotting tooth (which was wrapped neatly in a piece of tissue paper), replaced it with a purple two-dollar note, and closed the door behind me, as I left her cold and tiny room.
The next morning, I woke-up to cries of laughter and the sounds of music, traveling to my room from the 'family hall'. I jumped out of bed, ran to the scene, and got pulled into the celebrations.
'I received two-dollars from the 'tooth-fair' last night! I'm so happy! I can't wait for my next tooth to break!' shouted my cousin. That was when it suddenly struck me.
Losing baby teeth were a part and parcel of one's life ' a symbol of 'growing up', and it is the 'tooth-fairy' that makes this otherwise dreaded and painful process an exciting one ' something to look forward to. That is when I felt proud of myself for being part of the whole process, for bringing joy to this eight-year-old child, and for being privileged enough to play the role of the 'tooth-fairy', even though it was just for one night. Now, I just could not wait for the next time ' just like my little cousin!
I closed my eyes and thanked my mother for having kept this tradition alive, and I promised to keep it going too.