Ira was a five year old vivacious, inquisitive and slightly naughty girl. Precocious Ira did not believe in fairies, monsters or demons as she thought them to be a construct of ‘old coward minds’. Blessed with intelligence and good memory, she would always win in memory and puzzle games. She was the apple of her parent’s eyes who took pride in having a smart and loving daughter like her. Her grandmother pampered her with lip smacking goodies like pickles, cookies, cakes and the like.
Even though she never believed the tales told to her by her grandmother, Ira loved watching her grandmother’s expressive eyes and listening to her persuasive voice while narrating stories. She was amazed to see her grandmother put up different acts all at once. If she could talk like the thunder God in one minute then she could also chirp like a bird the next minute. She believed that her grandmother was gifted with different personalities that enabled her to switch identities whenever she wanted to do so.
Of all the stories narrated by her grandmother, Ira’s favourite was ‘The Tooth Fairy and Chocolaty Germs Soldier.’ She admired tooth fairy not because she was gifted with special powers of restoring a stronger and shiny tooth rich with calcium and phosphorous every time a child lost one, but because she was pretty in a peculiar manner. To her utmost astonishment, this fairy lacked traditional fairy demeanour like rosy lips, blossoming peach cheeks, crystal icy blue eyes and most importantly a splendid netted dress. The only thing that the tooth fairy shared with all the other conventional fairies was her remarkable pair of shimmery snowy white wings. She had round, coal black sparkling eyes, cherry red attractive lips which always glowed with a dazzling smile, but had a body shaped like that of a tooth. So whenever Ira wanted to amuse herself, she would stick black and red food particles to her front tooth and imagine it to be a tooth fairy. Her pink tongue, with no resemblance to the wings of the tooth fairy would serve the purpose of its wings. She would tilt her head slightly upwards to preclude the food particles from falling down, with the tongue pushing her tooth from behind and flapping both her hands as if they were a pair of magical wings. That was her tooth fairy, tangible and which she could manoeuvre.
According to her grandmother the tooth fairy lived in the Tooth Fairy Kingdom. It was highly systematic and followed a strict order of hierarchy. There were four ranks- Molar, Pre- molar, Incisors and Canine. They were categorised on the basis of the duties that they performed. Molar assumed the senior most rank because it engaged in the fundamental task of chewing and crushing food particles for easy digestion. Molar tooth fairy had motherly disposition so whenever any child lost his first tooth, she would go to the child, promising him with a healthy, strong tooth, and also calm him in case the loss of a tooth had scared him. Pre molar and Incisor tooth fairies were never assigned any field job, and had to discharge their duties of looking after the welfare of the subjects in the Kingdom. Canine tooth fairy on the other hand was sometimes sent to warn children who hesitated to brush their teeth before sleeping or ate a lot of chocolates. Its slender, light weight body enabled it to fly to the aid of such children quickly, without losing time, and before losing their teeth at the altar of germs.
In contrast to Molar who was tender and compassionate, Canine was pretty strict. She had her own way of dealing with disobedient kids. Whenever a child would not pay heed to her warnings, she would instruct all the other Canine’s in the child’s mouth to bite his tongue once every time he ate his meals till the time he agreed to follow the advice of brushing his teeth before sleeping and eating less chocolate.
The tooth fairies were engaged in a never ending battle with cavities and their ally germs. They valiantly fought germs, protecting teeth from decay, but they also needed equal support and co-operation from children in this imperative task. This age old battle was being fought for just one purpose. It was to invade the Tooth Fairy Kingdom, enslave all the clean fairies and subject them to slow ghastly death, making them redundant.
Ira did not eat chocolates as much as the other kids but she never brushed her teeth before sleeping. She was about to experience the first significant event of her life. She had recently bid farewell to her third tooth from front in the upper row. As per her grandmother’s instructions, she had ceremoniously buried it in their garden, and planted a sapling on top of it to preclude any evil messenger of germs like vulture or eagle from taking it away. It was believed that whenever a tooth disappeared from its burial place, it meant that germs were up to some mischief thus preventing the unproblematic restoration of tooth. Even though she didn’t believe a word of what her grandmother said, she obeyed her out of love and not fear. Grandmother also told her that very soon a tooth fairy would visit her according to the primitive traditional custom.
For two days nothing happened. It isn’t that Ira was expecting something to happen because she knew that it was just another tale for amusement of children. But on the third day something happened. It was a usual night until Ira heard a gentle tapping on her window. She was coiling on her bed, trying to sleep when she heard the noise. First she ignored it thinking it to be the wind, but after persistent tapping for few seconds, she got up from her bed, rubbing her eyes and stood near the window. With her hazy vision, she saw something gleaming outside her window. She was flabbergasted to see that it was nothing else but the tooth fairy. The tooth fairy was exactly the way her grandmother had described except for the fact that it glowed a lot more than she had imagined so that it could be noticed without any hindrance owing to its small size.
Ira opened the window quickly but the tooth fairy did not come in. Ira thought that maybe she has a tight schedule and therefore wants to keep it short. But she had some other plans for Ira. She said, “Come with me.” Ira found herself encircled by white light that made her slowly float in air, and in sometime she found herself flying with the tooth fairy. The tooth fairy introduced herself during flight. Despite Ira’s constant protests about where she was being taken, the tooth fairy kept talking about Tooth Fairy Kingdom and her experience as a tooth fairy.
Suddenly Ira found herself in a dirty place, emanating foul smell. The overbearing stench was so powerful that she started gasping for fresh air. Tooth fairy gave her oxygen enriched mask to help her breathe. As they stood near the entrance, Ira saw something inscribed on the gate. It was written ‘Chocolaty Germs Kingdom.’
Ira was appalled to see the creatures of this Kingdom. They were sickly, grey or black coloured diseased looking creatures with foul smell emanating from them. They had low sunken eyes with extremely dirty body soiled in grime and other detestable things. Even though she was inquisitive by nature, she hesitated to explore this filthy Kingdom. She said, “I fear of getting ill if I go inside and get touched by these creatures.” The tooth fairy replied, “Don’t worry we are invisible to them and you have to come inside because I have to show you something important.”
Ira acquiesced because she felt that if a tooth fairy exists then veracity of its special powers of protecting children must also be true. She followed the tooth fairy, treading carefully on the filthy ground akin to a heap of garbage. Her eyes could see nothing else but dirt. It was unimaginable for her to live in such a place. She was horrified to see them feeding and living on the same garbage.
The tooth fairy was gifted with the special power of reading a child’s thoughts so she knew what Ira was thinking. She said, “All these creatures that you see around you are cavities and germs. They are a certain kind of monsters, not in size but in deed as they eat up an important part of you if you are not careful. I know you don’t believe in monsters. These monsters don’t kill you but they make you weak and sick. Their only purpose is to attack your teeth, cause their decay and establish such kingdoms as you see in front of you in your mouth. After your teeth die, you have problem in eating food. Your body doesn’t get the required nutrients and it becomes weak.” Ira was too shocked to question any further. But something more dreadful was awaiting her.
Tooth fairy led her to a secret chamber where perhaps an important meeting was taking place. It looked like a board meeting of five members with an ugly, filthy creature leading the discussion who was apparently the head of the Kingdom as a badge with ‘Head’ inscribed on it was pinned to its chest. Ira was shell shocked to find two delicious chocolate bars sitting amidst them.
The filthy head creature said, “I am happy to announce the invasion of a young boy’s mouth yesterday. Our soldiers have successfully taken over this new Kingdom. I am impressed with the chocolate bars for discharging their duties efficiently. If all the children in the world are enslaved by their sweetness then our task of spreading our Kingdom and destroying the Tooth Fairy Kingdom would be very easy.” Everybody clapped and looked happy.
One of the chocolate bars rose up from its seat and addressed the members. It said, “We solemnly promise that we will fulfil our duties with utmost care. All the children will definitely cow down to our sweetness because of late we have started emitting more savoury sweetness that is irresistible. It is so sweet that very often children refuse to brush their teeth after eating it. We stick to their teeth, giving us enough time to call the fellow germs and cavity soldiers inside after which we perform our task of slowly corroding the teeth.”
Another board member with a ‘Cavity’ badge pinned to its chest said, “It isn’t only when the kids eat chocolates that we can destroy their teeth. Our men are there inside just waiting for the right opportunity every time a kid doesn’t brush his teeth. We use all the food particles stuck in between for our purpose of decaying them.”
At first Ira could not believe any of this, but the sight of sickening stench around her repulsed her to even imagine the existence of such a thing inside her mouth. The tooth fairy dropped Ira at her house and left after wishing her goodnight and sweet dreams.
Even though Ira felt sleepy and took heavy steps, she did something before sleeping. She went to the bathroom and brushed her teeth. The tooth fairy watched her surreptitiously through the window with a smile perched on her soft lips.