Goldilocks in Brahmagupta


— Suhail Sherif



It’s a little known fact that “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” is an adaptation of “The Story of the Three Bears”, in which an ugly, old woman enters the house of three bachelor bears when they are not home. The woman is a bad, foul-mouthed woman, probably owing to the fact that the first characteristics of hers that people tend to mention are her old age and unattractive looks. The Goldilocks of our story is neither bad nor foul mouthed, and nothing is said of her age nor her looks. In fact, as far as her body is concerned, Goldilocks’ number one priority right now is hygiene.

Goldilocks has grown a lot since she broke into the bears’ house. She’d been duly punished and had to right an apology letter to the bears before being allowed to use the computer again. She’d remained fascinated by animals since the incident, and eventually decided to pursue a PhD in Biological Sciences. That’s how she ended up here at this moment, having just moved in to Brahmagupta and really needing to take a shower.

“A nice shower is all that’s left to make this day perfect,” Goldilocks says to herself as she undresses in the bathroom. She’d been looking forward to moving so much that she could barely pay attention in any class today. Filled with happiness and the resulting goodwill, she even nearly let her rat escape in the lab before she was reprimanded. Now she’s finally shifted to Brahmagupta and is sweaty, and her only objection to the current state of things is her sweatiness.

She looks at the shiny taps and is miraculously filled with even more happiness and increased expectations of her quality of life in Brahmagupta. “If you gaze long into a shiny tap, a virtual you in a shiny tap gazes back at you,” she thinks, clearly tripping on her euphoria. Dreamily, she stretches out a hand to turn the shower on.

The scorching heat of the stream of water hits her skin and shatters her mental state. She jumps back out of the path of the water with a yelp and exclaims, “This water is too hot!” She reaches around the water and furiously turns the cold water knob. A few seconds later, the stream of water is no longer radiating heat and she cautiously moves a hand into the stream of water.

She feels the icy chill spread from her fingers to her very soul, freezing all the warmth she’d felt throughout the day. “This water is too cold!” She turns both taps off and takes a breather. She feels winded from the sensory overload. A few seconds later, she realizes that her sensory overload is due to her remembering the vivid details of the encounter with the bears. She can simultaneously feel the heat of the first bowl and the coldness of the second bowl of porridge on her tongue. And actually even a third feeling, a beautiful feeling, the taste of porridge heated to the perfect degree.

She stands up straight with new hope and a strengthened resolve, for where there is hot and cold, one must be able to make a perfect combination of the two. She fiddles with the knobs: increase this one, decrease that one, increase that, decrease this. “Too hot, too cold, still too cold, too hot…” The knobs eventually give up and fall off. Goldilocks feels a pain stab at her as she finally accepts that her stay at Brahmagupta might not be the dream she was hoping for. “But isn’t pain the norm when there is clearly no beauty in this world?,” she consoles herself. She wets her towel and gives herself a sponge bath. “Getting caught while stealing is still a better alternative to not having anything at all,” she realizes. With her philosophical thoughts, she dresses up and walks out of the bathroom, looking at the whole world in a new light. She notices things she’d never noticed before. She sees sunlight making golden shapes on the floor, and in any other state of mind, she’d have been happy about the way it matched her hair colour, but now it makes no difference. She hears birds chirping, but birds are just naive, it makes no difference to her. She sees a piece of paper on the bathroom door that says “Please do not use this bathroom, the piping needs to be fixed.” But it’s just a piece of paper…

Many years have passed now since that evening when Goldilocks went on her first expletive loaded rant. She has since read everything that she came across, including the small text in advertisements and End User License Agreements. She’s also been immune to the fallacy of assuming that a perfect solution exists, an immunity that’s helped her a lot in the completion of her PhD. We recount her story today to remind ourselves to always be diligent, to always be reasonable, and most importantly to remind ourselves that taking a shower with a bucket is always a good idea and can save a lot of water.

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