Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hairy Scare!

Well there are times when I become completely numb with dumbness and do things which no sane person will ever do and this phase strikes me about once in a month (some of my ‘friends’ will insist it’s more frequent)… anyways yesterday was definitely one such day.

To begin with I caught the first bus to the city and then headed to KP, which is almost at the opposite end from my campus: all because, bless me, I wanted a fancy haircut! Well, I did get a haircut, but definitely not what I would describe as “fancy”- it looks more like a crow’s nest than anything else. Anyway, as luck as would have it, it rained heavily since I have come to Pune, and I got drenched to the skin because I didn’t carry a umbrella. So invariably whatever little stylizing was done to my hair, by the time I returned, I looked more like a ragdoll with hair all over the place rather than a smart, sophisticated, cool senior that was the original plan! And of course the fact that it left me 500 bucks poorer adds insult to injury…

But my hair wasn’t the only disaster of the morning. For my KP trip I was saddled with a psycho autowala (I know I have bad luck with autowalas): a sweet, well-meaning old man, who somehow decided on me as his newly adopted daughter. So the 30 minute journey was punctuated with eager questions about my hometown, what I do in Pune, my name (which he liked incidentally) and why I was traveling all the way to KP. Don’t know when I renewed my vow of truth and nothing but the truth, I told him I was going there for a haircut. Next he proceeded to lecture me about the evils of profligacy, about how I was wasting my parents’ precious money, and generally made me crawl in shame, and before long I started apologizing to him (rather than my original dad)…

Once he had made me feel like the Prodigal Daughter, he became kinder and offered to wait for me till I get my hair done and take me back to the city. The return trip was more about his life: his wife who died seven years back, his only son in the Gulf (no, he didn’t look at me as his prospective daughter-in-law, no matter how much my ‘friends’ insist on that) and asked me if I was able to take care of myself, what my father did (there was no point explaining that he headed a company), if he sent me money regularly or was I hard up, because if I was, he was ready to support me. I was touched by his kindness, but also alarmed: did I really look THAT hard pressed (or was it the hair?). I insisted that I still had my parents and friends. He snorted that friends are only fair-weather people and my parents were far away back in Calcutta and reminded me I was all alone here (except of course, now I had him). The conversation got even more ridiculous when he asked me if we could go for a cup of tea and assured me that it will be his treat. I refused as sweetly as I could, and said that I had a class for I which I was getting late. But that fired back, as he now insisted in dropping me back at my college, so that I don’t miss out on my class. I could not possibly show him where I studied and earn myself a stalker, so I lied saying I studied at Pune University. So he drove me inside the University campus, unheeded to my pleadings of dropping me at the gate. Finally as I thankfully paid him (he asked for a surprisingly cheap amount), he patted me, and said with a smile, “I don’t know you, but you are like my daughter. Par kaisi beti hai tu, ek chai bhi nahi pi sakti mere saath”. I smiled my dumb smile, eager to run, but waited behind a shade till he took in another passenger and left. After a few minutes, when I considered it safe to make a move, I started running all the way through the campus, to the main road until I reached the Symbiosis Centre. Drenched, with clothes sticking to me and my hair in a mess, and running in platforms, with furtive glances behind me to make sure my adopted dad wasn’t there, I was quite a sight!

I don’t know what came over him, I don’t know whether he was a sweet, lonely old man with paternal instincts or just another psycho, but I am willing to give him the benefit of doubt. It’s a cynical world, and I am a product of the Groucho Marx school of cynicism, but somehow, I always strike a chord with the most unlikely people, and I still trust them. But stylish hairlady- I sure don’t trust her!!

2 comments:

Shevaita said...

just like ur life, the description is also soo very interesting!! keep it up

Shimonti said...

@ shevaita

handoo I welcome ur maiden comment on my blog. better late than never. thnk u for reading n thnk u for keeping our lives interesting :)