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"You!" I said, a bit louder than necessary.
He raised his eyebrows questioningly. "Shouldn't I be the one showing that reaction?" he asked, a faint smile quirking his lips.
"Yeah whatever." I mumbled as I took my seat and shoved my suitcase inside. I sighed sadly and was just getting ready to call my sister and tell her the news that would certainly make her go crazy with anger when I noticed the guy staring at me.
I stared back at him quite defensively when I saw that same muted smile that was starting to feel pretty annoying on his lips.
"Look, if you are expecting me to fall all over you thanking you for saving my life or something, then you better stop right there. You are not getting any of it" I said. I regretted the very moment I opened my mouth. I sounded like such a mean bitch.
"Okay, wait. I didn't mean that. I meant, thank you for saving my life and all but there is no need to smirk over me like you had nothing better to do than saving girls having bad hair days who is probably going to get whacked by her sister the next day, not to forget the shouting she is gonna get from her mother for nearly missing her train, getting almost killed TWICE and also, talking to a random stranger she doesn't know, well stranger MEANS a person you don't know, and making no sense either. And that is where I should probably shut up" I let out in one breath and fell silent.
The guy who was watching with his eyebrows shooting further and further into his forehead as I made my speech, burst out laughing.
"Shhh...." I whispered, as the person sleeping on the berth above his rolled in his sleep.
"And you don't have to laugh" I told him whispers, "Everyone has bad hair days. Even you..." My eyes strayed over to his head where an impressive crop of jet black hair, silky and slightly ruffled sat which seemed to look upon my hair in the same amused manner he was looking at me.
"Or maybe not..." I finished my sentence.
I forced myself shut again and told myself to do the task of telling my sister instead of rambling like a crazy person when I saw him staring at me again, with the same weird smile on his face.
Okay, now it is very hard not to be conscious when someone is staring at you especially if that someone, I quickly checked him out, was pretty good-looking. And feeling conscious in my present situation of Ms.Tail-bird's-nest-instead-of-hair, was like a suicide mission.
"What?" I said defensively, sounding less fierce than I intended to be. Great. Mr.Good Looking Stranger had begun to take over my reaction mechanism already.
"I was just wondering what made you almost miss your train and almost lose your life. It couldn't possibly be a clip that had to go with the suit you are wearing tomorrow" he said, with the same smile playing in his eyes.
Grudgingly, I allowed a smile too. It was just so hard to stay pissed off around witty guys.
"You wouldn't be interested. And anyway, it is a long story" I said in reply.
"I bet your long story would be interesting because your short whatever-you-had-said just now, was pretty much so" he answered.
Open flirting huh? Two could play that game beta, I thought mentally before launching into my story. I needed a sympathetic ear anyway and well, he had asked for it.
He was a pretty good listener; as I rambled on about my pathetic state that day, he held a very sympathetic look. I took a deep breath after I finished, asking if I could drink water from his bottle as mine was left in the hurry of climbing down the previous train.
"Hmmmm. So no time to make up your hair tomorrow. When are the Ladke-wale coming?" he asked.
"6:05" I said.
"So you won't be able to go home?"
"No because it would be easier to just pick them directly from the station itself. I was assigned the task in the first place because I would happen to be at the station at the same time. Hence all this fuss about being ready when I get down" I explained to him.
"Our train is running late by 20 minutes. Lets take 10 minutes as tolerance limit. So that makes it 30. If all goes well, you would be at VSKP station by 5:30. Even if you take 10 minutes to get to the waiting hall, you would still be left with 20 minutes..." he counted off.
"What am I supposed to do in mere 20 minutes? That will hardly be enough to change! What about my hair" I nearly cried in frustration.
He bent down and took out his roller bag, threw it open (I couldn't help peeking. It seemed to contain a large amount of wrapped boxes), and took out a gift wrapped box from it. He paused for a moment to look at it, then tore off a little card that was stuck on the front and gave it to me.
I took it nonplussed as he said "20 minutes will be plenty if you have THIS".
Realizing that he was giving me a gift he hand wrapped for someone else, (possibly his girlfriend. Good-looking, witty guy who are sympathetic listeners don't roam around single do they?) I backed off.
"No no no. I can't take this. I don't even know you. I mean, it was nice of you to listen to me ranting and all but you don't have to go to such limits." I started gibbering.
"Okay, let's just say that I met a girl in a fix who managed to make such an interesting story out of it and though that girl would probably hate to be a damsel-in-distress, I still would like to give her story a happy ending." He smiled. "My bag happens to be loaded with gifts anyway, one less would make no difference"
I couldn't deny then could I?
Okay, maybe I could, thinking about mysterious strangers passing bombs wrapped in gift paper and charming smiles but let's just say at that moment, I was so desperate with worry over my hair, that getting blown up was more welcome than anything.
Still, taking another tack, I said "Look, mere shampoo-ing wont help (I said guessing what could be inside). My hair, wildly curly and eternally frizzy except when it is under the strict coconut-oil and tight braid policy of my mother is unmanageable generally. The parlor girl nearly cried over the state of my hair. It took hours to get it going. All that's in vain though now. What I am saying is, I don't think it is gonna work." I said sadly.
"Trust me, it will" he said earnestly. "Better sleep now. Else you would be worrying about dark circles next" He smiled wickedly, his eyes glinting and shutting down my worries about sleep ruining my hair further, I slept.
When I woke up the next morning, he was gone. Left behind, on my bag though, was a note.
"As for the clip that was to go with the dress you would be wearing tomorrow, I don't think you will be needing it to stop your hair from cascading down anymore".
I couldn't help smiling.
I rushed to the waiting room as soon as I got down, as Mr Good-looking-I-am-a-bad-hair-day-saver had calculated, it was 5:30 by the time I reached there. Apprehensive, I ripped ope the package he gave and out fell Sunsilk shampoo and a conditioner. Not pausing to think, I washed my hair thoroughly, dressed as fast as I could and finding 10 more minutes to spare, blow dried it using the connection in the waiting hall.
Still apprehensive, I went to the mirror to make out my appearance. To my surprise, my hair looked... nowhere close to the ugly and un-presentable I had imagined. It looked... recharged, brimming with energy. There was a bounce to my curls and it was with absolute pleasure that I combed through it. No tangles, no loose hair. And as the Mr.Mysterious Stranger said there was absolutely no need to restrain those curls from falling down my back.
Rejoiced and recharged, I skipped through the platforms and waited where their train was about to come. My father and few relatives joined me too, exclaiming on what they thought to be my 'new-look'. I bet they all were just relieved to see my hair... well, not look like how my hair usually does.
The train came and out gushed what seemed to be horde of my sister's would be in-laws. I piped in to greet my Jiju when I saw someone peep in from behind his shoulder. My jaw dropped, (for the third time in this story) and I am sure my eyes popped out. I even missed out the introductions in my shock.
I just stopped myself from shouting a "You!" again as I saw him, (you must have guessed by now) Mr Good-looking stranger-who-happened-to-be-my-sister's-in-law smile the same wicked smile at me.
As the long procession of the ladke-wale started to move finally, he ambled behind like me and said a casual "Hello" as if we were meeting for the first time. The amusement in his eyes though, was unrestrained.
"How come you got down before me if this was your stop too?" was the question I asked, instead of the thousand others that were springing in my mind then.
"I got down in the previous station and waited for this train to come along. I guess I just wanted to see your face" he said impishly.
"You are crazy" I voiced.
"So are you!" He retorted grinning.
As we walked together to where the cars where standing to take us to the mandap, I asked him "Which poor relative of mine is going to go gift-less because of my hair disaster and your chivalry?"
In response he reached to his shirt pocket and took out a card which he handed to me. It was the same that he had torn from the packet.
Opening it, I saw my name written neatly.
"So you knew ALL ALONG?" I asked him.
"Not initially. But bad hair day, marriage, sister... It wasn't hard to guess. Bhabhi is always telling your hair stories" He said somberly but his eyes glinted with the mischief I was started to find endearing.
"Oh God! My sister will be the death of me! Dishing out my embarrassing stuff to her in-laws already!" I groaned.
"We are now part of the same family aren't we? And anyway, good hair-day or bad hair-day, you are exactly how Bhabhi said you would be.."
"And that is?" I asked curiously.
He leant it and whispered in my ear "Beautiful and smart".
I swear I blushed then. But whatever Mr. I-am-a-master-at-flirting said, looking presentable even after a terribly eventful train journey to receive my sister's in-laws was a cool enough reason to recharge my hair which thanks to Sunsilk I did. And as for my life? Looking forward to a marriage that was definitely going to be interesting thanks to a Mr. Someone whose name I was yet to know, my life was recharged in delightful ways too!
This post is written for the Sunsilk Recharge your hair, Recharge your life contest on Indiblogger.
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