I am a strand of hair
I’m young and I don’t care
For all the worrisome words
That my elders share!
I am a strand of hair.

Yes, let’s call this strand of hair Rickie! Rickie is indeed like any other teenager you see around you. He is bindaas, jhampak, rangeela, mast-kalander… give him any sobriquet you are aware of and it will fit. But let me just call him Rickie.

The first time I saw Rickie was when he was loosely doing a combo of rumba-samba and Macarena on Specky’s forehead. Oh! I forgot to tell you that this strand called Rickie is very much a part of the thick population of hair that my wife carries on her head. I know it is difficult to identify just one strand of hair and keep a track of him… well, I like to think of Rickie as a male strand though he has a cellular genetics inherited from a female… but I am able to do it without tagging this free soul. After all, a free-flying strand of hair isn’t some Asian student in an unrecognised university in the US of A! Rickie is a very special strand of hair!!

So as I was telling you, the first time I saw Rickie, he was dancing with wild abandon and singing the lines that you’ve read as you began to read this post. Now Rickie is a rather creative strand and has special abilities that make him sound like a human, speak and converse like a human and even sulk like a human. The day I heard Rickie sing, I went closer to my wife’s forehead to ascertain if she had somehow damaged her vocal chords and said, ‘Hi!’

My wife was in deep sleep and did not hear my endearing Hi! Rickie, however, replied, ‘Hello. I know you well. You write great poetry.’

I had half-turned to go, thinking I was hearing speech even in the dead of silence as many poets are so prone to, when I heard these words, arched my neck as much as I could and saw this trim hair strand waving wildly at me.

I asked, ‘You spoke?’

‘I did.’

‘Who’re you?’ I said, and then corrected myself, ‘I mean what are you?’

‘I am a hair strand, and that’s about it,’ said this clear voice and continued, ‘and my name is Rickie, the Romeo.’

‘Rickie, the Romeo,’ I repeated, quite unnecessarily, but went on, ‘you can speak.’

‘I’m a part of this brilliant head, aren’t I?’ replied Rickie rather saucily, and added, ‘Well, my other brothers and sisters cannot talk to you but they are able to hear and understand everything that goes on in your world. But I am different.’

‘Great,’ I said, and then after a pause, ‘Rickie.’

Rickie then sang his song again just to prove that even in the world of hair strands there could exist poets and those who can turn and twist words.

‘Nice song,’ I said, ‘and what sort of worrisome words do your elders keep repeating that you keep resisting?’

He told me that he continuously bombarded with inane warnings like… ‘Don’t you duck that glob of shampoo now!’ or ‘Jump in and get into the heart of lather.’ Or ‘Stop getting into your coiled position and get washed properly.’ Or ‘Never avoid this shampoo and conditioner ritual, Rickie… or you’ll repent later!’

Well, I could very well understand what torture Rickie was experiencing. Even I was just like him before I got married. Then, I remember, Specky gave me piece of her mind and explained to me the finer nuances of hair care. She added, ‘Good hair can make you attractive to girls like me.’ That was the time when I started revealing a different person inside me. I changed for good… so I asked Rickie, ‘You like girls?’


‘Do they like you as well?’

Quite expectedly there was a long spell of silence and then I saw Rickie coil into a little ball and retract into the depths of Specky’s hair.

That evening I had a rather interesting conversation with my wife. No, she did not look at me as if I were mad… maybe because we were watching some Hollywood flick where a man was actually speaking to animals in their own language! Well, these films do help us a lot in times of extreme need… and specky said, ‘No wonder I experience a lot of tangles in my hair. There must be some sort of an explosion of this Rickie-mindset on my head!’

‘See, I knew you’ll understand. So what is the solution?’

‘I can’t talk to this Rickie fellow as I don’t have your special powers,’ said Specky, ‘but you really need to use all the salesmanship there is within you, to impress upon him that he needs to open himself to some really concerted washes!’

So for the next few days I tried all my selling prowess on Rickie. I used even the tools of incentives on him and promised that I would shoot an entire portfolio of him on my Nikon D5100 and make him famous through my blog. But Rickie was one stubborn hair strand. I couldn’t really get angry and pull him out as he had already told me that there were hundreds of such strands there on Specky’s head and he was the only medium to communicate anything to that vast teeming population of rowdy youngsters in the hairy world!

Specky was getting worried now. She told me almost every day that her hair was getting more and more unmanageable and that she was not able to adopt any of the fancy hairstyles that were getting popular everywhere.

‘What can be done?’ I asked. This was the moment when I happened to notice an ad of TRESemmé. We went further and explored the internet to see if a change in shampoo could do the trick. Well, TRESemmé did emphasise that using it would result in ramp-ready hair. So I decided to use my TRESemmé card on Rickie.

‘I have great news for you, Rickie.’

‘No, I will not get myself shampooed. And all my friends here too will not do what you say.’

‘I’m not asking you to get yourself shampooed,’ I said, ‘but here is a new concept shampoo that claims to have a heavenly fragrance and will prepare you guys and gals for a stint on the ramp!’

I could discern some sort of rustle on Specky’s head. The teenaged hair strands had gone into a huddle and after a while Rickie zipped upwards and spoke, ‘We’ll try it for once. Just once.’

So here I was with a one-time promise. I informed Specky that she needed to go for a hair wash immediately. It is good to wash while the strands are agreeable, so to say… and she did it right then. With the sort of gentleness that wayward strands need, she lovingly lathered each of them with TRESemmé…

I could hear a few ‘Wow! This smells perfect!’ sort of exclamations even despite the swishes and the swooshes of running water. This was one day when I was waiting with bated breath for the outcome.

Once the drying process was done, I went near and suddenly one lovely strand flew up and gave me the nicest hug I’ve ever experienced from any hair strand!

Rickie said, ‘We’ve loved the TRESemmé experience so far. Now we just want to know how you will project us to the world! You know we hated the high sulphate in other shampoos and were sure they would be dangerous for the keratin in us. This one seems so wonderful to our keratin…’

I hurriedly went and fetched my laptop and showed him the TRESemmé web-page with all the different hair-styles there… and let me tell you that since that day I am inundated with a different request every day and Specky naughtily nods her head when I go up to her and whisper, ‘Romeo wants a twisted side bun today!’

I read clearly in her eyes that she is sure that I had made up this entire story of Rickie, the hair strand who recited poetry like a Romeo would anywhere. She, in fact, asked me to ask Rickie to sing some new song now that the tangled and mangled days in the hair-land were over for good now. Did Rickie hear me out? Well, even before I completed my request, he sang out:

I am a strand of hair
Who once did not care
To wash and gleam
And dream the dream
But TRESemmé came
Put us to shame
And now each hair
Has this to share: 

I am a strand of hair
Who once did not care!

So I sang these lines for Specky… and as I did, I could see Rickie rock away in sheer pleasure just like he did earlier… he was just cleaner and neater now but still had a heart that called itself: Romeo!




This post is written for a contest on Indiblogger: TRESemmé Ramp Ready Hair

This post won a prize… Rs 1000/- voucher from Shopper’s Stop…




Arvind Passey
14 May 2013