When I shut my eyes, I can still feel mom’s fingers running through my hair. Soft, warm and ripe with love. Sometimes disentangling the obstinate knots. Sometimes in complex movements sketching braids. Sometimes to sooth. Sometimes like a lullaby without words.
Summer evenings, the sun ebbs low, the dusty Kolkata skyline is a fairy-tale, caressed by a sweet-salt cocktail of the Ganges and the Bay of Bengal. Quietly tipsy. Evocative. She used to make me lemonades in a pink plastic glass with a stripped straw and the terrace was an oil-paint, brilliant like the vermilion in the parting of her long, dark hair.
She hid the night in her curls, while her fingers worked magic, weaving my lush black hair “across, over, under” like poetry with her six year old darling trying hard to memorize. But every evening I’d fall asleep in her lap. She smelt of jasmines. And freshness. And bliss.
Then one day she was gone, leaving behind a mess of diseased shadows that tiptoed amidst her favorite flower pots. I missed the music of her anklets, the feel of our evenings in my hair. Alongwith her touch, the softness had vanished from my tresses. There was that twilit hour I had nothing to fill with except with a certain ache. Resigned to my tiny hands, my hair lost their silken feel. Add to this sudden lack of care, the pollution further damaged them. My hair lay limp on my weak shoulders, split at the ends. Like mutilated, desiccated spiders. They seemed to beg mom’s loving, nourishing care. And I didn’t have the heart to chop them off. And I would shut my eyes tight, force myself to remember how she made those braids. And I gathered up the unsympathetic ends in lurid ribbons. Everytime I ran my fingers through my hair, her absence became all the more searing.
Teenage was lost.
And then Dove Split-end rescue appeared, another bottle in another commercial and like every other bottle I decided to give it a try, hoping that mom’s touch would be back in the shimmering, glossy liquid inside. Hoping those ugly split-ends would be friends again. Heal perfectly. Fingers crossed. Like always.
I was surprised.
My fingers, with years, have learnt the distinct motions, the way they deftly wrap strands upon each other. I love braids. The way they hang on my back, nudging the nape of my neck. The way they remind me of those half-forgotten summer evenings. Dove- it holds the magic of mom’s warm fingers, the way it heals those bristly ends with iridescent love. That old texture of my hair is home again. Now, when I run my fingers through my hair, her absence seems a lie. It is as if she is the one, cafuné-ing. Beautifully tender.
On nights I can’t sleep, steeped in nostalgia, I brush those soft ends against my face. It feels, once more, like a lullaby.
Published for The Dove~ Beautiful Ends to Your Beautiful Braids Contest on Indiblogger.
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Photo courtesy: Google Images.