WHEN BOLD MEETS BALD   (mini tale)

By Neel Anil Panicker

‘Bald is beautiful’,  Arti gushed as she held her hand out, her lovely high  heel boned face that looked as if it were meant to grace the front covers of celebrity fashion mags, further made charming by the biggest ear to ear smile that one could imagine.

Jaish, clearly taken aback by the sudden volte face by the woman he had been thinking of since  the time the thirty year old had landed in Chennai to lay claim to the Assistant Professor in Linguistic Studies position he had managed to bag at the very prestigious Madras Christian Collge was benumbed into immobility—the six foot tall man’s gym toned feet suddenly felt as it would be unable to bear his solid 85 kilo weight.

The two stood like that, in limbo—she, her eyes, black and alive with expectations boring into his, he, looking more than bemused by the unusual yet welcome turn his life was about to take.

In a bid to extricate himself from the position of  awkwardness he found himself in, Jaish ran deft fingers over his bald as an eagle pate, and stuttered, “I…I am little confused…it’s all a little…”

“You are surprised, right? Even, think this is some kind of a joke, right?”

Jaish looked straight into his inquisitor’s eyes.

Honest, inviting, warm, and truthful—he read them all in her eyes.

As if reading his thoughts, Arti volleyed, beckoning Colgate smile still working its magic, “Tell me Mr Jaish, what is there to be shocked over? Is there any rule book that states that a woman cannot propose? That she cannot take the lead and tell the man she fancies words  express her truest feelings? I told you that I like you, and now I am being more bold and telling you that I am in love with you and that I intend to spend the rest of my life with you, and of course, our children, the two children that we together help bring into this world. Now tell, under which Talibanic law would I be now prosecuted, and pur behind bars for speaking what is in my heart and mind?”

Jaish looked at her, at this beautiful woman who he had known for barely a week, who was a mere colleague at work; but this time there was a twinkle in his eyes.

He opened his mouth, his lips quivered to say something, but all they manage were a feeble, sheepish response, “And all this while I thought bald and beautiful were polar opposites and never meant to unite”.

And for that too Arti had the perfect riposte.

She merely stepped forward, and then, raising herself, planted a long, lingering kiss on his cheeks.

Jaish may not have realised it then, but he would not without much delay arrive at the happy conclusion that he had become the luckiest man on Planet Earth.

#neelanilpanicker #flash #fiction #shortstory

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