Anil Bhojwani lay naked under the white sheet. For a second he flinched at the thought of the woman who just saw him without a piece of thread.
He shuddered from the sheer humiliation – “How would she remember me? She clenched her eyes shut for a second the moment she saw me. Am I so ghastly? What would my new bride say on the wedding night?” train of thoughts ran fast.
Yes, it was humiliation, for someone as manly and self-reliant as him. The only solace being, the secret remained. It had to be done – he didn’t have a choice. He closed his eyes and the momentary darkness took him back a few years – the days in engineering college, where it all began; a chapter of love, treachery and despair.
First year used to be common class for all different branches. He hadn’t seen her until second year when the computer science batch started having classes together, Tulika – a girl from Bihar; she was fare like sun, calm as full moon and smiled like a dancing, young fountain.
Surely all the students in the class knew each other – but they didn’t speak to everyone on a regular basis. It wasn’t until third year microwave lab, when Anil first spoke to Tulika. It was just a casual lab discussion, setting up the antenna and recording instruments. Though purely an academic discussion, it was a boon for Anil. He tried to find excuses to speak to her more often.
Time flew – in the beginning of final year Anil’s dad gifted him with a Yamaha motorcycle. Spirited, atop of his confidence, Anil drove to the girls’ hostel to wish a good morning to Tulika, who had just frowned. Anil wasn’t too sure why. After a couple of days more, he decided to confide his deep feelings to his best buddies – Vishal and Ramesh.
Vishal took a few days to find out through his contacts in girls’ hostel. Anil waited eagerly. Finally Vishal came back to himd, “Bhoju! Tulika likes you too, but gets put off by your appearance!”
Anil, who was starting to feel happy as Vishal started, was shocked – “What’s wrong with my appearance? I wear nice clothes, I have a new bike. I get decent marks.”
Vishal shrugged, “That isn’t everything Bhoju. Look at yourself in the mirror – you have hairs like Anil Kapoor, any sensible woman will be put off by it.”
Anil looked at himself for a week. He had never thought about it before – all that hair indeed made him look ugly. Nobody said that in his village. That’s why his father wanted him to go study in the city.
Anil managed to get an appointment with a dermatologist secretly. The doctor looked at him and smiled, “It’s a simple case – I can do it. I can remove all your unwanted hair through electrolysis.”
“All of it – what does that include?”
“Face, neck, legs, underarms and arms, back and shoulders, chest, nipples and abdomen.”
“Yes, and there too!”
Anil swallowed, “You mean?”
“Yes – exactly.” The good doctor smiled.
“How much does it cost?”
“Twenty thousand rupees only – and it’s almost painless procedure. Many men and women do it these days.”
That night was difficult to sleep in anxiety. Final year will soon be over and once it was Tulika would be far away.
Anil sank into deep thought for next couple of days – this was one last resort. Even the idea of selling the bike crossed his mind. Dad would be upset and he never lied at home before. Whenever he closed his eyes, Tulika came and pointed fingers to his hairy chest. Before taking the finally decision, he went to speak to Vishal again.
“Twenty thousand bucks – are you nuts, Bhoju?”
“What else can I do to get twenty thousand?”
“Ah! Don’t you watch tv – you jackass? How do women do it?”
“Women have hair like this?”
“Seriously Bhoju, you really need to grow up. Women have hairs in all kinds of places and they shave as well because they don’t want it.”
“You mean I start shaving myself?”
“Not that idiot – there is a lotion that you get for removing unwanted hair. Get yourself two tubes of those from a local store. Have shower with them thinking it’s some kind of soap. Mark my words – you will be a new man after that, a man from whom Tulika won’t look away.”
Anil followed every words of his advice and to his surprise the hair was gone indeed. He felt fresh and young. He speeded his bike to the girls’ hostel with some flowers. He was indeed a new man.
“Are you ready, Mr Anil?” The nurse’s voice took him back to present.
“Yes, I am.”
“Good! the doctor will see you now.”
Anil nodded and was waiting for the surgical laser treatment. Two days after that phenomenal bath using hair removing lotions, all his body hairs grew back, more intense and thick – so much so – that he wasn’t Anil Kapoor anymore, rather a chimpanzee no less. He didn’t see Tulika after that, he couldn’t. He had nowhere to go with his sad story – not even his family. He had no one to trust.
A few years passed. He hardly took off his shirt in front of anyone else, until now, having his marriage proposals on the wave, he took an appointment for the laser surgery to get rid of his secret, once and for all. The only good thing in the wait of these years was that the technology evolved to make the process almost painless and the chances of those hairs coming back was relatively lower.
This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda. We have to write a post including ‘The only solace being, the secret remained.’ This is a work of fiction – any similarities found would be pure coincidence.