“I’m afraid there’s nothing we can do” said the father, his face grim. His tone matched the look on his face and to his son, Sam, it was enough to bring the whole world crashing down around him. “Please” he pleaded. “Please do something. My life depends on this” he said, the tears threatening to pour down his cheeks any moment. It was to no avail. His father would not budge. “Such things aren’t meant for you and there’s no way we are going to let you do something like this” said his father, now bristling and looking angry. “Don’t you start the waterworks. It’s not going to work with me” he added, a tone of finality having crept into his words.
His house was surrounded by tall green trees and lots of fresh food and he did have his family around him all the time. Whether that was a good thing or a bad thing, he knew not. He only understood what his parents had always tried to instill in him. His parents had always told Sam “you are luckier than most in this world. Many don’t have a roof over their heads, many children like you do not have a proper meal for days together. You should not be having any complaints whatsoever”.
Over a period of time, he had come to believe in what his parents always told him. He knew that poverty was rampant around the world, he knew that children had a very difficult life in many parts of the world. Sam did not have any such problems and he should be happy. But truth be told, within his heart of hearts, he wanted more. He wanted much more than what he had.
Yes – he had a home surrounded by greenery, he had no dearth of fresh food but there was one thing he did not have. It was the one thing he’d always yearned for – ever since he had been very little. It was the one thing he did not have – not yet. But Sam, being Sam, was determined to set this right too.
It had all started with a visit from a stranger. It had been totally unexpected and it had thrown him completely. His parents had been totally perplexed too. They had not been able to make any sense of what had happened and how the stranger had landed in their house but that day had changed a lot of things. Sam had realized that day that there were indeed things he was missing out on. The stranger had, unknowingly, seen to it that these feelings crept in. And they had. Oh ! How he yearned and craved for the things the stranger had introduced him to.
Sam still remembered that first touch – soft, silky, evoking feelings that should never have had any place in his heart, to begin with. But the feel of that first touch had stayed with him and he knew that it would stay with him forever – as long as he lived. His parents would never understand this – they didn’t even try to. “Such things are not for us, such things are not for you” they would say, with that “know-it-all” air that they expected him to concede to, without as much as a murmur. But Sam was made of sterner stuff. He was determined to find a way out.
Every night, when he went to bed, he would look at his treasure. The treasure that he had, without the knowledge of his parents, stored away in a little box. He would run his hands through the silky tresses that she had left behind in his room the day she had visited them. He revelled in their softness, their silky sheen. They felt like the softest of soft down feathers that his pillow was filled with. They smelt of fairy tales and all the nice things that little beings often associate with fairy tales. They reminded him of the princesses in the little books that his mother read to him at bedtime. He treasured those tresses, he cherished the hair clippings that she had left behind in his room when she had stumbled upon their home a few weeks back. She had disappeared when she saw him and his parents. But as she ran away from his home that day, she had looked at him, looked into his eyes and the look in his eyes had found their mark. He knew she would come back someday and until then, he was prepared to wait patiently.
That day, when she had visited them, she had left a legacy behind. A legacy that set in motion things that one would never have expected.
One night, Sam decided that enough was enough. He had to do something about this. He could not just sit around and do nothing. Every time he touched those soft , smooth, silky tresses, he could not help thinking about the time he was losing, doing nothing. He was waiting for things to sort themselves out but he knew that unless he took matters in his own hand, he would never be able to get what he dreamed of, every day, every night.
Sam opened his small bag and took out the bottle. The only image that floated in front of his eyes was that of hair, the silky, golden tresses that had belonged to the girl who had visited them accidentally a few months back. He could think of just one thing - silky golden tresses that were so soft and smooth to the feel, silky golden hair that was so glossy, silky hair that had so much bounce to it that they seemed to have a life of their own.
He looked at his own hair – all bristly, sharp, thick and unruly. He could still hear his father’s voice ringing in his ears when he had said “I’m afraid there’s nothing we can do about this.” He still remembered the sympathetic look on his mother’s face as she shook her head and said “Sam, this is what you were born with. Be happy with what you have. You can’t do much more than that. Get used to your rough hair.”
His hands shook as he looked at the bottle in his hands. The words on the bottle were short and sweet. “DOVE”, the bottle said. There was a silhouette of a bird, spreading its wings and flying in the sky. “Freedom” was what the bottle meant to Sam. The bird on the bottle, flying with its wings spread in carefree abandon, embodied freedom to Sam. That bottle of shampoo meant freedom from the rough, bristly hair that was growing on his head.
His fingers shook a little as he opened the bottle and inhaled the aroma – the very same aroma that still lingered in the tresses that had once belonged to that pretty little girl who had accidentally visited his house. As he walked towards the shower, his bottle of Dove shampoo in hand, he could imagine the soft lather that the shampoo would create on his head, he could almost feel the silky softness that it would leave behind on the hair on his head. He could just imagine how surprised his friend would be when she came back to visit them. He knew for sure that she would come back to visit them because she had also forgotten her laptop in his house. She would definitely come back for that. He wanted his hair to be as smooth and silky as hers, before she came back to visit.
“Let me make sure I know how to use this” said Sam to himself, as he booted the laptop computer that the visitor had left behind. Once the monitor was glowing, inviting him into the vast expanse of the internet, he typed in the words that he had found on the shampoo bottle “Dovehair-aware app”. As he waited for the data to appear on screen, he looked at the pictures of some more people on the screen. Some were golden haired, some brown haired, some whose hair was jet black. Some had beautiful long tresses and some others had short hair. Some were women, some were men. Yet, they all had one thing in common – their hair was lustrous and silky smooth.
A slow smile had spread on Sam’s face as he headed towards the bathroom. “No. I don’t have to live with bristly, rough hair anymore” he thought to himself, his smile growing wider by the second. “Thanks to Goldilocks, I now have my bottle of Dove Shampoo and Conditioner”. “Very soon, I will have the kind of hair I’ve always wanted, I’ve always loved – the kind of hair that my parents said I could never ever have” he thought to himself.
“I’m glad I left those bottles behind when I ran off in a hurry, Sam” said Goldilocks. As sure as Sam had been, Goldilocks had indeed come back to visit and to get her laptop back from Sam. “I love the way my hair is now” said Sam. “I used to have such rough hair before. But you forgot those bottles of shampoo and conditioner that day and that was the end of my hair problems” said Sam.
“Annie !! Annie !!! Wake up – or else you are going to be late for school.” The voice seemed to be coming from far far away. Annie groggily opened her eyes, only to find her mom’s face hovering over. “Come on Annie, wakey wakey time” said Mum as she ran her hand through Annie’s hair. “You need to have a shampoo before you go off to school. Wake up, darling. You really need to have a shampoo Annie, and I don’t want you complaining like you usually do” she said.
“I want to have a shampoo today, Mama” said Annie. “Can I use the bottle of Dove shampoo that keeps your hair soft and silky ?” asked Annie, a glitter of mischief lighting up her eyes. “Mama, can you also use Dove conditioner on my hair today ?” asked Annie, as she bounced off the bed and bounded off to the bathroom.
“Sure thing, darling” said Annie’s mom as she straightened Annie’s bed and put Annie’s books away. As always, Annie had been sketching pictures from books before she fell asleep. “Her favourite book” said Annie’s mum softly, with a smile “She had been sketching pictures from Goldilocks and the three bears yesterday”. The computer in Annie’s room was still on and the screen sprang to life as her mum moved the mouse around. “Dove hair aware app” said the words on the screen. “Thank God for Dove and the Dove hair aware app” thought Mum to herself “no wonder she’s all excited about having a shampoo” thought Mum, as she shut Annie’s computer down. “Dove – here we come” thought Mom with a smile and as she opened the curtains in Annie’s room, sunlight flooded into the room, heralding the start of a new chapter in Annie’s life – one with soft, silky, lustrous hair.
P.S : This is my entry to Indiblogger's Dove Contest.