MOM! Are you wearing a wig?
Satish was driving down to school on a hot summer morning. His eyes were on the road, but his mind was pondering about his schedule for the rest of the day. The radio was playing their all-time favorite oldies special.
Satish suddenly hit the brakes to avoid a pothole, but the car somehow jerked and bumped past it. Mona looked at Satish with lipstick smudged on her face as her husband started laughing.
“You think it’s funny?” fired Mona. “Why are you laughing?” her eyes widened.
Satish hushed down and pressed his lips together, controlling his laughter. “You should see yourself in the mirror,” he chucked.
“Mom, why do you always do your makeup in the car?” asked their ten-year-old daughter most curiously. She was sitting next to her elder brother, Mudit, in the backseat of the car. They were wearing their crisp white uniform, looking neat and tidy, all set for another day at school.
Mona looked over her shoulder and rolled her eyes, “Well, Sneha, it’s because your mother has 101 million things to do before leaving the house,” she said, dabbing away the smudged lipstick.
“You’re like wonder woman mom, except with curly hair,” said Sneha and giggled.
Mona smiled to herself as she added a tinge of kohl to her eyes and a light shade of lipstick to her lips. She cringed her big curls and ruffled her hair. Mona turned the AC up on blast and directed the vent to her face to cool herself down. She let out a huge sigh and gazed out the window.
Mona’s life evolved around her family and work. She lived in a nuclear family with her husband and two kids. She would hit the kitchen at 5 am, cook breakfast, pack the lunchboxes, manage to get ready and leave home at 6:45 sharp to reach school on time. Luckily her kids were old enough to get ready themselves.
Mona was a primary school teacher. She loved the idea of being surrounded by little children. The thought of teaching secondary school students gave her the shudders. She felt they were too wild to handle. Sneha and Mudit studied in the same school where their mother worked.
Mona couldn’t wait for next week as she had planned to visit her elder sister in Bangalore. Her sister, Trisha, was turning 60, and Mona insisted that she must come by and stay for a couple of days. Mona was born and brought up in Bangalore. She tremendously missed her hometown even though she spent so many years of life in Delhi.
She applied for leave from school, and arranged for the evening cook, trained her to prepare meals for her family while she was away.
The week went by quickly. Satish and the kids had come to drop Mona at the airport.
“Be good,” said Mona and hugged her kids tight. “Don’t trouble your father!”
“Yes, Mom, have a lovely trip!” They hugged and said their goodbyes.
Mona was practically walking on air. She couldn’t wait to get away from her daily routine just for a couple of days. She checked in her luggage, and soon enough, she boarded the plane to Bangalore.
Mona’s power nap was interrupted as she heard the announcement that the flight was going to land. She stretched her legs and ran her fingers through her curls. She gathered her things and got ready to deboard the flight.
Trisha had come to pick up her younger sister from the airport. It was a long ride back home from the airport, and she didn’t want Mona to travel by herself.
By the time they reached home, it was rather late. Mona was tired but hadn’t felt so relaxed in a long time. She ate a delicious meal lovingly prepared by Trisha, and they cleared up the kitchen together. They sat down at the kitchen table and gossiped for a bit over a cup of tea and later called it a night.
The next morning Mona was searching through the cabinet for a packet of biscuits. “Morning!” Mona called out from the kitchen when she saw Trisha walk in her nighty.
“Morning, Mona! What are you doing in the kitchen so early?” questioned Trisha.
“I couldn’t sleep. I’m so used to my routine I was up early. So I thought I’ll make you a cup of tea,”
Mona replied. “But I got up at 6 am instead of 5 am. At least something.”
Trisha rolled her eyes and nodded her head in dismay. “What do you want to eat for breakfast?” she asked while sipping her cup of tea.
“I want to eat a crispy masala dosa. Hot- hot!” Mona said excitedly.
“Ok! I’ll get the dosa batter ready.” Trisha chuckled.
“No! I have already sent Raju to go and get us breakfast from the usual restaurant around the corner,” said Mona grinning as she clasped her hands together.
“Raju?” My driver? At 7:30 in the morning,” questioned Trisha looking a bit shocked.
“Yes, I requested him to come half an hour early so we can relax a bit in the morning, ” said Mona. “So, when is Rohit home?”
“Rohit is coming home tonight. He called me and said, Mom, don’t worry, I’m not going to miss your 60th birthday. I was so pleased,” said Trisha delightfully.
“Rohit is a darling. Real mama’s boy!” chuckled Mona. “I’m sure you miss him when he isn’t around.”
“Well, it does get kind of lonely at times,” she added. “But, you need to let the little birdie fly away, right?”
“I was thinking, Ummm! Let’s do something crazy today! See, your hubby dear is also out of town; he is arriving tomorrow morning. Rohit is coming tonight. We have the whole day all to ourselves,” suggested Mona.
Trisha’s eyes widened; she didn’t know how to react. Mona always had a wild side but, little did she know that it wouldn’t wear off after all these years.
“Let’s get a tattoo?” Mona grinned excitedly.
“No! My husband will kill me!” expressed Trisha with a straight face.
“Oh! You’re such a bore,” complained Mona. “You’ve not changed at all since you were a child.”
“Let’s stick to the plan. I need to get my hair done at the parlor, and we can go shopping!”
“Ok! Fine!” mumbled Mona. “Little miss proper!”
“Next time we shall go get a tattoo, Ok!” Trisha said and hugged Mona tight.
“Can we at least go shopping first? You very well know how much I hate spending hours at the parlor,” suggested Mona.
Mona and Trisha had a fun-filled day at the shopping center. They grabbed a noodle bowl and some chicken for lunch and headed to the parlor for Trisha to get a touch up for her hair.
Since Mona didn’t have anything to get done, she made herself comfortable and had a cuppa in the waiting area.
Luckily, Trisha didn’t take up too much time. Soon enough, the two of them were on their way home.
Mona gawked at Trisha’s hair and said, “you’re so lucky you have straight hair. You can style it any way you want.”
“Thanks, Mona, but I love your curls. It brings out your character,” replied Trisha. “You remember in school when you used to sit in class, your friends used to put their sharpener and erasers in your hair, and it used to stay tucked in your hair for a long time.”
“Yes! How can I forget?” Mona giggled. “Not to mention, they used to have a bet. Who’s eraser or sharpener stays the longest, WINS!”
“Yeah! And you would come home and crib about it,” added Trisha.
As they reached home, they quickly organized dinner as Rohit was supposed to arrive shortly. It was not long before Trisha’s husband showed up. He flew in early to give his loving wife a surprise.
The celebration started at midnight; the birthday wishes went on throughout the day, followed by a fun-filled dinner surrounded by close friends and family.
Trisha felt nothing but love and contentment on her special day.
The next couple of days went by like a breeze. And the time had come for Mona to head back to her husband and kids. She did miss them but also enjoyed her time spent with her sister. It was long due.
The sisters bid their goodbyes at the airport and hugged each other tightly before they departed. Mona made it just in time to catch the flight back home to Delhi.
Upon arrival, Mona picked up her luggage and made her way to the exit. Her kids were patiently waiting outside the airport to receive their mother as they missed her tremendously. Sneha spotted her mother walk out of the airport with a trolley that had her luggage placed on it. Mona smiled at her kids and waved as they walked up to her.
“MOM! ARE YOU WEARING A WIG?” Sneha shouted and tugged her mother’s hair.
Mona could feel her cheeks go red. All heads turned to her, frowned, and gave her a weird look.
“What have you done to your hair?” questioned Sneha feeling puzzled. Mudit was quiet. He was the mature one among the two. He preferred to stay calm and watch the drama.
“We’re blocking the way for other people to go! Come on, let’s make a move!” Said Mona, feeling flabbergasted. Mona wished she could bury her head somewhere and quickly exit the premises.
On the way home, Sneha sat with her mother in the backseat, and the driver drove them home.
“How can you be so embarrassing?” questioned her mother. “I thought change is good now and then.”
“What? I was confused. It came as a bit of a shock to me to see your hair like that,” expressed Sneha. “I’ve never seen you with straight hair since the day I was born. Seriously is it a wig?”
Mona sighed. “It’s not a wig, for god’s sake. I just straightened my hair and got it streaked.
“Are you going to go to school like this tomorrow?” Mudit asked from the front looking over his shoulder.
Mona gave him a dirty look.
“Wait till dad sees you,” he giggled.
“Gosh! You kids are terrible!” Mona expressed and started laughing at the whole incident. “I can’t wait to tell your father!”
Satish got the shock of his life when he saw his wife walk through the door. He had just got home in time to welcome Mona. He hugged Mona and kissed her on the cheek. “Expect the unexpected from you!” He chuckled as he had his hands placed on her shoulders. “Is it permanent?” he asked worriedly.
“Do you like it?” Mona asked nervously with butterflies in her stomach.
“I prefer your big boom curly hair!” he carefully said and raised his eyebrows. “That was the reason I married you.”
Mona was speechless but also felt content from within. She was happy the spark didn’t burn out in their relationship.
“Come, let’s eat and talk about your trip. I’m sure you’re tired,” suggested Satish. “And then we can talk about your hair!” He laughed.
The next morning Mona washed her hair. She was back to her huge curls, except they were huge streaked curls now.