Among my brother’s many boyhood friends, is one Ramesh whom everybody loves. He is a sweet person with always a smile and a friendly word for everyone.
But there is another reason why he stands out among my brother’s friends.
He has a bald pate!
His head is always clean-shaven.
These days many shave off the hair on their head to make a fashion statement and hide their receding hair-line. But it was an accident that made Ramesh go hairless.
By accident, I really mean an accident, a calamity, a mishap!
Before I narrate the story, let me make it very clear that this absence of hair, suits Ramesh perfectly and we cannot recollect him being otherwise.
It was during their college days that Ramesh and a set of his college friends volunteered to go on a trekking expedition to the Himalayas with a youth group.
All went well for a few days. Then when the group of boys were attempting to trek to a place 7400 feet higher, the accident happened.
A shepherd coming down their path told them that a herd of goats was crossing higher up and the rocks were loose. The boys took shelter under a cliff.
Sure enough, loose rocks came tumbling down. Then everything quietened down. Ramesh and a friend ventured out to check if the coast was clear
Without warning a boulder came rolling down, bounced on the friend’s backpack and hit him squarely on his head.
Ramesh fell down, bleeding and unconscious.
The other young boys stood stunned and helpless for sometime. But they had to pick up courage to do the needful.
It was the quick thinking of the adroit boys that saved Ramesh’s life that day. They wound Ramesh bleeding skull and carried him on a mule to the net camp.
The doctor in the camp down, where there was no electricity and no local anaesthesia, stitched up the four inches long wound on Ramesh’s skull and rang for the helicopter which came a day late and took Ramesh to civilisation.
Ramesh needed hospitalisation, more medical intervention and of course all the prayers that his loved ones could offer, to get him on his feet again.
His shell-shocked parents and relatives prayed to every deity they knew. As is the custom in India, his parents and his relatives took vows in different temples.
And what was the vow?
It was to bring their boy to the temples and shave his hair before the deity and offer it there.
So when Ramesh was back to normal, it began. Temple after temple, month after month, Ramesh was offering his hair in lieu of his well wisher’s vow.
Now this left Ramesh with a clean pate, for days on end. Soon he began to like his new look and he refused to grow back his hair ever again.
Of course this story about the temple offering is what Ramesh tells people who ask him about his bald pate,
But I don’t believe him for a second. I think the stitches on his head itch if he grows his hair back.
When my brother tells this story, he always adds that it could have been him (my brother) with a head injury instead of Ramesh. He had also signed up to go on that trek and he was the leader of the team.
It could have been his inquisitive head that had peeped out to see if the hurtling rocks had subsided.
But he opted out at the last moment, because my wedding was fixed for that week.
Well you never know what fate has in store for you!
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Image courtesy of :farconville at FreeDigitalPhotos.net