I followed my wife, albeit dragging my feet, along those annoying winding maze of aisles of the local supermarket chain that is so strategically positioned that you end up watching (or rather passing) every item on sale before you reach the billing counter. Retail Management is a whole new science designed to tap into the customer’s mind - well, with only one entry and exit and no escape routes, you really do not have a chance, do you?
"Try Dove", I said, trying to sound more involved in this monthly chore of grocery shopping.
"Dove? Is it good?” she enquired.
"Of course it's good. It's a popular and elite brand. Plus it's Dove! Duh!”, I said, sounding like a seasoned shopper.
Her mind tried to make sense of all the happenings. The fact that I was asking her to go with Dove sounded strange. But the prospect of trying Dove for the first time after drooling over the umpteen ads jeopardised her chances of pinpointing the cause for my newfound magnanimity.
To confirm that I was not kidding she prodded me again. "You sure? Coz I'm happy with what I use right now."
"But you always complain that your hair looks dead", I volunteered, cautiously insinuating that it was her thoughts and not mine, to avoid any trouble.
And that was her cue. "You are right. Although my dandruff problem looks to be slightly under control, the hair however looks... looks..."
"Lifeless?", I helped.
"Right. Lifeless", she agreed.
"Wait a minute... are you suggesting that my hair actually looks lifeless?" She demanded.
"No baby no... I wasn't. I was... I was just helping you with the right synonym" was all I could muster in my defense.
"No seriously. I mean I can hardly find any difference", I said as a matter-of-factly.
"Oh so now you don’t even notice your wife's hair. Is it?" she shot back.
"Oh common now, you know that’s not what I meant. It’s just that... well... whatever it is baby, you just look fabulous." I said, taking refuge in singing praises of my wife. I knew that this was the "emergency fire exit" out of arguments that always worked. And it did.
"Awww. Thank you baby", she purred.
"I love you honey".
"I love you too sweetiepie". And that seals it.
"So, Dove it is right?" she re-confirmed.
And before I could answer, she continued, "Yes! I got to try this Damage Therapy thingy. It sounds very promising and just what I’m looking for. Moreover with Choti's imminent wedding in a month's time, I want to look my best".
"You will look gor..." I began.
"And you remember the shampoo that I was using last year", she said, cutting me off.
"All their tall claims of stronger and longer hair have not only come to naught but left me with loads of dandruff to deal with", she continued, without giving me a chance to travel back in time.
"Plus, it’s not like we can't afford it", she continued, making her case stronger.
If she could read my mind, she would have heard, "JUST TAKE IT", but instead she managed to hear, "Of course baby. Why would I not buy you something that makes you happy?"
She awww-ed one more time and with that she snuggled close to me, her right hand going round my back to give me half a hug and the left hand dropping two of the biggest bottles of Dove Damage Therapy into the cart.
A month later I was busy tapping away on my laptop sitting on the comfortable bean bag when she came from behind and put her arms around my head and over my chest. As her hair fell over my face, I pick up the cue and tell her, "I just love the smell of your hair. It's so smooth and full of life".
"Acha? Self-praising huh? You know you are the one who suggested Dove."
"Yeah, of course. And aren't you glad I did?" I ask.
"Hmm yes. I will grant you that. One of the best decisions you ever took", she said, her chest burgeoning with pride that her husband finally is getting the nuances of shopping, right.
"Now get up, you bag of bones. I'm getting late for Choti's Mehendi ceremony", she thundered.
As I got up and walked past the dressing table, I caught myself in the mirror. Looking into mirror and running my hand through my hair I thought about all the scheming I did over a month ago, tricking my wife into buying Dove Damage Therapy, for no self-righteous man would ever show preference/inclination in beauty products.
Now sporting an evil grin, I heard myself say "and that was the end of all my hair problems."