Dhananjay was studying architecture. The handsome, brilliant young man was very popular amongst his age group. The subject of architecture was giving him ample scope to express his creativity. He was performing excellently in his curriculum. Thinking something different from the normal, was his trait that was getting strengthened.
And one day, his creative mind spilled over into his daily routine. He decided to keep long hair. Months passed without having a haircut. When someone checked about this, he would reason out the heavy submission work keeping him away from hair-cutting saloons.
When his hair grew long enough to tie a ponytail, society saw this handsome man sporting a ponytail. Initially, he was the topic of ridicule by his friends. But confident Dhananjay paid no heed to the comments. And slowly Dhananjay was accepted as a person with a ponytail. Apart from his brilliance and his handsome personality, his ponytail became a prominent feature describing Dhananjay.
Days passed into months.
To everyone’s dismay, another man from this group stopped visiting hair cutting saloon. And one more person from the group was seen sporting a ponytail.
Then one more and then one more.
Many young men from the college of Architecture were seen with the ponytail.
Yes. It had become a fashion to keep long hair for the men.
After graduation, these young men joined the professional world. Still, they maintained their fashion and it was widely accepted as keeping up with the new wave.
Dhananjay joined a company and started fetching a fat salary.
Sometime later, Sandhya, a bright young lady in the I.T. profession, joined the same company.
There were many occasions during lunchtime when Dhananjay came across sparkling Sandhya. He liked her. He tried approaching her.
For a long time, the encounters did not extend beyond formal hi & hellos.
Usually, when any young lady he came across, Dhananjay used to have a cautious approach and would refrain from getting closer to her.
But on this occasion, Dhananjay was attracted to Sandhya. He was willing to get closer to her. He was trying all the known tricks to interact with her as much as possible. But Sandhya was keeping herself at a distance from Dhananjay.
That day Dhananjay’s senior officer called him to the cabin.
Dhananjay while entering the cabin, saw Sandhya already sitting there.
Dhananjay had a disturbing thought. ‘Has Sandhya complained to his senior officer against him? Oh my God! But I have not done anything wrong.’
“Take a seat, Dhananjay.” The officer said.
Dhananjay was relieved. He was eager to know what his boss wanted to discuss with him in presence of Sandhya.
“Dhananjay, I believe, you know Miss Sandhya.”
“Yes. Of course.” Dhananjay smiled, his ponytail shaking swiftly.
“See, we have to design an office for an I.T. company. Dhananjay, discussing the requirements of an I.T. set-up use your creativity. You interact with Miss Sandhya and produce a novel design for our client which is an I.T. giant.”
“Ok, Sir. How many storeys?” Dhananjay’s creative mind had already started working.
“I have discussed the client’s requirement with Sandhya. You get all the details from her and start working.
“If you have any difficulty, contact me.
“Ok then. All the best Miss Sandhya and Dhananjay.” Saying this the senior official closed his book indicating Dhananjay & Sandhya to proceed further leaving his cabin.
Dhananjay and Sandhya got up and went to the discussion room.
During the discussion, Sandhya detailed the requirements of an I.T. set-up. Dhananjay’s imagination was running wild. After discussing various ideas, Sandhya was able to present a realistic picture of a progressive I.T. company’s functioning. Incorporating the latest features of communication and project management techniques, they started working on designing the layout of the office.
Dhananjay and Sandhya were meeting regularly and trying to give maximum scope for Dhananjay’s design ideas. Dhananjay was getting involved more and more with Sandhya as the layout of the office was taking a more concrete shape.
Dhananjay was wondering why was it that Sandhya’s emotional responses were not intense enough as much as he expected? He had confirmed from all his friends that Sandhya was not already involved with any else. But still, she was keeping herself emotionally aloof. After every meeting, he was getting disappointed on the emotional front.
The project reached completion.
And the day arrived when the client was presented with the design and the plan.
A thrilling appreciation was received from the customer. As a result,
Dhananjay was congratulated by everyone in the office. A group party was arranged. Dhananjay and Sandhya were felicitated for their achievement.
When at home, Dhananjay was a bit disappointed by Sandhya’s reaction. He was lost in thoughts over why Sandhya was distancing from him. He needed some help in this regard. But how was that possible?
The lunchtime gossips centered around Dhananjay and Sandhya. Dhananjay used to enjoy comments from the group members. Senior members of the group also wished that Dhananjay was paired with Sandhya.
One of the senior members of the group once found Dhananjay working all alone. He approached Dhananjay.
“Dhananjay, very busy with work? Can I disturb you for five minutes?” the senior said.
“Oh my God! If you want to talk to me, I am always available,” saying this Dhananjay set aside his paperwork. “Now, tell me.”
“I consider you as my younger brother. Can I ask you a personal question?”
“Yes. Yes. By all means.”
“Dhananjay, You have done a great job in designing the office for the I.T. organization. The entire office is proud of you. Actually, you both. You and Sandhya. Now, to tell you, our entire group thinks of you both as an ideal pair in real life too. I want to know, do you like Sandhya or not?”
Dhananjay was shocked. He never expected such a private question from the senior. He also realized that his behavior in the group, however objective, must have reflected his liking for Sandhya to other members.
With a soft smile, he looked around and whispered lowly, “ Yes. I like her.”
“But then why don’t you express it to her? Have you ever gifted something to her? Have you ever asked her to dinner?”
“Gifts? No never. I don’t think Sandhya is that cheap who will get impressed by the gifts”
Dhananjay said positively. His ponytail wiggled.
“All girls surely value gifts. But you are a mature man and you know better the person whom you like. So, no comments on that. Then, what is holding you up?”
“I am not holding up.”
“Then, shall I speak to that wonderful girl on this matter?”
“That you decide. I can only say I like her.”
“Thank you, Dhananjay. I will now clarify her ideas about you. I must find out why these two fabulous persons are not getting together,” saying this the senior got up.
“I will talk to you soon.”
Dhananjay was overjoyed to find some unexpected help.
In a happy mood, he pulled out his paperwork and started pouring in his imaginative ideas.
After a couple of days, the senior called Dhananjay to his cabin.
Dhananjay thought he would get to know Sandhya’s ideas about him.
“Dhananjay, Congratulations. The top management is very much pleased with your creativity and they have promoted you as the team leader. You will also get a fat raise in your pay-check.”
Though very happy at the news of a promotion, he was disappointed that he did not hear anything about Sandhya. He rose from the chair.
“Dhananjay, congratulations again.” They shook hands.
With a little disappointment, Dhananjay turned around.
“Dhananjay, tell me what prompted you to sport this ponytail?”
Dhananjay was shocked at this unrelated question.
“Sit down for a few more minutes. I spoke to Sandhya. She also likes you but for your ponytail. She told me she has a hatred for the ponytails sported by men. “
Dhananjay was jolted. He could not hide his disappointment.
“Further, she added ‘with a normal hair-cut, Dhananjay would be unstoppable’. Think over this situation. If you need my opinion, I am available to you.”
Without adding a single word, Dhananjay rushed out of the cabin. He went to his cubicle and opened up the file he was working on. As a true professional, he set aside his emotional turbulence and continued his designing task.
When at home, Dhananjay was lost in thoughts.
‘My ponytail came as a hurdle. Unimaginable!
If she likes me, she must accept me as I am! If she can’t adjust to such an unimportant matter, how is she going to adjust to much more difficult situations in life? No, it does not make any difference to me whether she hates the ponytails sported by men.’ Dhananjay had taken his decision.
The next day, Dhananjay discussed this matter with his close friend Avinash.
“I have a solution. You have a normal haircut now and after marriage, you insist on a ponytail and grow your hair as per your wish,” Avinash suggested.
“What nonsense! That amounts to cheating. No. I will never do such a thing.” Dhananjay was certain on his stand. ‘No conditional acceptance. No bargaining in a relationship.’
Dhananjay spoke to his senior. “Sir, I am not ready for any suggestions. No negotiations while deciding life partnership. Acceptance should be as one is. I don’t want her to change in any way.”
The senior was disheartened.
Sandhya when learnt about Dhananjay’s point of view, thought on the matter more deeply.
‘If for such a trivial thing as hairstyle he can not adjust, how is he going to adjust on more serious matters in life in the future?’
The blooming relationship was shriveled due to a fashion.