When Your Hair Catch Fire!

Last night as I tried to lull myself to sleep after a long day, I played this memory in my mind for the millionth time. This particular memory from my school days holds a special place in my heart. My best friend often brings this up and we end up laughing like absolute idiots every single time. I thought, why not put this dear memory of mine on the blog for you folks to read!

I am talking about the year 2005 when I was in the Tenth grade. As per the rules, I had to tie back my long hair in 2 braids/plaits. I did have one picture of myself all dolled up in school uniform. I tried finding it but now it's just not there where I kept it. Anyway, back to the story.

Our SSC examinations were to begin in March. One fine morning of January, our class teacher Miss L took the entire class to the Science Lab for revision. We were free to pick an experiment. I choose to conduct this small experiment again where we had to heat the alum in a tiny crucible over the spirit lamp until it loses its water of crystallization and turned amorphous. There was nothing fancy about it. It's just that I didn't get it right the first time. Hence given a chance, I chose to do it again.

I was a chatterbox during my school days. I couldn't sit quiet for a second. I would either talk, make faces, make eye expressions or giggle with my bestie all the time! That day my bestie was standing on my right side as I was setting up the apparatus for the experiment. I put the tripod stand in place and the wire gauge on top of it. I placed the crucible containing a crystal of alum over the wire gauge and then set the spirit lamp underneath it. I lighted the lamp as I was talking to a girl standing on the other side of the platform, conducting her experiment. I happened to lean in a bit to hear what she was saying better and I don't know how the end of my right plait got stuck in the wire gauge. The girl I was talking to let out a loud shriek with an expression so horrible that it scared the hell out of me. For a second, I was like WTF? I was looking at her amused at the same time!

The next moment she shouted, Manju your hair are on fire! I backed off involuntary in utter horror and the wire gauge got pulled off from its place, causing the tripod stand to collapse as it hit the spirit lamp. The lamp went rolling along the platform leaking spirit and setting it on fire. A classmate quickly got hold of the lamp and put it off. The crucible shattered into pieces as it hit the cold floor. The lump of alum was nowhere to be seen. As I was witnessing the horror with my frenzied eyes, my bestie was blowing over the fire engulfing the ends of my hair in an attempt to put it off. She finally used her hands and the fire was gone! So much to happen in just 10 seconds!

Everyone had quit what they were doing to gather around and witness my stupidity! Sixty pairs of eyes staring at me at the same time; most of them in shock while the rest in pure disgust. I had never garnered so much attention all my life! Miss L was so shocked and worried that she almost hugged me. I could sense terror in her trembling voice as she asked me if I was okay. My feet were shaking due to the adrenaline rush and my heart was almost in my mouth. But I managed to play it cool like nothing happened. I grinned and said to her "I am alright, don't worry! It's okay!" You know why I did that? Because I had a huge crush on this guy in my class and I didn't want him to think I was some kind of a dork! So much to handle for a 15-year-old me!

Our 10th Std Class Teacher Miss L on the Farewell Party in Feb 2005!
Miss L didn't let me near the apparatus again that day. She didn't let me perform the experiment. We all went back to the classroom after the revision session, where my bestie had to tolerate the weird fume-like smell coming from the charred ends of my hair all day long! She sat on the right side of the desk. She had put the fire off just in time. No wonder, I didn't even lose half the inch of my hair length.

A recent pic of my bestie and me. Sleepyheads!
Later on, we realized that while my hair were caught in the wire gauge, they weren't on fire. Had that girl not let out a horrifying shriek, I wouldn't have backed off violently. My backing off was the reason the fire touched the hair.

We don't know why we find this incident funny. I almost gave my class teacher a heart attack. The look on her face! Oh my! It was shockingly priceless! Not to mention I almost made a fool of myself in front of my crush. I mean, what kind of girl is so reckless that she accidentally sets her hair ablaze?? Bestie never forgets to tease me by saying "Thank God you were wearing a sweater that morning or you know how flimsy our shirts were". The sweater indeed was a lifesaver. Else there would have been a bigger embarrassment.

So, this is all for today! I got university exams from Monday! Wish me luck! 


  1. Omg!! It could have been worse... Thank God for that :)

    All the best for your exams!


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