A cousin of mine has shaved her head off for a velvety look. The minute I saw her Facebook picture, I thought to myself, “How cool.. I’d like that!” I thought it would be a nice way to grow out the grays, and to check whether, if I had to start all over again, would my hair still come out as curly and stubborn? Or will I have those locks that toss at will? It would also be a great way to stop the cat from getting into my hair (yes, she does) when I am trying to sleep.
The best part is, my mother can no longer say, “Do whatever you want after you are married.” I thought about it, and decided otherwise. It’s taken far too long for me to grow out my curly locks, post my drastic snip over a decade ago. Besides, it also increased my pulling power exponentially, so why would I want to tamper with that? I also realised, that unlike my gorgeous sister, I didn’t have the chiseled looks to carry off a short crop. So more hair worked better for me than more face.
I remember after years of oiling, washing, drying, re-oiling and plaiting, when I finally chopped my tresses in the early 90s and got myself a Fido Dido look (remember him?), my mother wailed, “At least you should have waited till you got married. She sulked for months, years, shed many a silent and sometimes a loud tear. I grunted some more and chopped it off even further, to resemble Sinead O Connor, secretly thinking, “No Muthuswamy or Ramakrishnan will ever marry me now.. good riddens!”
And they didn’t. But eventually, I got tired of my high-maintenance hair cut. Rs 500 for the cut every four weeks, plus products that cost an arm and a leg. Also Raul Miranda moved to New York, and with him, the only hairdresser that went into raptures over my hair and didn’t ask me to thin it (grrrrrr) or straighten it (eeeeks!)
Long is sexy, I decided. Men seemed to agree, and I never had a longer line of suitors as I began to let my hair down. Finally, I picked one, and no prizes for guessing that it wasn’t a Muthuswamy. But finally the prissy aunts who once scoffed at my shaven nape were now all agog and approving of my suitable man and my bridal ‘avatar’.
Looking back, I think the hair was just a metaphor. What had actually happened was that I had fallen in love with myself, all over again!
So now, my heart goes out to my little cousin, who after making a few wrong choices is starting all over again. I don’t know what ripples she has created and the extent of melodrama happening at her house as I speak, but all I can say is, “Go girl, go! I love the look! And I love you for being the ‘me’ that was!”