I was born bald.
And I looked cute and innocent. My maternal grandma proclaimed that my fertile pate would sprout
abundant black hair. And she did not fail in her prognosis.
In the first grade , my hair was harnessed in place with two black ribbons tied into ponytails. I hated
the ' bondage' but school dictates had to be followed sacrosanct-ly.
Back in the early seventies, hair spas and parlors hadn't mushroomed nor made their ubiquitous
appearance. And hence my mother 'headed' the tresses department. As the black forest cover grew at
a fervent pace , the monthly trimming was a ritual for her and an ordeal for me. The earlier day's
newspaper was spread on the ground. The ceiling fan was forcibly put off as not to disturb the paper
and the droppings on it. I sat in the center of the black and white print while my mom wielded the
pair of sharp scissors to precisely chop off my hair. I held my breath and sat with my eyes closed .
The five minutes that mom took to discharge her ritual were the longest 300 seconds of my life.
After she had finished her surveying for a proper finish, I got up and brushed off the tiny shards of
hair (yes they pricked my tender skin and my body resembled the surface of the cactus plant) . I
glanced down at 'shredded' strands and was quickly ushered for a bath.
The next day girl-friends teased I resembled a hen shorn of feathers/plumage. How I hated them!!!
I grew taller and so did the length of my hair. The adolescent hormones ravaged my mind and I f
found fault with myself. I loved Ana's silky soft hair and cribbed for not being suitably bestowed .
Anju's short pruned head appealed to me and my mom would not have any of my tastes. I felt
miserable. Jayanti's curly curls at times fascinated me though wasn't envious. I wished the length
and texture of my hair varied and changed with the rays of the Sun. Wish I had a magic wand for
The monthly ritual gave way to occasional trimmings to avoid split ends. My zodiac sign
representing the twins troubled me further. While a part of my mind was happy with long tresses the
other half 'itched' for a short bob-cut. I was strait jacketed by the dual personality just like Jekyll
My braided long hair was strong like the coir rope much to my mom's delight. Roses and Indian
Jasmine flowers adorned my hair. I loved the fragrance.
Time moved on and other vexing things occupied my brains. College grades , the anxiety of my
maiden office job and thrill of the first pay packet kept my focus slightly altered from hairy woes.
Marriage and subsequent motherhood left very little time to fuss about.
The hairdresser at the parlor replaced my mom with scissors. The length of my hair waxed and
waned akin to the moon. With age the texture became a tad coarse.
Half a century and three years on Earth, I have acquired grey streaks interspersed with natural
black hair. Now I understand the ' salt n pepper' concept. The hairline is receding slowly. And as I
face the mirror , I smile and admire the wisdom accumulated in my crowning glory. The ups and
downs, the trials and tribulations have metamorphosed me into a content person.