Your mane lends you identity, and makes or mars your day

You could write a book on Aamir Khan’s movie hairstyles. Remember Mangal Pandey’s flowing mane, Nikumbh’s (“Taare Zameen Par” TZP) punk Mohawk and “Ghajini”’s mowed-grass-with-injury-channels cut?

Much before the film’s release, the Khan appeared everywhere in his signature hair-do, following which, the fans stormed saloons to be ready for the ‘first-day-first-show’. The kids in “TZP” — 43 in all from New Era School, Panchgani, clamoured for and allegedly got Aamir to give each of them the “master” cut.

Others, too, have discovered the hair-way to stardom — Amitabh Bachchan’s centre-parting, Salman Khan’s “Tere Naam” ‘Radhey’ look, John Abraham’s ‘Kabir’ locks (“Jism”, “Dhoom”) and Vijay’s bird’s nest, all got fans into a frenzy of copying. Priyanka Chopra just went for a short, manageable cut. Ex-super model Tyra Banks appeared in a talk show without weave or wig to reassure her fans that she’s not bald-headed. Michelle Obama’s hair – pinned up or let loose – is masala for a million blog pages. How was it straightened? From Lata Mangeshkar’s double plait to Drew Barrymore’s dip-dyed do, hairstyles and colours are perennial topics for conversation.

Hair — a waste product, really — has left trails in history, literature and tradition too. Remember Draupadi’s famous vow?

And, then the stereotyping — red hair is out-of-control temper and letting hair loose is “out and free”.

Some Indian TV channels insist on straight hair for female anchors — is straight a sign of professionalism? Interestingly, in TV serials and movies, girls’ hair length and style are pointers to their marital status. It bobs from three-inch below shoulder to a 30-inch miracle.

We have a tradition of pampering our hair. Men wore tufts, women had lovely jewellery to deck the head and the heavy, long plait. We knot our hair, wear flowers. Along with job, marriage and health, hair should be reckoned as a stress inducer.

Stressed out?

Hairloss can bring on panic attacks. Remember bad-hair days? They are also your bad mood, bad performance days. “How do I wear my hair today?” is your comb-chewing concern in front of the mirror. “How do I cut it?” is a monumental decision. “I hate my hair,” moans Kavitha, Research Analyst. “Should I go for a boy cut, let it grow a bit, trim the ends, wear it longer...try a few more styles...hey, are you listening?”

Pampering the hair

When pundits predict the hair-care industry is bristling for expansion, you believe it. In our bald-at-30 society, we soak hair in contemporary herbal combos; use technology to boost the hairframe, do hair transplant, weave, patch, or simply air-blow for volume.

Colouring, highlighting and straightening cost us more than our clothes do. A million cutting styles beckon us, from updo to downturn, flip-out to flip-under.

There’s clear realisation what’s on the head is more important than what’s in, at least at first sight. Bald may be sexy / beautiful, but hair is prime packaging. It completes your look, makes a style statement, boosts your confidence.

Which is why it’s surprising some fashion shows don’t give hairstyling the attention it deserves.

Models at a renowned pageant had their hair running down in a careless plait, over an olive-tent coat, over a T-shirt and quilted shorts.

In another repetitive, yawn-friendly show, the only model to get eyeballs and raves was Siddharth. Guess why? He had a gorgeous hairdo!

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