Inside view Society

Hair, there and everywhere

Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar

Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar   | Photo Credit: sreejith r.kumar

When your hair lets you down...

‘Why does so much hair fall every day?’ I grumbled after I’d finished my early morning routine of depositing fallen hair into the waste basket that had turned into the “hair basket”. ‘Hair today, gone tomorrow.’

‘It’s nature’s way,’ my husband said. ‘Every day, they say at least 100 hairs fall and grow back.’ ‘Is that a rule? I haven’t counted,’ I countered, ‘but I must say that’s happening pretty religiously, and sometimes with interest. Whatever it is, I think nature isn’t playing fair here, the hundred falling every day don’t seem to get replaced. Otherwise, why should hair get thinner?’

‘That’s because you’re tampering with nature,’ nature’s votary perked up, sensing an opportunity to talk on one of his pet themes. He’s lucky to have inherited his father’s thick hair, otherwise his theories would have ended up with the hair in the basket. ‘For one, all the rubbish you apply on your hair. Hair that is visible outside is dead tissue and it’s ridiculous to nourish something that’s dead.’

I protested that it’s the roots that are oiled and they are very much alive, but he had an answer for that. ‘Hair is naturally lubricated. There is no need to add extra manure to it. In fact, all the shampooing, conditioning and the rest of the abuse to your hair are counter-productive. We are born with a certain number of hairs and that number cannot be changed, whatever hair stylists might say. A good soap to wash your hair and a good comb to keep it in place is all that is required.’

That’s what my friend thought too until she had a hair-raising experience when she decided the other day to go in for a new look. Her glamorous head of hair, set at a fashionable salon, turned many envious heads when she made a dramatic entrance at a relative’s wedding, almost stealing the bride’s thunder. Her self-consciousness soon gave way to a warm glow and just as she was beginning to enjoy the appreciative glances, when the wedding ceremony began.

The drone that had been moving lethargically over the guests now came out of its stupor and went into its act with vigour. It began buzzing about, making up for lost time and humming its way to where my friend was seated, hovered directly over her, probably trying to capture an aerial view of the hairdo. To her horror, she felt her beautifully set hair rise of its own accord, as if an electro-magnetic force was at work. Her sister, aghast, yelled, ‘Hold her wig down!’

My friend said she could have died of embarrassment and didn’t know what was worse - to have her hair air-lifted in public or have a sister yell about her wig, in public again, especially when it was her own hair on her head. She’s not going to forgive her sister in a hurry. ‘All you need to regain your natural look is a drone over your head. In a trice, the drone had managed to undo what the hair stylist had taken an hour and a fortune to do. No more styling for me,’ she sighed.

‘That’s the spirit,’ my husband laughed when I narrated this incident. ‘Anyway, your grey-haired friend looks so elegant. There was no need for her to try anything new. The natural look is always the best,’ he continued in his lecture mode. ‘I can’t understand the strange logic of women - straight-haired women want permed or wavy hair while those with curly locks hanker after straight hair.’

It’s the same logic that makes a fat person wish to be thin or a short person tall,’ I interrupted him. ‘There’s no logic here; it’s just human nature, to wish for what you don’t have - the grass is greener on the other side syndrome.’

Hardly giving an ear to my comment, he continued, ‘One must grey gracefully and there’s no sense in going ballistic about balding. Bald is beautiful,’ he ended, tossing his more- salt-than-pepper head. For all his disapproval, I was impressed with his knowledge of hair care.

I remember how very approving he was when he saw a former student of his sporting grey hair. ‘Fashionably grey hair,’ I retorted, for clearly much money, time and effort had gone into keeping it so well-groomed.

And when we saw a bald person we know wearing a crop of grafted hair, he stopped talking about grey hair, baldness and female vanity. The other day, noticing some grey near my temples, he suggested, ‘why don’t you colour it?’

[khyrubutter@yahoo.com]

(A fortnightly column by the city-based writer, academic and author of the Butterfingers series)

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 1:03:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/Hair-there-and-everywhere/article16742459.ece

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