I’ve suffered from premature greying from as long as when I was 14 years old, that is, from when I was in the Eighth Standard.
I do not use the word “suffered” to indicate that I’ve had problems with my hair turning grey.
No Sir. No problems – either physically nor psychologically.
But, a HUGE problem SOCIALLY.
We Indians traditionally have beautiful black hair. Greying of hair is therefore a signal of approaching old age.
This causes quite a flurry of activity amongst middle aged people.
The solution is fast and easy – Dye your hair. The means are many – from professional parlours to small pouches of hair dye which you can apply at home and let it dry off.
To each his own.
This creates a few funny situations. Someone with grey hair, who you saw just yesterday, turns up today with PITCH BLACK hair!
The recent application of dye is evident on the skin of his forehead.
Oh! Blame it on the careless brush strokes of the parlour guy.
At my home, on some Sundays, there is this ritual of dying Dad’s hair. This is a big event!
He sits on a chair with a towel wrapped over his upper body. He has managed to request the services of Mom to do the honours.
With a steady hand, Mom carefully colours Dad’s hair and his moustache!
And I can be found giggling like a school girl!
I don’t know why but there is something so inherently funny with dying one’s hair. Specifically, with dying one’s hair pitch black.
So, in spite of my giggling and jokes, the process is complete.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
Please welcome the rising star of Tollywood! The star with pitch black hair.
Mom stands back to inspect her art, trying hard to suppress a guffaw.
I’m in fits, already! The man now looks younger than his son.
Okay, now back to me. Back to premature greying.
So, when I started having this problem initially, all of my family, extended family, neighbours, the one-eyed cat and the city Mayor came up with one solution – DYE YOUR HAIR!
I was in two minds! Should I or shouldn’t I?
It was then that my brother came up with the best advice he’s ever given to anyone – “Be natural. These things hardly matter. What matters is this!”, he said, pointing to my temple.
(He meant my brain! I’m suprised how on Earth did he know that I had one.)
So, I mustered up all courage and said the unimaginable, “NO! No hair-dying for me”.
Up above in the sky, thunder rolled, at that very instant.
The seas became disturbed. The one eyed cat died suddenly. The city Mayor fell from his chair.
That day I was condemned – to a life of unwanted advice and suggestion. Henceforth, wherever I went, people came to me with their friendly advice!
Here’s the CURTAILED list of advice :
“Apply coconut oil”.
“Apply two tablespoon salt”.
“Try doing headstands on full moon nights”.
“Mix coconut oil with almond oil in the ratio of 2:3, drink some of the mixture and apply the rest on your hair, then immerse your head in a bucket of hot water for an hour”.
What was my personal problem, soon became the personal problem of middle aged aunts from the neighbourhoods.
Advice. Advice. Advice.
Needless to say, I didn’t do anything about my hair.
But oh! The agony of unwanted advice!
Every hair-dresser I go to sees my hair as an opportunity to earn extra bucks my signing me up for hair-dying service.
If I sign up once, they imagine they’ll find a loyal customer in me. Everytime my hair colour wears off, I’ll run to them and they’ll grow richer.
No Sir! My money is hard earned.
I’ll do anything with it but colour my hair.
I guess I’ll have to contend with the most oft repeated conversation of my life everytime I go to a hair-dresser’s :
“Sir! You have grey hair!!!” (says this gravely with signs of mock horror on face)
“Really? Tell me about it!” ( I say, laughing inside).
I always have the last laugh