Another year and onto my relentless pursuit of …

hair – perfect hair, that is. In this world of ours, which houses 7 billion humans each with an average of 1,000 hairs per inch over their 120 sq. inches of head, I am talking serious business here. As if this were not enough, the statistical claim of the non-occurrence of two people with the same identical hair elevates my fascination even more. That the human hair comes in all shapes, sizes and colors, does not diminish the occurrence of its total in-existence as well. I forever thank the heavens for not granting my hair a voice lest it would be sharing unbounded stories speaking volumes on its love and loath that would gush faster than water out of a broken fire hose.
It is fair to acknowledge that hair has, over time, evolved into a statement of beauty – which of us of the fairer sex (and perhaps even the other half) does not aspire for a full head of glossy flowing sheaths of hair? I confess to being no exception. My childhood years was threaded with watching the seven gorgeous kids of the movie “Sound of Music” sporting beautiful crowns; reading “Goldilocks” off a glossy comic book that prefaced the tale with an apt title that bespoke of her locks; gasping in horror as the flowing tresses got snipped off of Rapunzel by the evil enchantress; gazing untiringly with eternal fascination of the long haired voluptuous Hindu deities – all the while praying to an invisible Goddess to turn my hair into one similar to her own enviable silky mane. Evidently, I am yet to be bestowed with my long diligent prayer.
Hair was also my foe as I grew up. At my rather secular but strict school, hair was not to be let loose, rather cut very short into a bob or braided and tied up in a loop by your ears into the most unsightly style ever imaginable. There lay my childish conundrum – offer a plea to my parents to cut my hair against my own wishes or remain unfashionable: the latter always trumped, for many inexplicable reasons. However, braiding had its own hassles, and most painful of all, it took time and had me go through immense trauma. Since I did not know how to do it, I relied on my mother who with an unnatural strength that belied her tiny figure would braid the thick unruly mass into sheer discipline with a chock-full of help from copious amounts of hair gel. The never lying mirror beamed back a face with my eyes popping out of sheer tension of the hair braided with not a single hair straying out of its well-oiled nest.
As I journeyed through my teen years and rightfully out of the hold of my mother’s strong hands, it seemed like my hair ruled every one of my actions. My activities, my study schedules, my style for the day, my friends and everything in between seemed to be mandated by how I wanted my hair to look like, which seldom did. If it were a short bob described in the latest Mills and Boon teen novel that I fancied one week, it most likely would be the long straight hair of the new girl who walked into school that I craved several weeks later. Mother Nature never intended to encourage teenagers like me; my hair seemingly could never morph that quickly, adding to the discontent innate in my already impatient personality. So there I was, a teenager with a crown that was either incredibly groomed or was unkempt with unsightly bobby pins struggling to hold the hair in place with all the help they needed from the even more tight hair bands. An unrelenting and undesired headache kept me constant company and did not help in the least in quenching my thirst for beauty.
As I grew out of my teenage years and surprisingly, so did my desire for great hair– my own hair morphing into an unwanted but necessary accessory. The reality of a career, and hence the preceding warranted studies, ejected me out of the vain world of hair. A full two minute process would have me brush and pull up my hair into a ponytail high over my head in hair bands that seemed to be omnipresent – on the dressing table, under the sofa, under a chair and even on the kitchen table, all much to my mother’s constant chagrin. Incessant studies until the wee hours in the morning, accompanied by an ever greasy and unkempt mane that nobody had a chance to view, also became routine. Graduate school propelled me to gleefully progress as a bona fide professional into the world of monetary earnings alias disposable income. My fellow corporate denizens took little time to yank me back into the world of vanity of hairdos and hairstyles – again. I viewed with envy the perfect springy curly locks that framed the faces of my new friends. I plunged into spending a half day at a spa wrapped in little plastic rollers with an aromatic (unpleasant as it were) liquid dripping down to my ears and neck. I got a perm. The lengthy process over, my already dense hair showed off in thousands of curls with a face somewhere hidden in that mass of hair, that took me a while to recognize. I suddenly had an epiphany of the sheer number of hours and equally generous amounts of mousse it would now take to tame the mass of curls to presentable locks of hair. A simple math also alerted me to the fact that at the ambling rate of hair growth, it would now take years for me to grow my own natural hair to my desire and so it did.
The century then turned in all its glory, with glamour clearly favoring sleek straight hair with eye-catching signs of “permanent hair straightening” beckoning me from hair salons. I surrendered my head to the even longer process of getting drenched in chemicals that I uncomfortably noted that even the stylist was to wear a mask so as not breathe in the noxious fumes. After the completed ritual, I looked at my beautiful mane, with long, lustrous, “straight as a pin” tresses of gorgeous dark brown hair. My happiness would be evaporating soon when I realized that the permanence held true only for the treated hair. The new hair that grew out was as natural as me, but sadly looking disconnected from the rest, which hung down as straight as a dry noodle. Patience never being a virtue with me, I finally reluctantly succumbed to the shears to part with the beautiful shiny straight hair, now divorced and lying anxiously on the salon floor.
As I coasted speedily downhill into my 40s, one bright morning I noticed with mortification that knew no depths, the unavoidable and unmistakable of even brighter shiny grey hairs peeking joyfully out of my pate. I convinced myself that this was not something to be bothered about yet and pranced about with little concern for many months after. This was not to last long either, after several receipts of unsolicited suggestions of friends and self-proclaimed hair colorists, first subtly then blatantly especially after one, who even offered to do it herself, warranted my immediate action. The now dire situation dictated my next visit to the salon chair with a serious discussion on tones, colors and a swatch of hair clippings for the perfect match with my personality that promised to disguise all the unsightly grey members of my head. A couple hours later, I stepped into the world with new hair that belied nature. Reality again struck me a few months later that I would need to go through this coloring journey frequently in order to keep the annoying persistent raccoon streaks at bay.
Another year has rolled by. Another year of joys and sorrows. Another year of vicissitudes. Another year of visits to my haven that keeps me on my eternal pursuit of perfect hair. That there is no dearth of hair salons only ratifies my faith in gorgeous crowns from now to eternity. Here is to all yours and my lovely manes – curly, straight, wavy or just natural for many more years ahead.
Happy 2017!

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