The hair is the richest ornament of women. ~Martin Luther
Do you remember Rapunzel? I bet most of us do, atleast those of us who were fed with the cleaner, sanitised versions of the Grimm Fairy Tales. Rapunzel is a story about a girl who has been kept trapped in a tower by a witch, and like in all fairy tales, she is ‘obviously’ rescued by a handsome prince. The girl and the prince then marry and live happily ever after. What decidedly marks out Rapunzel are her long and lustrous hair, so long that the prince can climb it up!!
Rapunzel’s multiple and varied usage of her hair are legendary. And often while battling with my hair woes, I have wondered, if only my hair was as versatile as hers, I would have had a better relationship with my hair! Frizzy, wavy and thick, keeping my hair in check is a full-time job in itself. By fate, I happen to be a bengali, and bengali girls are known for their thick, long and black as a coal hair. Regularly oiled, washed and combed, bengali hair has been in equal parts known to have swayed men to give into their lust and attract the evil as well. I remember my maternal grandmother warning me not to leave my open wet hair to dry for long, since it attracts ‘petnis’ or witches. She would then proceed with recounting tales of possessed girls in her village, all due to their negligence in keeping their hair open for long! The veracity of these tales is questionable, but atleast they made for good tales 😛
My maternal grandmother passed away at the age of 75, but I vividly remember that even at such an age, her hair was strong, long, lustrous and black. I am sure she could have given Rapunzel a competition. I could stare at her for hours, as she delicately oiled her hair and plaited them. Not even once in her life did she use a conditioner or the likes to smoothen her hair. And here I was, in my 20s, battling hair loss and broken hair. When I was in school, my hair was so thick that when I washed them, it took half a day for it to dry. But now, it takes maybe 2-3 hours, and every time while washing my hair, seeing all the loose hair which has come out, my heart cries. Often I have tried to deduce the reasons behind the deterioration of my hair. They say you lose on an average 100 hair strands a day, but even my maid can attest to the fact that everyday she has to battle with more than 100 strands of my hair when she is sweeping the house. They also say that dandruff is common, but common for 365 days!! I doubt it.
I have probably sampled most of the shampoo brands in the market. With conditioner, without conditioner, organic brands, ayurvedic brands and even medicated brands. The result however is always the same. My mother would always make newspaper cuttings on tips to have good hair. Some would say conditioner is necessary, some said shampoos are so chemical intensive that natural shampoos like Khadi are better to use. Natural or unnatural, my natural hair was surely suffering from the onslaught of various shampoos and treatments. And every time when ads depicting models with shiny and smooth hair show up, I have wanted to throw their shampoos in their faces or rather the TV screen :/, because clearly they always, mind you, ALWAYS mislead! Add to that my stubborn wavy hair. Trim they said, cut the rough edges they said. All been there and done that, yet my hair remained the same.
Everytime I go to a parlour to get my haircut, I have dreams of me all transformed into this new girl, with a fashionable haircut and hopefully better hair. But each time the hairdresser has the same reasoning, “Ma’am you have wavy hair and a round face, steps or layering will be the best for you.’ Recently I went to the parlour to get a haircut, and not for the last time I heard the same refrain. ‘Layering’ the hairdresser said, I sighed, resigned myself to my stepped up and layered future and gave the go ahead.
A childhood buddy of mine, who happens to be half Japanese has been endowed with lovely, silky black hair. Whenever I meet him, I entreat him to trade it with my hair! He laughs loudly and remarks, “In your dreams!”. The so-called prowess of bengali girl’s hair to entrap men is surely lacking in my hair! And I am sure the ‘petnis’ or the witches find my hair of too poor a quality to make it their home and possess me. Many times I have prayed that perhaps my maternal grandmother’s hair genes passed on to me have not been activated and its only a matter of time. But the few white strands on my head have had me believing perhaps that time has long been past!
If only I could ask Rapunzel personally the secret to her miraculous hair. So here’s to another bad hair day, and with a smile 😀
Images courtesy- Google Images