When I last cut my hair nearly a month ago, I’d put up the pics of half bald mane saying it was the first step to becoming bald. It was basically to prepare my father for the eventual truth, that his daughter would finally fulfil her long-held desire. Mother is a rock star, who may raise her eye-brows and yet say, ‘do what you want, it is only hair.” Yes, I was mentally gripped by a hungry desire to go bald.
As an old college friend wrote, this was an “inevitable phase.” This was a desire held since my school days, re-iterated in college, all which had angered my father then. Since I’d always been a rebel, it was no surprise that my views were always considered out of ordinary, blasphemous and most often unacceptable to family members. I’d openly declare my intentions, because i believe I’ve NOTHING to hide & I am what I am. This would lead to acrimonious exchanges in the household, I’d have my share of grief and learnt along the way, everything had a time. I have always like women who broke rules, (yes I’m openly biased about women) & was fascinated by feminist singers, writers & actors. So while I knew going bald would be nearly impossible, almost all my life I went in for a short, crop look & got stylists who gave me many a bold cut.
Being in mainstream media in India has its own share of conservatism. And like always I’d once shared with my dear friend CD my intention to go bald. When we shared our thoughts especially about the severe opposition I’d face (oh! Well, KM threw a tantrum when he heard it & in fact told CD to deposit me to US) he had said he’d also go bald in support and accompany home, so that I won’t have to face my father’s ire. …though he cautioned, everything has time and I should wait for a while.
‘Wait a while’ turned out to be a few decades. Meanwhile, KM & CD passed away, the jobs I took were emotionally and physically stressful, think instead of shedding hair, they only made them few shades grey. In the meantime another female friend went bald, which renewed my long time desire. When I’d seen the last hair style on Mayuri’s FB page, when I told her I wanted that style, (she’s a professional stylist based in London), she told me on mail that I should consider going bald, as it’ll make me look sexy. I’m NOT bragging, but I knew secretly she was telling the truth.
This week I was determined to go bald. In fact I was gripped by an urge to go bald & had I not got the appointment for Thursday, I would’ve shaven my hair like Britney Spears. I chewed Mayank, the hair stylist’s brains, pushing him to give me an appointment immediately. He asked me to wait for 2 days which was enough time for me to prepare some people in my life. Parents were cool, father rather calm than I thought, but now I think he’s realised it is best to play ‘good cop’ with this daughter. And as I expected, except for one dear friend, most were cool.
It sure was killing on The day, (Thursday) Nov1. The previous night I was unable to sleep. I’ve battled insomnia for half my professional life, but this decision had excited me, I also was mentally processing all the conversations, preparations. Since last 10 years, it has been my exercise to sleep over things and not get stressed about people or issues, but this somehow, although is just shaving one’s own hair, seemed very daunting. The next day was the global release for Sky Fall and thought it was the best way to keep myself occupied. What a flop it was at Sterling, as the shows were cancelled due to technical snag. I met my partner at Starbucks along with her friends & had diverted my thoughts for a while, but i was simply wanting to get over the wait.
Finally Mayank my hair stylist & a v good one, ensured I became bald. I was dying to get over with it….when he was cutting I was excited. With every step, first he cut with the scissors, then used the clipper machine…which was painful & ticklish. The noise was unnerving me because I wanted to get bald fast and it moved at millimetre pace. In fact at one point I resembled Cyndi Lauper and actually thought that punk look rocked! However, it would have seemed rather outlandish at my age…honestly…also I’d have to streak it with wild colours and I have NO patience whatsoever with colours, maintenance, too time-consuming these chores are. Mayank put foam & a strong cold rushed through my veins, cooling me down instantly. So, although I was not wanting the clean-slate, white look, I went in for it. Mayank said it would take 4 days for the colour to change, believe me I should’ve placed a bet & I’d have won it hands down! In 48 hours the black hair is noticeable!!
I strongly believe that one’s down times tell you who are one’s true friends, but the bolder times tell you who will stick by you….i am NOT shocked by any reaction now. I wanted to feel what it is to be bald, how hot or cold the head feels, wanted to live and breathe being bald….to feel free, without any attachment, like even hair…I’ve no words to describe the feeling – LIBERATED. I was smiling (as usual), but I was relieved. I was truly happy with myself. Yes, call me feminist, I know people will berate me for saying this, but if I’m bold, adventurous and bohemian then going bald is essential part of it. One isn’t bold for the sake of it. Like not marrying or not wanting to have children are one part of it, travelling alone yet another part & going bald an integral part of it all.
And it is only hair, come of it. Bald makes a woman look extremely sexy. I saw my scalp for the time, so closely. I could see which way my hair growth , the veins on it. I observed intently for a while. The shape of my head & how does it impact my over all look. This is for the FIRST time I’ve admired myself for so long in the mirror, in many years…it felt nice. I have always love myself & moreover my body, I have not been ashamed of it at any point. Going bald made me fall in love with myself all over again. I sincerely believe, every woman must first love herself before she loves a man. I’ve always been comfortable with the way I am, even when i was healthier. I now admire myself even more…not fooled by the fact this too shall pass, and my hair will soon grow! Sigh….
However, the point I am making is, we women find it odd to do things because it is believed we women are NOT supposed to do. Looking at ourselves, admiring in the mirror is called, being narcissist. Not, unless we are obsessed by ourselves or our looks. I’ve NOT been a typical woman, but I am sucker for massages, pedicures, I take good care of my hair & body. This is maintenance of oneself. Seriously, let’s admit, we women don’t know the shape our heads, how we really look totally bare. Is my head shapely, beautiful or not. How does one accept oneself after becoming bald? There were thoughts of some dear ones who had undergone chemo & lost their hair, they had NO choice and had loved their hair. Half my life i kept short hair & yet why did I hesitate to cut it? I’ve no attachments to most things in life, so then why my hair? I’ve believed in being a feminist, bohemian, chose to live life on my terms then why so much of decision making in cutting bloody hair? Well, these are all mind-games we play with ourselves.
This first feeling i know was the minute I stepped inside the shower after going bald was, my scalp burnt. When i hit the bed, the bed sheet poked my skalp. I admit even after my hair cut, the excitement stopped me from getting good sleep. I met my father early next morning & the first thing he said was, “your scalp already looks green,” I had a frown & mumbled it is not fair, it was shinning at night. Mother said i looked like a young child & she couldn’t stop raving. It was gym time & knew i’d face some reax there.
I had carried a cap in my gym bag, just as protection from the sun on my way back home, but believe me I was determined NOT to wear it. At no point did I want anyone to believe I’m fattu, scared of walking around bald. The first step out in the morning & the nip in the air was felt by my head immediately. I could feel the wind in my head! At the gym, young girls as I expected giggled, my 2 gym partners reacted the opposite. The Bohri lady was immensely supportive & said she respected my decision. Though she added I looked like a naughty kid! The one who’s maternal home is in Dubai & I expected to take it well seemed shell shocked. This was the beginning I said to myself. I maintained one policy, “No eye-contact,” believe me it spared me of most aches. Anybody else’s troubled thoughts are their problems & i need NOT deal with them. I refused to answer anybody’s “why?” My simple reply, “Why not?”
I attended two press conferences & I didn’t care to give anybody any reason. At an informal gathering on the first night, 2 women appreciated my guts. However one went on to say though it required guts, it usually means only 3 things inIndia. “So dont’ feel bad,” she added. 1. Tirpuathi 2. death in the family 3. Chemotherapy. I smiled & said, “It also could be all of it, right?” The lady was taken aback, & re-iterated that it required guts. But she had exposed her envy or insecurity.
With this baldness, I’ve developed new-found patience & sarcasm, honestly I couldn’t be bothered with what anybody else thinks. This speaks of their own envy & fears. I’ve better things to do, like live my bald life happily. J