Tag Archives: feminist

Beauty of being bald









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



Women’s day

March 8 is Women’s day. Yes i know I’m writing few days later, all the more reason, as few events have left me perturbed.

This IS the day for women, in memory of women’s fight to get an equal footing in a male dominated society. That the ways of the world too have been scripted by men for women is a known fact. To be born in this world & live on one’s own terms & conditions, is still NOT possible for many women. My salam to all those women who have been fighting these age old barriers, stigmas & this world basically.

I can list over a 100 women who have taken it upon themselves to be before their times & make our lives easier. However this day, our fight wc is on-going is made into a commodity as the Women’s day is marketed by all & sundry.

Many frivolous media, marketing & advertising experts have marketed Women’s day. I won’t go into those details. However we celebrate this landmark day. This time it is a blot on our calendar in India.

A young student was killed at point blank range. The accused was her stalker neighbour, who bumped off Radhika Tanwar & the killer saw her die coldly & slipped away. There can be many a pros-cons. I don’t think it’s easy to pass a judgement on those who witnessed it. He had a gun, let’s not forget it so to expect all commuters to leave everything to nab the killer is asking superman qualities in normal struggling humans. I may theorise, how everybody could have spontaneously surrounded & overpowered him. But we are talking of a society, which is struggling to make peace in their lives with their own problems. A killer with a gun on the loose one’s life is imp.

So Tanwar’s killer slipped away from Delhi University campus while the rest of the world moved on & women celebrated women’s day. 3 days down & the killer is yet to be caught. I thought there was vigilance thanks to police, the CCTV cameras. I don’t know how but the man has slipped from the clutches of law initially.

Back home in Mumbai, a early 30s housewife & mother of 2 threw her children from 19th floor & then flung herself to death. Again on women’s day. I have been asking myself this question, something surely grave has happened, NOT suddenly that she motivated herself to do something as violent as this.

Imagine a lady who had to take such a step. The son who, she dangled for a while before throwing him down, truly Sad. Then that naive little girl of hers. What must’ve gone through her mind till the last moment, we will never know & what must’ve transpired there too we’ll never know. But the truth can’t get burnt on their pyre.

Something surely must’ve snapped in her mind. Nidhi saw no road at all, didn’t think there was an alternative. She didn’t share with anyone her problems, or then saw no recourse at all. With all roads blocked this lady took such a step.

Many a man said, “How could she do this?” “She’s not a good woman, mother.” “At least she should’ve spared her children.” Should she have spared them? If she were to have done that, then just killed herself? Surely Nidhi knew that all their lives her kids would’ve had to listen to the taunts- their mother was evil, society would have bad mouthed her & they’d have been left to the mercy of god.

It still gives me shudders. Years ago i covered a story of a young middle class, creative director’s daughter throwing herself from SNDT college’s terrace. Eeks. I still get goose pimples. These acts of killing are NOT acts of bravery, they also are NOT acts of losers. The person is helpless. I just can’t imagine killing myself. NO way. Nidhi was a CA. i still can’t believe why she was mentally, emotionally dependent, saw NO hope. didn’t ever think of doing something of her own – be free & happy.

It is only concrete, a true concrete jungle.. Cold & hard. Imagine the sound of banging down of bodies with a loud thud. Ouch. It hurts. Does anyone deserve this kind of a harsh death? I don’t think so.

As for Nidhi, she got her children ready while she had made up her mind, that this IS it. NO more giving life another chance. She told at home she’s going to drop the kids to school. She takes the elevator up to the top most floor. Makes the kids remove their shoes, school bags, lunch boxes; she aligns them in a line. First throws the son who apparently when Nidhi tried to get the balance kept him dangling for few seconds & he bit her as per the marks on her body.  Then imagine she picked up her tot of 3 years, threw her & in a split of a second Nidhi threw herself from the 19th floor.

Why? What is it that makes people like Nidhi do this? Since last 2 days all people are talking is she was a CA, studying MBA. She spoke to her parents & she had a friend, what kind of a lady is she? We simply don’t know what has transpired within their four walls everyday & every night. And you know what we’ll never know. The man even if by remote chance gets arrested, will go out on bail, remarry & have new children. That’s how they live a false life.

Meanwhile an artist, who works using art therapy on psychologically & emotionally affected persons told me, “She has done whatever with a very cool mind.” May be i said. But what right did she have to kill her children? ”

“She didn’t want them to suffer like her. She didn’t want them to be reminded everyday that their mother was weak, had some problem & killed herself. She chose to die leaving them behind, would’ve given them grief, plus the situation in their house would never have favoured the children.” Didn’t know that an artist could see all this through her photograph, plus the pics of the way Nidhi had arranged the shoes, kids’ school bags, etc. “The cool mind with which she planned all this shows nothing in her action was on an impulse. It was done in a calculative manner.”

After this gruesome death came news of 2 more girls’ bodies being found in suitases. There were strangulation marks, obviously some sort of consensual sex, which again is not an issue. But the fact that the men who kept a relation with them resorted to such violent behaviour.

They were not just hit or strangulated, they were murdered in cold blooded manner. AS if this violence is not enough, their bodies were then dumped in a suitcase. This is the worth of a person a man once loved? this what levels people will resort to? I’m too shocked by these events.

For all the talks, we are a peaceful nation, we love & respect women, this is contradictory. The fact is that violence on women has increased, it yet again shows we still are vulnerable. I really don’t know what we have to celebrate.