Seen those matrimonial column, “wanted fair brides” well now imagine being born in a joint family as the fifth girl, no sons in view, four others fair, straight nosed and straight-haired. So you know what I grew up with.
Fortunately for me I was born in a Tulu household were being a son was not a big deal, in most houses.
But my ‘meghashyama varna’ as I poetically like to call myself during moments of self-appreciation, and dark in normal language and spring like Goldilocks (remember the Kalasona?) I seriously thought I was adopted.
At school my best friend was a Malyali. So her problems were obviously similar, one day our intelligent twelve-year-old brain reckoned if, wrinkles can be straightened with iron why not hair, so we ironed our hair, and learnt an entire new connotation for the word ironing out things!
Whatever be it when not woven into two tight braid and folded to reach shoulder level my hair lenght almost reached my butt. Now from spring like it had stretched to wavy.
But dandruff ridden, my friend and I would research woman’s era-Femina-Eve’s weekly for the current haircare, and believing me the experiences were hair raising.
There was a time when we went picking hibiscus leaves every Saturday evening when we were to be in church or balbhavan(the satyasai Baba run children’s spiritual education program)respectively, then wash the leaves dry them overnight. It had to be ground in the morning, believe me blenders were a no-no as they would spoil the leaves, of course between you and me, blenders were out-of-bounds for thirteen year olds. Apply this slimy paste on the head and finally wash it off.
Then came the egg phase, it was crack the egg the yolk comes out, no yellow only the white beat it with vinegar and apply it, my brother would peg his nose my grandmother would shoo me out, but I stuck to my care carefully, this muck was then washed off with ha!ha! shampoo – and the final rinse with tea decoction.
In the medical college we discovered henna, and shampoos.
Marriage and two kids later the adage turned to hair today gone tomorrow. The luxury of herb hunting, and oil massages now have been replaced by just wash your hair!
My hip length hair has now become shoulder length to ensure easy colouring, Mehendi is great on the palms once in a blue moon at an unavoidable wedding.
When we say fall out of modern life the euphemism is to hair fall out for nothing else falls out right maybe a stray skeleton in the cupboard here and there.
Thais when I discovered Dove shampoo I alternate between the colour rescue and the split end therapy, interestingly the softness that I had with the hibiscus leaves has returned and that was the end of my hair problem. find yours at https://www.facebook.com/dove/app_127320750626819