Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Down ‘Hairy’ Lane

 In trying to locate a particular photo, I was wading  through mountains of old photos – two trunk loads to be precise! A collection of  photographs taken when I was a three months old baby in my birth day suit to photos taken until ten years ago when digital photography replaced  conventional photography.

I was surprised to see a photo of mine taken in a studio when I was four years old. I was wearing a pyjama & baby kurtha sporting  long hair pleated and tied with a ribbon with flowers tucked in. Looking like a girl in a boy`s dress! It seems ,because of the delay in visiting Tirupathi for my first mandatory mundan(mottai), my parents had allowed my hair to grow!

Soon enough I had before me a series of my photos taken during various occasions or no particular occasion. What struck me was the amount of hair I had on my pate as a student in school and college.  There I was  sitting in a group photo taken of my class of 58 on the last day of my school.  I had wavy hair flowing from right to left, with a parting on the right.  In  some photos  the hair was flowing from left to right with a left parting.  I remembered my attempts  to have middle parting  too.. but alas there were no photos available of this.

As a youngster when I was beaming with pride about my wavy / curly hair  I was exposed to a  catchy advertisement for Brylcream- a famous brand of hair cream popularized by sexy looking models.  I thought the cream would make me also look more sexy as the ads promised to give a bright sheen to my hair. By now I was a  teenager  and  I had started imagining that any girl who  was friendly with me was in love with me.  It took me almost three years to  realize that the cream had not helped  in any way with the girls, but I  was slowly  and  surely losing  my hair as evidenced by the loose hair strands that were stuck to my comb every morning when I combed my hair after a bath.  Before I took the decision to discontinue the cream, I was already on my way to joining the world of `baldies`,  with a small,old rupee coin sized,  barren patch  on the back  of my head. That made me worried.

 The problem now was how to hide the small barren space whose circumference was growing  day by day. I found a solution- I started growing long hair, like many musicians of yesteryears – the `Bagavathar` style they called it!   For many years I never went to a saloon and managed to hide the bald patch with the long hair. As an Ad man in a creative business I could get away with my long hair! During this period I also got married. I wonder if my late wife would have agreed to marry me if she had known that I was a potential baldie!

After marriage with growing responsibilities and worries, a new problem arose. I began to lose hair above the temples on either side of the front of my head.  The receding portion in the front of my pate was fast trying to catch up with the empty space at the rear of my head, creating almost a barren patch  in the middle.

Though my wife assured me that her loyalty  and love for me will not diminish  because of my receding  hair line  I became panicky.  As a person who believes  in facing every problem  squarely- taking the ‘bull by the horns’ as they say, I found a solution to cover my bald pate in the middle.  I once again started growing long hair  but this time on one side of the head and while combing my hair stretched  the same to the other side of my head trying to cover the baldness in the middle.  While at that time I was happy with my looks , seeing the photographs taken during the period now,  I feel I looked   really funny. How perceptions change with advancing age!

When I was in my late forties I was introduced to an ayurvedic hair oil which promised not only to arrest the falling of hair but also helped in growth of new(!) hair., I have got hooked to this hair oil for over two decades now! When comparing the old photos  with some recent ones I am sure that I have some  new hair in the middle portion of my head now.

Whether others agree or not  I am happy  that while some cousins of my age group have  all become `mottais` with not a strand of hair on top, I at least have some hair left on the  top of my head. You may call it sadistic pleasure. So be it!

Like all  baldies with some or no hair I always carry a comb with me to ensure that whatever hair is left on  my head is kept in place and I look well groomed!

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