Sunday, December 09, 2007

Hair, The

An idea struck me today, when a friend suggested we visit a hairdresser.
"Why don't you condition your hair.. and maybe style in with some Lorenza?", she said.

She also suggested, with utmost tact, some other very highly scientific procedures and path breaking technological breakthroughs that could make me look beautiful.

I had another idea. What if I shaved my head?

Generally, it is accepted that you live in the depths of you... a dimensionless centre between your face and the back of your head. The rest of the body is inconsequential to the person you are. The individuality you claim to own.
I'd think, then, that the 'who you are' is divided into you and your body.

I would love to believe that the centre of power, the nucleus of my self is that point between my eyes and the back of my skull. I live up there, I am the master of that gory space within. The dreams are mine, the nightmares are mine. Even reality is in my custody.

From this focal point, is supposed to stem a skull that grows dead cells for hair, something I've no control over, and shoots down below my throne, a neck that branches to limbs and an inconsiderate torso that collects fat in noticeable areas.

My body fails to recognize this monarchy. What's worse, the world seems to accept that my 'who you are' is not headed by me.

It's headed by my hair.

Providence has, from its basket of talent, skill and ecentricities, endowed me with a skull lushly planted with undisciplined hair with the character of vagabonds. That seems to be my quota. For ever since I can remember, my identity has been my hair. The rest of me, the core that is me, has been proved borderline non- existant. So much so, that my name registered synonymous with hair. I was synonymous with hair.

My ambition, as a child, was simple. My parents, like most South Indian parents, wanted me to be an engineer. My best friend wanted to be a fashion designer. My dog wanted to be fed. I wanted to be invisible.
That's all. Invisible. To be never talked of, heard of and cried upon. But that's what I wanted. What my hair wanted was different.

As children, we are subject to many sadistic decisions of those who control the world.
Like the rule in school that said girls with hair that touches their shoulders must have it braided. On either sides. With a blue ribbon. Like a disfigured piglet with long ears, only uglier.

My mother would begin to plait my hair every morning with a vengeance for maternal exploitation. She'd seperate each lock of the rebellion on my head like they were fighting back. Occasionally, a grunt escaped her nose as she wiped the bead of sweat on her temple while she was at it.

Such were my days, when I walked to my bus stop with TIGHT braids on either side of my ears, blood vessels popping up either side of my forehead.

"Here's Bushy!", I'd occasionally pretend to not hear, and stand alone in a corner waiting for the big yellow monster # 12 to turn up and carry thirteen other of us younglings to the school.

One day, my mother took me to a saloon. Unaccustomed to such sudden outings, I gleefully danced around her as we swam into the bright parlor.

"Hair cut for her." I heard my mother say as she pointed at my hair. Not me, mind you, at my hair.
The lady smiled. I can't remember her face now, but I remember the smile. It was thick and false from end to end. I decided we didn't like each other.

As I stared into the mirror, I realised, for the first time, that there was nothing about me that one could register for a face. Sure, I had eyes, and a nose and big ears, but so did my dog. The only thing about me that threw a party was my hair! It was now open and restless, standing in the air like it cared two hoots about the science of gravity. As I looked in the mirror, I saw my jet black character posing wildly over my head.

Snip snip.

In shock, I looked to the floor. The witch had cut my hair! It lay on the ground, some strands still at ninety degrees, even in death they wouldn't budge. I looked in the mirror again and flung a look at my mother, who sighed in relief of the thought that the next morning was free from the torture of combing.

I looked into the mirror again, and saw myself, my self, deviod of its leader. And then, I burst into tears. Crying and shouting, I sunk into the vastness of my chair and covered my face because there was no hair to hide it.

"What are you crying for? You look nice!"

I yelled in some barbaric dialect and ran out of the parlor, into the streets, into the world, leaderless, with no identity. No name synonymous with anything anymore. I was a speck. A matchstick with no phosporous. And then, I realised.
I was finally invisible.

Years have passed since that evening on the road where I cried in shame of the coup on my life. Years later, I've gathered more knowledge and useless information about life and the soul, and I'd like to believe I have a well defined 'who you are' now. But with me, so has grown my hair, something I still have no control over, niether in growth nor in behavior.

"So let's go tomorrow, then. I know a great place! And they specialize... in hair... like... yours..." My friend added, beaming helpfully.

I touched my head and pricked a finger. A couple of strands stood in victory of their retaliation, still painfully displaced from their rightful places on my scalp. The leader was still my hair. The nucleus of power beneath it squirmed in denial.

"I think I'll pass."