Monday, March 8, 2010
Returning the gift
So, I did it. Took the plunge. Had an early start yesterday 7th March, 2010. The details even though ONLY 24 hours have passed are vaguely familiar. I went through the routine. After making small talk at the breakfast table, reading Mumbai Mirror with my green tea and then cold coffee, and summoning the barber to the house, I thought I’d go bathe myself. I didn’t want to shampoo and condition it for one last time, but I had Googled the previous day that the process was simpler if you did.
So I stood staring at myself in the bathroom mirror. I took one long last hard look at it. “I have LONG HAIR”, I said to myself. It’s going to take 9 – 10 months on a realistic side for it to grow half as long as it is right now. I wasn’t scared at any point in time. Only RELIEF ! Relief, that after so many days of thinking about it, the day had finally come – and that too all of a sudden. Sudden was good. I had an adrenaline rush.. as though the Vodka had just hit the head. Should I get drunk ? Or will I be able to handle it ? Of course I’ll be able to handle it. It’s hardly going to make a difference, I said to myself.
I blast the music on my phone to top levels – something I never do !! I’m not a music person – I guess I can safely say this today without you thinking I am weird. All weird things at one go is digestable. I’ll leave you to wonder what is more weird, me shaving my head off, or me not being a music person .. LOL. I un-dressed myself. Started the shower. The luke warm water seeped slowly through my thick and jet black hair. I ran my hand through my hair, parting it slowly so that the water trickles down to the bare head. Gradually my hair became wet. Everything about washing my hair is going to change now ! Will my bare skin on the head be able to bear this temperature water. I had to experience the firsts of everything now !!
I took a little more shampoo that I usually do.. I gathered up a lather with the black blob of liquid on my hand. It took 2 washes for it completely feel it clean. A quick conditioner routine left my hair looking slick. I used my favorite strawberry douche to clean up as quickly as possible. The strawberry is very soothing. Reminds me of …*!@... doesn’t matter to you at the moment. I jump out of the shower. I semi-dry my hair. There was a knock on the door. My mother said the barber had come. I smiled. I looked at myself one last time – even though I had in the beginning. Last of lasts was allowed today.
I came out. The friendly smile of the barber greeted me. I knew I was in good hands instantaneously. My friend Ami was there, For moral support even though I was sure I could do this on my own. She asked me one last time, Are you sure ??? Well, she had asked me a million last times in the last 24 hours anyway. I smiled. She knew I was sure.
My mother had set up my room. Papers on the floor, the chair of the perfect height. I sat on the throne. Hair cutting had never attracted so many people – I usually go on my own. I don’t like the fuss others create in a saloon over my hair. Everyone gathered around me. I said a silent prayer … I don’t quite remember that point in time when the prayer ended and the cold blade touched my skin for the first time. I began hearing the scrounge scrounge scrounge noise my crispy cold hair was making as strands after strands fell on my shoulder and then on the ground … Photographs were being taken. Ami was taking a video – should I put it on YouTube? was my thought ! Another weird thing about me – I have never been on YouTube, I have never downloaded songs, videos and series etc !!
By the time I recovered from this thought half my head was bald. Today, I wasn’t facing any mirror.. I had decided I will look at it only after it is all done… !! I posed for pictures half way. I think at this point in time the barber was thinking about his next appointment. But he waited it out patiently while everyone stood there giving their takes. Didi was giving her take on the colour of my bald head. Rishi, my younger brother was already making plans on how he is going to smack it once it is done.
We re-started the process. This time the blade moved faster… And soon it was all going to be done… should I take an off tomorrow ? What will my factory workers think ? Certainly my bald head is going to turn some heads. It’s going to be alright, the next voice in my head said. Deandra Sores, Shabana Azmi, Mira Nair, Lisa Ray… and now DISHA DOSHI !!
I chuckled and before I could recover and dive deeper into this thought everyone screamed. OMG !! My mother shrieked – Diu( as she fondly calls me)..” look at the amount of hair on the floor” !! My sister said, Dia( as she fondly calls me)” you look hot !”. My brother for the first time admitted he is scared of me. Ami said that I look hot. Dad just stood there and smiled. My mother ran into the kitchen and got the vermilion paste and made a swastika on my head. She put a red tikka on my forehead. The deal was done ! I was Officially Bald.
I peeped to my left to get the first view of my bald head. I flashed my image on the mirror… okay.. I look better than I had imagined. I moved away. I started laughing uncontrollably. I peeped one more time.. I was flushing a happy RED on my cheeks. .. !!
I felt NAKED, COOL and BALD… but above all emotions I was HAPPY I saw this thing through. What started out as a little prayer to god.. I got his kind, caring, lovely gift of restoring the smiles of my lovely family … and I returned it with this inconspicuous in front of that Re-turn gift. The scales of kindness will never balance. I will always be on the lighter side.. God is too kind. He gave us strength then. He will give me strength now as well. As from the beginning, I have never been one to feel shy of the stares and glances people will throw towards me. Every time they do, I will only be reminded of the gift of Love I received.