Weeks after editing the Lockdown Routines column, which are appearing in Odisha Bytes, yours truly thought of coming ‘out of the closet’ and bringing a smile to your faces in these lockdown days.
No, I have no fitness routine or new recipes to share, the exuberance has long worn off. Truth be told, my backache prevents me from making the best use of this ‘captive time’ and I have lost interest in my own cooking.
And so, I have been looking at photos of celebrities shedding their vanity during the lockdown — Jaya Bhattacharya of the ‘Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’ fame recently made news for shaving off her head and a few days back our very own Karan Johar decided to show his ‘true colours’ by posting photos of his salt and pepper hair.
But yours truly had done all of this much before, during the lockdown. Shaving off the carefully-preserved locks I mean! Only, I knew I am no Persis Khambatta or Lisa Ray and wouldn’t make heads turn. I anticipated the best ‘compliment’ which could come my way would be ‘Kaancha Cheena’ and ‘Mogambo Khush Hua’. And they did.
Anyway, I loved my bald look (even though I secretly thought that football manufacturers now have a new model for a perfect round shape) and shared the photo privately among family and friends. The brother said ‘Ghar ki kheti hai’, a friend said ‘amazing’, another thought I was ‘cool’ and ‘jhakkas’.
An old friend, tired of my bad hair days tales, asked me ‘why?’ One thought I had morphed my own photo. Another chose to cross-check with a mutual friend, ‘sab theek hai na?’ A well-meaning one asked, “I hope you’re in good health” while a friend’s husband in all seriousness said, “Now that you have done it, wear a scarf”.
What intrigued everyone is, how did I manage such a shiny bald pate without going to a salon?
Well, the instruments that went into the process were my scissors (used only for cutting the edges of milk pouches), my ladies’ shaver (with a new blade, mind you) and my son’s beard trimmer.
The bathroom became a salon where a friend and neighbour first gave me a close shave, just so that we don’t reach a point of no return.
The next morning belonged to me. I woke up even more emboldened to ‘wield my instruments’ on my head. My son refused to part with his trimmer, saying it was meant for a soft beard and not hard grass like my hair.
So I dashed to my ‘salon’ with vengeance and a renewed determination and went snip, snip, snip in front of the mirror. Each lock that fell into the sink gave me joy and strangely, a sense of empowerment and liberation. Believe me, for the first time I experienced what smiling to oneself means.
As I emerged from my salon, my son quips, “Now, the head is ready for my trimmer.” So off we went to the terrace, to ensure that not a speck is left.
Now everyone thinks the lockdown will work in my favour because when I emerge, my hair would have grown to a decent length. But no! I am dying to go out to see the reaction.
I did get to see a trailer when I went for my weekly vegetable shopping.
There is an old uncle in our building and I loved the look on his face when I – wearing a mask and with small greys sprouting from my head — said ‘namaste’ to him! There was no return ‘namaste’!
I am left wondering, why is it that the worst reaction when a man shaves off his hair is that he must have lost a parent. The generous ones that come in the form of compliments are many — ‘bindaas’ ‘bad ass’ ‘macho’ ‘sexy’… And when a woman does it, you get to hear, “Cancer hoga, bechari bata nahi rahi hai”!
I am loving my look. In fact I’ve never loved myself more. I look at the mirror every day with palpable excitement, they are half an inch by now. For now, my head resembles a patchy ground of grey and black and my children love playing tabla on it.
I diligently oil my hair, oops head, everyday and also shampoo it with two drops!
Will they be straight this time around or curly like before? Honestly, do I care?