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Poornima Joshi

Crowning glory

Poornima Joshi | Updated on April 15, 2020

Surviving Self-Distancing – Day 16

The Mediways chemist in Samachar market informs me that the sale of beauty products shot up in the second week of the lockdown. Mediways had a judgement about the ladies breaking the lockdown rules only to buy face bleach, hair remover and, he was aghast, hair colour! “These are hardly essentials,” he cribbed, clearly oblivious to the catastrophic impact of the closure of spas, parlours et al on the ladies’ life. Men can go around unshaved and unkempt without a care in the world but it’ll be a long time before women acquire that supreme sense of self-worth. In the meantime, looking good equals feeling good and I too am wondering whether to ignore Mediways’ contempt and buy the product before it runs out.

The thing is, I’ve had a slightly conflicted relationship with colouring hair. I started to grey when I was still in my 20s and after colouring for a few years, I decided to let it go. It appealed to my sense of self-image to appear intense and intellectual-ish and colouring somehow conflicted with the idea. So, for most of my adult life, I sported a grey mane and felt immensely pleased when people called it stylish or graceful and so on.

Then last year, I had had enough of the long grey hair and the bun which didn’t lend itself to any variation in style or form. It just needed to be tied up or I ran the risk of looking like a chudail. So I and my little sister Saumya went to get it cut by the lovely Shahzad bhai in Monsoon Spa. After he had cut it, Saumya insisted it also needed to be coloured. I too gave in to the secret longing to look like Dimple Kapadia and so it went. Coloured and styled and fit for a selfie. It pleased Amma no end as it somehow dusted me off the shelf and, as I understood, made me suitable for the marriage market all over again.

None of my close friends approved for a variety of reasons but I was quite pleased, at least initially. But after a few months, it’s become a drag. I like a good massage and getting my feet cleaned et al but colouring is a dependency and a compulsion unless one wants to look dowdy and clumsy with little roots of grey showing. It’s a pain, really.

So, now that the parlours are closed and we’re hibernating, it’s a chance to reclaim myself, age gracefully and go natural. I had a conversation about it with a friend last night who advised me to buy a pack of hair colour. Bt I’m thinking I could cut it short, close to my scalp and let the grey grow back again. Stop the parlour dependency and the tedious process of ‘touching up’. “It wouldn’t suit you, the short hair,” the friend said. “And who’ll cut it, the parlours are all closed.” I could ask Amma to cut it; she’s very creative that way. But I’m not sure if she’ll agree with my plan to go grey again for her own reasons. I’m veering towards letting it go.

What do you guys recommend? Colour, or go natural? And, excluding my younger friends who probably have no deeper understanding of such profound conflicts unless they too have gone grey like I did in my 20s, how are people my age managing? Do tell.

Published on April 13, 2020

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