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Greying hair is considered the bane of youthful looks by most women, but are they really something ‘ugly’? A woman shares a hilarious account of her personal journey.
I’m 50 and certainly do look 50. I don’t think I can flatter myself anymore saying I don’t look my age since my greys first showed up in the 40s and have stayed ever since.
Grey is dull and boring, I think… how can it ever become beautiful ?
When I’m asked by well meaning family and friends, “Why don’t you do something about it? Kuch karte kyon nahi… “get your hair coloured it can take age off your face,” they say. I fumble and look apologetic, as now I had to find a cure for my greys.
Funnily, growing up was a happy thing… like the first milk teeth, first acne and pimple or first scars of hurt worn as badge of growing up. But what happens when the first laugh lines, crow’s feet or wrinkles made their appearance? And finally the greys are a sign that the best is behind us.
For a woman greying can be traumatic, quite like heartbreak, so at the first sight of greys I did the next best thing that came to my mind – pluck them off; only that they came back with vengeance.
You know you’re grown old when your choice of topics steer from baby food, diapers and colic to hair colours. Go herbal desi ilaj – concoction of curd- coffee- henna- amla soaked overnight in iron kadai guaranteed best results; local train Jain mehndi formula, promised to work miracles, all tried and tested.
I now pored over advertisements of fancy international brands that promised glossy, luscious, creamy and non messy, easy to use products, compared notes on colours and brands tantalisingly described burgundy, mahogany, chestnut, auburn and gold tints. Suddenly, hair colours had got glamorous, a throwback from my growing days of one and only makers of Godrej dye – the people who gave us almirahs, furniture, locks and soaps.
And every time I went to the parlour lady, she persisted, “Auntie yeh wallah try karo.. koi side effect nahi hai, safe hai, ammonia free hai, (try this aunty, this is completely safe, no side effects) as if I was completely dumb to hair colours. I nod as she extols the virtues of few products, adding a cysteine treatment guaranteed for 7 months to my package for extra strength and volume and promised a good haircut and a good discount dangling a carrot.
I am impressed. …”kitne ka hai”, (how much is it?) I asked, almost blown away by her sales talk.. Rs 15000/- she smiled sweetly credit card se pay karo char EMIs mein ho jayega. I was sold, until I remembered my grocery bills and got cold feet.
I envied women who turn up with amazingly beautiful jet black hair, or coloured streaks with not a hint of grey, wondering if I could ever age blissfully without my ugly grey streaks. Not that I didn’t want to, but, I couldn’t bring myself to colour my hair.
Perhaps, a kind of fear as I recalled my mom who had started dyeing at an early age and ended up greying completely after a few trials- sort of reaction to the chemicals, and it scarred me forever.
I was just not willing to go under the gloves and preferred to use an instant roll on stick for quick results. It wasn’t lasting or neat, but served the purpose for a function or party…
The final straw was my daughter’s wedding when I was warned by family and folks to present myself in properly coloured hair, and not spoil the shoot or pictures.
I promised, but, unfortunately in the rush of wedding preparations, I had forgotten all about it until the D-day and it was too late then, and I had to bear the hurt and angry looks of my daughter.
Luckily the photographer stepped in for damage control assuring he would do the necessary ‘touch ups’ in the wedding albums and I ended up in the wedding pictures with a headful of jet black hair, but, sadly the videos don’t add up.
Men have it much better. They don’t have the pressure to look young unlike women or cheat on age. In fact, it’s called as sporting salt and pepper hair or even tagged silver fox and considered handsome despite the greys like George Clooney and Daniel Craig but, not us, we must go beautiful to the grave.
Finally, I learnt it’s not all that bad…
In fact, I manage to get a seat wherever I walk in or like my principal at school says, “aap sulje hue lagte hain..” (you seem to be sorted out), now whatever’s that means. I’m looked upon as the genial auntie by kids and grown ups in the neighbourhood and I’m better acknowledged by the sales guys when I go shopping, manage better bargains.
I’m not embarrassed anymore, maybe the greys finally brought about the sense of acceptance of age for me, though I use the cheat sheet using photoshop edits for my pictures.
Yes, I finally made peace with my greys, they may not be beautiful but graceful it was, and I learnt to respect them.
A version of this was first published here.
Image source: shutterstock
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