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For someone who’s coloured her hair for a long time, it took me a lockdown to realise why I did it. And helped me make a decision…
“But I never asked you to go for root touch ups.”
Instantly I realised it was time for me to look inside. When philosophy starts making sense after 52 years on this planet, it has to be the COVID-19 era. Actually, my husband felt bad for me as I was unable to visit a salon.
I had been so fond of flaunting my hair – shades of burgundy and browns that I had forgotten the original colour grey. The colour which was gradually catching up.
People say you don’t know what you‘ve got until it’s gone. Three years ago, my black hair realised the importance of melanin. In other words, my hair follicles were losing pigment cells. Or in simpler terms, grey hair. In other words, anxiety.
I decided to hand over my anxiety to the salon boys. They took charge of my hair. From global colour to hair washes every fourth day, they did it all with smiles and gratitude.
It was not my first time dealing with a hairy problem (actually, a not-so-hairy problem!) When I was 45, my fingers felt a barren patch on my scalp close to my left ear. Thankfully Google enlightened me that it was Alopecia Areata.
If you really love your Google searches, let me tell you one thing you all already know. Google not only has the power to provide you with information but it also has the power to freak you out.
I was overloaded with information. And my brain started guiding me. That it could develop into either ‘totalis’ or ‘universalis.’ If it’s totalis, only my scalp hair is gone but if it’s universalis – then my entire body hair is gone! On a lighter note, if it was the latter, I might have been slightly relieved (#ByeByeWaxing). But totalis would have happened in either case.
To that, my lovey-dovey husband came to rescue. He said, “Don’t worry! Both of us will always have shaven-head look.”
Those magical and comforting words helped me and my barren patch started to grow hair again. Not only did it help me, it also made some of my lovey-dovey husband’s hair come back (well, only a little bit #malebalding) Hardly five years passed since my narrow escape from Alopecia Areata, and my hair stylist advised me to include root touch ups (remember melanin?)
It had been three years now and I was marching on with my salon boys. They were always there – any metro, any city. With that confidence, I met a friend in a cocktail in January 2020. She was in awe of a lady with grey hair, “Wow she is ageing so gracefully.” I laughed, “Give me just 2-3 months and I will also age gracefully.”
God heard me and obliged with draconian lockdowns. Salons were out of bound and so was UrbanClap. During the lockdown, I started washing my hair again. I remember quite vividly that Sunday when India clapped and cheered for me to be self-reliant (#AtmaNirbharBharat #AtmaNirbharMe)
After PM Modi’s Diya Jalao Campaign, one thing became clear – even if lockdowns start easing, salons will not open again any time soon. By then, it was time for my root touch up. I desperately needed to visit a salon.
Just to hide my frustration and weakness I told my husband, “I go to salon because of you!” To which he was horrified, “But I never asked you to go for root touch ups.”
At once, I realised what he said was true! I have a husband who never bothered to colour his grey hair. Never bothered for mine as well. He just loved to see me pamper myself in salons. I had forgotten that I was doing it for myself. After all compliments on social media and parties were quite luring and enticing:
“Oh my, you look so young!” “Didn’t realise you have grown up kids!” “You and your daughter look like sisters!” “Oh my! You look so much younger than your husband!” and so on..
This time I decided not to get tempted and become self-reliant to colour my hair. Centi-meters to inches, my grey started showing up. Few friends and family felt bad for me, few love me the way I am but most didn’t really care.
Most importantly, I feel good about myself. Salons have opened up, and Urban Company is there too. But I am no longer desperate to go for my colours. I have left my hair the way it is. And I proudly flaunt my grey hair. I will surely join my salons back. But at least there’s one thing I know for sure – I will not colour my hair.
A version of this was earlier published here.
Picture credits: Provided by the author.
Main image credits: YouTube
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