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From wanting long hair to realising I really loved myself and my hair when it was shorter and still beautiful, I have come a long way!
Damsels, through all the generations that I have heard of, have mostly been outlined by their beautifully long hair. Be it Cinderella, Rapunzel or any of those beautiful ladies who gave us hopes of a fairy tale life, at the end of misery, had lovely beautiful locks. Hair that either swayed beautifully or was tied up neatly in a bun, only to be let free by their beloved.
And hair has made its mark in the pages of history. Either to describe the epitome of a woman’s beauty, when the heroes could not take their eyes off them. Or to describe savagery, while a woman was dragged by her long tresses.
I still remember my days as a young girl, when I would look at myself in the mirror and tie the dupatta of my mom as an extension to my hair. And I would fancy having exquisite, smooth hair like my fairy tale idols. I would oil my hair with a hope that the next morning it would have gotten thicker, longer and shinier.
My upbringing did not give enough space for hair to make its way in. Since, my parents worried about my overall health and hygiene, hair got its fair share of what it deserved. Nothing more.
Every summer I was taken by my dad to his barber and got a haircut like his. My childhood photos are filled with pictures of me smiling with spikes sticking out of my head.
All the way to high school and beyond, I remember getting those stares from people as my pony tails and plaits were replaced by a neat bob cut. ‘She looks like a boy now,’ was often, what people would say.
I must confess that until a few years ago, I would secretly wish for those long tresses. In fact, I succeeded during my pregnancy, when I ended up having lovely hair. But it was not long before it started to feel like a burden and little by little it made its way upwards.
The more I matured as a person, I realised that the dream of having long hair was probably not even mine. It was probably the Rapunzels and Cinderellas playing in my head.
So as you would guess, I did it. One fine day I return home with a completely new look. The reactions of people I was prepared for. Some said I looked like a guy, others thought I probably was diagnosed with cancer. Then there were those who thought I looked fabulous.
But let me tell you how I felt. Oh! I loved myself! I think end of the day that is what matters. Long or short does not matter at all.
My son who witnessed his mumma’s new look and the reactions of people, had to give his opinion as well. “Mumma, I like long hair,” was his naive comment.
Smiling at him, I cuddled him up and say, “Sure my dear, you can grow your hair to whatever length you want to.”
“Mumma! I was talking about your hair. Boys don’t have long hair! Girls have long hair,” he says flatly, annoyed that his Mumma said something like this.
“Would you not love me with my short hair?” I ask him, making a cute sad face. “And would I no longer be your Mumma now?” now I ask, sounding worried.
Cute little hands cling onto my waist and a pair of innocent eyes look up at me and he says, “You are my Mumma now and forever. Nothing has changed Mumma. You can do as you please.”Now he has a cute smile, happy to know that nothing has really changed with reduced hair on his Mumma’s head.
Long or short, as long as it makes YOU happy and makes YOU confident, it is worth it!
Picture credits: Still from a 2015 LOreal Paris advertisement.
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I recommend reading Manjiri Indurkar's Origami Aai alongside her memoir to have a fulfilling and enriching experience of telling one's story with grace.
It’s All In Your Head, M famed author Manjiri Indurkar’s debut poetry collection, Origami Aai, is independent and yet an extension of her memoir in which she speaks with utmost grace about all forms of abuses that she has survived. In this book of intriguing and evocative poems, the poet weaves words to form images of the everyday life of her middle-class family, love found and lost, trauma, and healing.
The collection is divided into four segments, beginning with the family, slowly moving towards the world, and finally colliding them together.
We aren’t in mourning, but we are creatures of habit.
So we talk of each one who died of drowning,
and I listen to her stories with the patience
of a chronicler.
– Funereal Stories
When someone accuses you of "too much feminism", what they are really saying is, "I am uncomfortable with you challenging the status quo and disrupting my privilege".
Time and again, there is one phrase that keeps coming up in the social media discourse on feminism. Any guesses?
Ah, no prizes for guessing the infamous “itni bhi feminist” or “too much feminism” phrase, a classic eye-roller for me, and I am sure for many more of my tribe, in the realm of gender equality discussions.
Pray tell me, how can an ideology, a movement be too ‘much’? It’s not salt or the seasoning of your soup where you can go, “Oops, too much salt, only one spoon was required”. Either you stand for what feminism stands for, or you don’t.
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