All gods have long hair. Be it Greek, Indian or other gods. No, I havent met them all yet, but I am sure about this fact from the several photographs and paintings of them that I have seen. And why not, long hair does look divine. I dont like people cutting their hair, particularly women, whom I think look lovely with more kesham.
But my thinking doesnt seem to matter to my family or the world. From childhood onwards, I have been programmed to cut my hair at regular intervals. The most regular cut from childhood was “summer cut”, where I had to convince myself that I had some hair on my head after the “summer-cut”. Yet at home after the barber-shop visit, my mother would exclaim that the barber has not cut it properly, and there was a bit more he could have cut! And while taking bath after the haircut, I always consoled myself saying that it will grow back fast.
But wait another three weeks, amma will exclaim “thalamudi kaadu maathiri valarnthaachu” (your hair has grown into a jungle!), preparing the ground for the next hair-cut. But that was during the school days. It was during the college days that I caught the fashion bug and went to a “modern” hair cutting saloon. They did the same thing my old barber did, except that they washed my hair with shampoo, and cut much less hair, making me appear more ugly to myself! The first thing I did after going home and taking bath is to apply oil to my hair.
Yes-sir, I still apply oil in my hair. If you are producing wierd sounds of disgust at the other end, I am fine with it. I love my hair with oil, even if it contains enough oil to fry pappadoms on a sunny day. The only change that has happened with the oil application is the oil itself. From kaachina ennai (oil prepared with herbs, I believe) now I use dabur amla kesh tel. And yes, I do apply it daily.
Coming back to the topic, Whatever changes in life happened hair-cut still happened at regular intervals. Be it kerala, Bombay or London, the hair-cut still remained, as barbers changed. Several barbers came and went. In kerala there was our regular barber, who twisted our heads in different positions and expected us to hold it there while he went about business. Then there was a communist barber, who reminded us that by touching the scissors to our head, we owed him the “haircutting fees”. In bombay suburb the barber was more sort of a village person, very innocent and trying to make my hair look great in every possible way and in London a middle-aged nice white man who did the job in quickest possible time.
But then the tubelight came on, yes I mean the idea of long hair came to me. I never had the opportunity to grow my hair, but now I had. I am a grown-up adult and can choose to grow hair. And If it looks good on gods, it definitely will look good on me. The bonus was that I didnt have to do anything for that as well, except avoid the visits to the hair-cutting salon. The hair will grow by itself, I couldnt ask for more! I was soon imagining myself with long hair, tied neatly into a ponytail. Just like the gods in the paintings.
The project was running smoothly for a couple of months before the first attack on it came. No, it was not an outsider who criticised it, but my wife herself. She started complaining that I was looking uglier and couldnt stand the sight of me. Initially I shrugged it off, but then she linked the ugliness of my long hair in relation to my extra layer of muscle around my waist. That was outrageous. She didnt have to link my muscle deposits to my growing jet black shiny hair and call me ugly. But I was determined to grow it long. I knew some of my friends were on my side, or so I thought.
My hair was growing unaware of all the politics that I was going through for it. But day by day the resistance was building up, my parents also lend their support to my wife, and one by one my friends were also getting in her camp. I was standing up to all these pressures when one of my friends, whose advise I value a lot, asked me to get rid of my hair. Same time my brother too issued a fatwa that I cut my hair soon.
I was devastated. The whole world was against me this time. I was alone fighting for my growing hair, which had now grown long enough to cover my eyes and nose, another few months and I would have a nice looking pony tail. Succumbing to pressure, I did the unthinkable final act. With trembling feet I entered the barber shop after 3 months, and mumbled to him “summer-cut”. He started snipping my hair away with evil glee in his eyes. While my long dark black shiny hair was falling around my chair, a song was playing from the back-ground of my mind. “Dost dost na raha, pyaar pyaar naa raha“.