It is hard to write about anything that is not about Corona, celebs or celebs afflicted with Corona. But if you are as determined as I am it is not that difficult to come up with something that is not panic – inducing or superfluous. Such as the much overlooked, age old problem that is stress – related silvering or as it is unflatteringly called – ‘going grey’. In a world where lovely locks are valued more highly than talent, personality or virtue and only slightly less than all the treasure in the world, it is a matter of earth – shattering importance when one discovers those unwelcome strands of silver sticking out from the scalp with ominous intent.
The unfortunate individual, in this case, yours truly, then needed to deal with the unbearable trauma that inevitably follows. Haunted by visions of impending senescence, decrepitude, failing health, dementia and death, I briefly considered therapy for stress reduction or cheaper options like embarking on a virtual quest for the fountain of youth. I developed a depressing new habit which involves examining the scalp minutely, bemoaning my lost youth and willing the white hairs to disappear or magically become glossy and black again.
My mother advised not thinking too much about greying hair assuring me that it would exacerbate the situation and recommended elaborate home remedies featuring amla powder, fenugreek, coconut oil, assorted items sourced from the pantry and that notorious henna which does little more than reveal that you are trying to conceal your streak of silver. She also recommended yoga, breathing exercises and meditation. In her opinion, these three can fix all the problems in the world from the trifling to the apocalyptic. The husband said I am panicking over nothing pointing to the shock of silver he wears with ease and pretended not to hear when I muttered darkly about a sexist world where men with the ‘salt and pepper’ look are considered distinguished and stylish while greying women are seen as having given up on themselves and deserving of being airbrushed out of existence.
One friend said I should take the plunge and find an app that will allow me to find a beautician equipped with PPE to style and colour my hair. Another friend said I should own the greying strands and ease myself into a new look as an eccentric, genius type author. An acquaintance who no doubt has a bone to pick with me offered to pluck out the offending greys though it is well known that silvers and greys show up in droves to mourn their fallen compadres. The internet offered umpteen solutions ranging from the practicable to the preposterous. I swear there are folks out there who swear by pee therapy as the perfect solution for all your hair – related concerns!
Finally, I considered accepting the greys and moving on to more worthwhile pursuits. After all how can I hope to be fully empowered and self - actualized if I am going to enslave myself to the demands of vanity and devote my years to painstakingly dyeing my hair and fighting to resurrect the parts of my body that have refused to resist gravity despite my half – hearted attempts at self – care? It would be wonderful to claim that I have made my peace with my ‘greysome’ situation and am handling it with grace and acceptance. But I remain hopelessly conflicted and wish there was a solution to this hair – raising dilemma.
This article was published in The New Indian Express.