Ripple effect

As I stood before the mirror brushing back my hair, I reached out for my regular hair band. The one I used to pin my hair all the way back giving me a stern matron look. Looking critically at the reflection that stared back at me I let my hand go. The tresses came cascading back, swinging softly at my shoulders. I rummaged in my drawer and held up a brown claw clip. I figured it was time for change.

Getting into the car as Saathi adjusted the rear view mirror, I caught him looking appreciatively at the swinging locks. Grinning from ear to ear, I asked “Like my new look?” He nodded. The day was already looking bright. Back at my desk at work I focused on the job at hand and forgot about my tresses till my first restroom break. Standing before the mirror I felt childish. I liked the relaxed face looking back. The bags under the eyes remained but the stern look was replaced by a childlike mirth. My hair seemed to have a life of its own.

I couldn’t help wondering how much little things like leaving my hair loose could do to me. Memories of growing up in a home where loose hair was frowned upon came rushing back. It takes years and years to unlearn impressions wedged in my mind. Only exceptions were when I let my hair dry from the weekly oil bath with “nalla yennai” or sesame oil. I smiled when I thought of the good old days of oil baths, shikakai powder and saambrani. Of laughter, love and simple Sunday treats. Of having baths in parallel rooms chattering away mindless of the rest of the family sitting in the “mitham” or courtyard.

I sit eyes locked on my monitor, my mind miles away.

18 thoughts on “Ripple effect

  1. This post brings back memories for me too :). I too wasn’t allowed by my father to leave my hair down – I had to tie 2 plaits when going to school – but when I lived in New Zealand, I felt so geeky that I used to untie them on the bus on the way to school and tie it back on the way home. Guess who was on the bus on the way home one day – MY FATHER! hehe – FOND MEMORIES 🙂

  2. Totally with you on this one Laksh. The same thing with my paatti I was not allowed ot leave my hair loose. Even until last year, I was hesitant to cut my hair short, wondering what my paati would tell or how she would react. Now I’m thinking what my mother would tell. I really envy the TV hosts and others who leave their hair loose and it looks so silky, soft. I also want to have a hair makeover.

  3. Wow! You completely took me down memory lane. I have always altered between short hair(much against appa’s wishes) and long hair. But whatever the length what comes to mind is idli breakfast followed by the sunday morning oil baths followed by vengaya sambar and potato curry lunch followed by seeing if any good award winning tamizh movie is coming on DD or going to sleep soundly 🙂


  4. Haha.. Suprisingly I had my hair down for the past 2 years, and a couple of weeks ago, I cut it shorter and changed to a ponytail. Guess, it’s more the change in look that we desire, no matter what look it is.

  5. I can relate it to it too. Everyday, applying oil on the hair and mom plaiting it two sides for years. Before I joined Engineering, one of my friends gave me courage to do a haircut and I did and how the looks changed..Should say, I was stealing looks at myself in the mirror for the next 3-4 days. And now..I still cant compromise on comfort to LOL..on your matron looks, I also put on a hairclip that makes me look that way..time to change..yeah!

  6. @Bavani: Ahh! the two plaits 🙂 We had to not only plait our hair but if it were long, had to double it up and tie it with ribbons. Brings back tons of memories. Thank you! BTW what did your father say?
    @Suman: I first cut my hair right after XII board exams with my friend Sindu. My mom refused to let me into the house 🙂
    @SK: Absolutely with you on that!
    @Madhuram: Your hair is very beautiful. You should experiment. Even without cutting it, you can play around with different styles. I can relate to what you say.
    @Laks: Never seen you with short hair! Yes!! Good old DD days.
    @Rekha: Mine has mostly been shoulder length for a few years now. Like you say may be it is the change in looks. I always was scared to let my hair down literally and figuratively.
    @Anamika: 🙂 Having seen you I know what you mean. 🙂

  7. Very interesting post. Wow! I never knew that girls growing up in India were frowned upon when they let their hair down…. Just wondering if it is still that way,.. or has this tradition changed now?

    As for me, when I was growing up, I was never allowed by my parents to have long hair. I had always had it short-short (like a boy). My parents seemed to think that if I had long hair,..I would get sick.. (don’t know if that’s a myth or if there was any truth in it). Hmmm…..

  8. Laksh-

    nice one again…I am dtill apprehensive about letting my hair down while working in a white dominated community and braid it just like my college days in India.

  9. i have never had long hair, nor did many in my family, i guess, my mom took the easy route out and cut our hair…long hair i like to see on others, i get annoyed after a little while on myself…but i love it when you let your hair down…reminds me of one of the photographs you have on your mantle – with you and Kanna, and you in a beautiful silk sari…

  10. Next time I cut my hair as short as I did couple of years ago, will defn surprise visit you 🙂

    Like you have mentioned in your replies, first time I cut my hair really short, my mom and pa refused to talk to me for a couple of weeks 🙂

  11. Wow!! another good one… is interesting how you can just turn people down the memory lane with you everyday posts!!! BTW i have become a regular reader here 🙂

  12. @Spillay: A lot of that has roots in tradition. Not sure about other communities but in the tambram world, when a woman lost her husband it was customary to have a cold shower and stand dripping wet with the hair undone. Since wet hair/untied hair i.e. were associated with the mortality of the husband, children were taught never to leave hair undone. The same thing applies for wearing jewelry, sindoor and flowers.
    @Mitr: I understand. I cannot braid even if I want to since I have lost a lot of hair and there is not enough to braid 🙂
    @UL: Thank you :blush: 🙂 In that pic, I have way more hair than I can dream of now 🙂
    @Laks: I can understand given how our backgrounds are similar.
    @Hemani: Welcome! Glad to know you have converted. BTW I owe you a proper response. Will email today.

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