Bald is Beautiful(baldies world over undergo this anxiety..trauma.. and finally re-conciliation)
Happy go lucky, prosperous, sexy, brainy, wealthy - these are all synonyms for a balding man in our Indian society. As the hair fall sets in your well wishers greet you " so getting rich eh.. amassing wealth .. lady luck has all smiles for you " These sayings provide an emotional support system lest you feel depressed and frustrated seeing your hair fall and not able to do a thing. All your attempts to arrest hair loss or regain the precious hair already lost miserably fail. I hear in Western Countries there are formal baldy clubs where baldy members sit together and joke around about haired people, but that is west and they can run clubs for anything under the sun. The prospects of any such club succeeding in India are as thin as the receding hair line which heralds the way for a full fledged bald in times to come. We Indians have a tendency to ridicule well meaning institutions for example SPCH (Society for Prevention of Cruelty over Husbands) gone defunct, we prefer to suffer in silence, till death do us part.
Bespectacled persons in India, normally, indicate a well read man who read and wrote so much that optician had to come to his rescue. Similarly, a bald head symbolizes wealth and wisdom, Cool!
When the news of my rapid hair fall spread among the near and dear ones they took upon themselves the noble task of sympathizing/empathizing with me. Number of advices, talisman, desi prescriptions piled up. A doctor friend wanted me to immediately visit city hospital and meet Head of Skin Department, when I insisted for an introduction letter he reassured that it was not necessary and a mere look will suffice. I was much impressed till I had set my eyes on the HOD - he was completely bald. I took refuge in 'Homeopathy'. In India certain diseases are very popular their cure are equally popular and in demand e.g.. Weight reduction, turning Grey hair, black, enhancing your sexual abilities, increasing your height, turning your skin fair (hence, lovely) and begetting a male child. Re-growing lost hair is one similar enterprise.
Initially, whatever one suggested I lapped on to it and eagerly followed the entire procedure with religious fervor and precision. From applying the black ash of earthen oven (chulha), cucumber pulp, juice of radish mixed with onion juice to no less than seventeen types of hair oil but of little avail. Then somebody suggested I should go for a complete head shave on alternate days that too in reverse direction i.e. razor moving forehead down to scalp. The barbers of the saloon became quite friendly with me and seeing me coming they could hardly suppress their smiles. I felt awkward in the beginning but soon I adopted a sort of philosophical attitude towards the problem.
When a family visited us on the occasion of Mundan Ceremony (first head shave of the infant) of my daughter, their six year old daughter asked me Uncle you have given total head shave to Asmita but then why you have got yours cut in design. Little did she know that men do not go bald in one go. They do so in phases creating interesting designs, shapes of geometry. Which country's map gets carved out on your head, no body can predict. Once I read about a wonder oil from Kerala. I immediately sent my application as instructed in the ad. Pat came the printed reply they were glad to inform me that I have been wait listed and my order will be delivered in the year 2006. I was not discouraged. I found a way out, M.P. quota. Six bottles materialized promptly. They lasted three months. Those three months were full of euphoria and I kept preparing/amending list of things to be done after I get back my young dashing looks, people all along made me believe with hair loss I lost my youth and dash too. But alas! Six bottles could not produce even six hair on my scalp. Thus, lot of sweet and sour experiences I underwent in my unsuccessful attempts to re-grow hair on my scalp.
One oil ad, I must mention, as a precaution that utmost care be taken while applying this oil. Gloves (sold with oil) should be used as there have been complaints of hair growth on user's palm. Manufacturer will not be responsible for any such accident, they warned, I was thrilled, at last my crowning glory will be restored. I dreamt of latest hair style I would adopt but as the saying goes I remained as bald as egg so all my efforts terminated in a blind alley and scalp remained smooth as egg.
Recently, I came across a blow up of a baldy with the caption Bald is beautiful, I was filled with gratitude that when no blow up other than Juhi Chawlas and Govindas are in demand somebody has been thoughtful about we baldies.
Think of it, being bald does have its sunny side. Whatever hair style be in fashion a baldy doesn't have to bother. My all time favorite is Anupam Kher. I wish the fashion of being bald should take my country or at least city by storm and stay that way. Sporting hair should become outdated, old fashioned and be declared unhygienic by city, municipal authorities. Wow we baldies will be ruling the fashion scene - naturally.
A bald man is a rich man - the saying is not for nothing. A baldy saves on oil, shampoo, combs, hair brushes and dye. Money saved is money earned. Some green horn baldies try to unsuccessfully cover their clean shining bald head with strange looking wigs. They miserably fail to create any impression except being repulsive. Tell me honestly if one is not endowed with enough hair on one's face to pass as beard or mustache does one go around wearing artificial beard or mustache, of course not, I hate any such attempt to fool around with the divine gift. In this field I am genuinely impressed by the candidness of our cine actresses of today who unabashedly proclaim from roof top "if God has gifted us why should not we show it to the world".
Baldies have been great people. They were bald so they were great or they were great so they were bald, dispute is as trivial as whether egg came first or chicken came first. Let us not waste time. Be it known that as is the relationship between egg and chicken so is the relationship between being bald and being great. Nehrus, Gandhis and Patels, the list is endless. You know the rich and famous bold and not so bold, statesman and real intellectuals have been bald. Why ladies don't go bald like men. (No comments). One did go and became world famous (Persis Khambatta)
During our teens, barber's visit to our household was a weekly affair. All brothers would be lined up for a ceremonial crew cut. My dad would personally oversee the arrangements with visible fulfillment. On the contrary, when I went bald in course of time (I must confess the course has been rather too short) my mother would apply the latest prepared paste, potion or any other oil concoction on my scalp and cry, for a baldy groom ( I was unmarried) appears over aged beside would not fetch a decent dowry in the marriage market.
I firmly believe and my sincere advise to all baldy brethren is - don't waste your hard earned money on oils, tonics, grafting, weaving, wig,, etc. all these are rackets run by haired to rob we poor hair nots.
– ( from the collection BALD IS BEAUTIFUL 2000 )
Published in Alive March 2000