Dye fighting

I wasn’t ready for it when the greying of my hair had already started. It took over my head with suddenness and a third of my head has been conquered by it. I offered no resistance – not even the occasional coconut oil massage. My only defence has been the argument that my early greying genes are to blame, made worse by the stress which is an occupational hazard, and which is something I cant anyway control. But I know that these are mere words to console myself, and wont change the fact that I am destined to lose this battle and there is no way to recover this lost Crown. All I can do is to decide the fate of all the greying hair that have surrendered.

That Salt and Pepper look

The euphemism used for greying hair is the ‘salt-and-pepper look’, which somehow makes it sound palatable and mildly sexy too. I suspect this was started by someone too lazy to paint them again and again. Lets face it, it isn’t a convincing tag and looks good only on George Cloony, and never got applied to women. The second best attempt is to apply Mehndi  – the fact that it is natural somehow makes it an honest attempt at coloring. Well-tried, but no. Whats worse than white strands of hair, are red strands of hair on an Indian skin tone and a thick gold chain on that neck… ok that gold chain is going overboard, but you get the point.

What makes me uncomfortable about the approaching whiteness is that it is irreversible and a reminder of our mortality – the whiter they are, the closer you are to the end. Even though most don’t spend a nice Sunday afternoon thinking and writing about it, but it instinctively makes people nervous and this fear is hardwired in our mammalian brain. This fear has spawned the entire cosmetic industry, all to camouflage the simple truth of our mortality.

I have noticed that the only people who seem to comment on my hair are the ones who seem to be struggling with it themselves. It is almost as if anyone not in their gang of mortals-with-colored-hair is a threat to their bluff that they are trying to pull-off in collaboration with Godrej hair dye. While they look at my hair with concern, I cant help but look closely at the tell-tails signs of their own greying and their attempts at hiding it – the white roots of jet black hair, or the discolouration of hair as if they are from a planet where hair turn bronze and not white with age.

My issue is less to do with the aesthetics of grey hair but more with the expectations that come with greying. It somehow implies maturity and takes away my right to behave immaturely, a fundamental right I wish to retain for ever. It makes me look older and maybe mildly tired, even though I am feeling younger and stronger and more at ease now than at any other point in my life – the best ever me. Or maybe it is just my own Reticular Activating system of my brain (that part of the brain which will now start making you notice all the people with grey hair, or rather, the lack of them around you) which is picking up selective stimuli coming my way about greying hair, and which is making me hypersensitive to the casually lobbed comments by friends.

My initial laziness about colouring my hair has now taken refuge behind a philosophical construct, which is now justifying my total inaction and vindicating me. Its my way to tell SRK that it is not ok for him to play the young college kid anymore, or some superhero, and to chill. It is my Pièce de résistanceagainst the societal pressure to conform. Not Colouring them is about being Real and Authentic, about fully accepting who you really are and being at ease with yourself. This argument taken to the extreme would mean the end of all cosmetic industry, all of us looking our age and realising the true meaning of living without illusionsBut it would also lead to the downfall of Angelina Jolie  and Madhuri Dixit from grace and dent my illusion of their eternal beauty, which would make it a Pyrrhic victory for me. I would rather Dye than let that happen.

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