Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Baal baal dekho, hazar baar dekho

When hair is everything, can shampoo be far behind?

I have scant memories and feelings for my first boyfriend but turn into mushy over-cooked porridge when I think of my first ever shampoo from the US. This was the first time someone had made me feel like a Mills and Boon heroine - sighing and perpetually weak at her knees.  After years of an arranged match with sanskari Halo Green Apple that smelt nothing like green apples, White Linen was like a breath of fresh hair. My knight in a bottle was tall, smelt so posh and big. Of course size matters! 

During my college years it was my most prized possession. Once when I got a whiff of its perfume from my brother’s crown I promptly sniffed out his stash of chocolates from their hiding place in Tora Bora and finished them all in one sitting.

Revenge had never tasted this sweet. 

How dare he contaminate my beloved with his touch! It is not often that a girl is blessed with a presence that repairs, rejuvenates,  restores her tresses to its browning glory. And when it does happen, she wants it all for herself and clutch it so tightly that it asphyxiates.

Tell me, is there a better feeling than your hair smelling like a French perfume while it feels like Dove! You want to stroke it like it were your pet. Toss it over your Head and Shoulders.  Sway it like a cow’s tail.  Wind it around your neck like a silk scarf. Twirl it seductively. I still can’t get women who have embraced reetha, amla, shikakai and other herbal wonders and are okay with their hair smelling like a compost!

How can you subject yourself to so much cruelty? I would like to escalate this to the higher ups. Why can’t jasmine, rose, sandalwood be as good for the hair as they are for the body! How dare you delegate onions, eggs, fenugreek, amla instead as elixir and make our follicles smell like a man’s armpit! 

One of the cardinal rules of femininity is that hair is meant to look WOW in its glossy glory and smell even better. Sadly, the journey to her sweetheart shampoo who is 7 times hydrating, uplifting and nourishing than anyone we’ve worked up a lather with is way tougher than a trek to Nanda Devi. It is paved with frustration, hairfall, dandruff, split-ends and frizz. 

Each time it’s the same story. Our curiosity is piqued when we hear so many friends rave about this hot new thing in the market and its stellar performance. Soon we start craving and fantasising about it’s velvety touch on our scalp. 

After much deliberation,  the shampoo of our desire  makes a grand entry in our lives , backed by a seductive ad campaign, lofty promises, great reviews and 100% satisfaction guaranteed. Our heart flutters excitedly like a pigeon in heat when we hold it for the first time in our hands.  We give it a gentle squeeze. The image of Dimple Kapadia of the 80s emerging out of the pool like a nymph and washing her gorgeous mane vigorously with Crowning Glory soap is playing in a loop in our heads. 

Fuelled by hope of a happily ever after, our under the shower singing shows an exponential improvement interspersed with some heavy Pantene. Even the cockroaches in the shower stall nod approvingly. Sadly, life has other plans for us. After a few hair-raising attempts to get close, ‘what the fuck is wrong with me’ rants, ‘let me try again, maybe it was just a bad day’ reassurances, we give up on each other. 

There are phases when we get so desperate we throw all caution to the wind . We engage in a dangerous game of one night stands and flings with unknown brands and end up feeling even worse than a dry day. Chastise ourselves for not being loyal to one brand of shampoo all our lives irrespective of its virility, like our Moms. 

Our bunch of loser hair cleansers now form a dejected line of rejects on our bathroom shelves, looking sad and forlorn for having failed to sizzle our senses with their promised chemistry. 

But there comes a day when we finally meet someone with a Clean and Clear reputation, who sashays into our lives and turns our bereft of hope, high and dry hair into Sunsilk

A good hair phase is even better than great sex! Everything looks pretty. Even the dugout roads, mountains of rubble look picturesque and the screechy scooter tailing you sounds like Lata Mangeshkar. 

Straight haired people don’t have it this bad. Life's a Breeze for them. Unlike the curly haired ones ones they don’t have to look for argan infused with rare minerals from Chechnya, hibiscus hernia, cider vinegar with a side of Ashwatthama, Bhrihanala and Karela to infuse magic in their stubborn, unruly tresses. 

With age we become even more finicky and demanding. But we also become wise enough to accept that just a shampoo will never be enough for us . So we resort to performance enhancers like hair packs, souffles, serums, intensely intense  moisture surge conditioners to infuse some excitement in our deadlocks.

Of course a part of us knows, hair today is gone tomorrow. Like everything else in life even lustrous kesh is transient and sometimes elusive. Even when it becomes brittle and grey with time, we pat it reassuringly.  Even when we lose all of it to ravages of a debilitating disease. We bid adieu to it and our stash of lovingly collected shampoos with a brave smile and promptly start searching online for colourful bandanas and scarfs. 


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