Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Tale of a Head


This afternoon while returning from the laundry ‘shop’ under the Peepul I was unsure whether my dress was washed and pressed well…But yeah I was sure of the fact that I was totally washed off, apart from a couple of other things.

I am unemployed. I am broke. I LOOK penniless!
And yeah,
World is a cruel Place.

Whether you quit, were fired or got caught in a time of layoffs, being unemployed is no fun. This fact had ultimately struck me hard. 😦

I remembered those halcyon old days when ‘Coin collection’ used to be my hobby. I grew up and learnt to call it Numismatics. Gradually the hobby left me and my sister grabbed it. A few ‘precious’ coins were handed down to her and I became one of the facilitators of her collection…

I would collect rare coins without making an effort to do so and pass them onto her.
Until today…when it dawned on me that Coin collection was too expensive a hobby for bankrupt people like me 😦

The story unfolded one autumn morning last September when I got a rare coin from a bookstore. It was a commemorative 5 rupee coin of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore minted to celebrate his 150th Birth anniversary. It was exciting to find someone other than Gandhiji on currency. I also came to find that there happened to be another 150 rupee coin of Tagore… But I knew the limits of my affordability. Recession had already started so I resolved to stay content with the 150÷30 figure!! Ahhaa 5 was a fabulous number 🙂

It adorned my purse since then. I would sometimes run out of change with nothing other than the 5 rupee coin and more often than not I would run out of money in total! BUT ..the Head on the coin would nod me a No to be given away.

I remember…
I had to smile like a kitty to an old woman at the Vegetable store and she let me off with a round figure of 70 Rs.
I had to fight with a Rickshaw Bhaiya when he refused to let me go without a 5 rupee more.
I had to use all my convincing power on an Ice cream vendor when after biting into the Orange lolly I discovered I had no change/ Money ( Money to be Honest 😛 ).Panting,I had run home and with the Ice cream dripping all over my T-shirt, I had rushed to keep my promise.

And Not just this…
I ALSO had to cutely gape and wink at a guy in the metro station counter so that he wouldn’t lose patience and let me wait till somebody from the queue would hand him the precious 5 rupee change. Aaand It had worked then!! 😛

Those were the days when atleast I ‘looked’ rich and credible. Toady even this myth was melted.
I frantically ransacked my entire wallet. Papers, Pocket Calenders,Empty ATM Slips,Credit Cards, Lucky Charm tokens, Dry Flowers from Temple visits…and what not!! But No Money! I “researched” and out came The Head.
I Half prayed that the laundry man didnot see it. But Alas good luck had become a scanty resource for me these days.

It was a matter of exactly 5 rupees and he couldn’t understand why I fussed over handing him the coin. Mr.Tagore stared at me. The head nodding again saying ” So are YOU the ambassador of Colonial era??…the India of abject penury??”… ashamed at my misery, I promised that having treasured him for months, I wouldn’t bid adieu today…

Staring with an oh-so-innocent look at the Laundry man…I crossed my fingers, fumbled into my jeans…perhaps my trick would work this time as well!

But NAAAAA…I had already overturned my pockets, already upturned my purse and having seen that all, he stood as adamant as he could.
I started negotiating, what if I mortgaged those clothes for a while and came back to fetch the money. But No!! He glanced at the dress and decided it wasn’t worth it… what if I didn’t return??? Foolish Man…couldn’t even realize that the expensive dress was also a gift/ donation 🙂 and I was bound to come back and collect it…

I realized with a worn out T-shirt and ragged jeans I was not only poor but I looked poor as well 😦

And after all the staunch argument, hue and cry, I saw plump Auntys peeping from their windows and felt embarrassment burn holes in my face apart from my pocket. I gave up. Gaped furiously at his head, violently nodded my head, surrendered that valued Head and stared up at the windows to face those curious heads.

Marching back towards home I smiled at my fate…I was alone again. The Head,Tagore’s Head had gone. But his voice echoed in already clogged corners of my Head ” Jodi tor đak shune keu na ashe tôbe êkla chôlo re,Êkla chôlo, êkla chôlo, êkla chôlo, êkla chôlo re…
If they answer not to thy call walk alone, walk alone, walk alone…”

And I mulled over…
The indignation of being bullied by a laundry man, the gloom of having lost The Head and the Despair of having hung my Head,tortured my braindead Head.

Well Tagore or no Tagore… This tale of a Head has fed a fact into my Head…
” I would Walk and I would walk alone. Not Because I was ever alone but because O Precious Head,YOU have left me. Because I have no more money in my wallet and because no rickshaw would be generous enough to give me a free ride!! 😦  So I would walk alone…So, tôbe êkla chôlo re! Êkla chôlo, êkla chôlo, êkla chôlo, êkla chôlo re……”

Gone!! :( :(


They said it grows back. They said Its just a matter of time. They said its just a few strands of keratin after all… But a month passed by and not a hint of their promises visible yet.  I know Hair Goes. But Hair Never Grows. 😦

It was not just keratin.. It was my hair!! M Y   H A I R!!!

The sea level may rise 0.10 metres in a couple of decades..but my hair grows only 0.001 millimetre in a decade !!  And this very fact makes me feel rotten and decayed 😦

It had accepted a long journey from being shoved off in a Boys Barber Shop to being treated with overpriced spas in Lakme…From being bent, rolled, curled with Hair stylers from Paris …to never being combed for days together… From Hair grown, Hair fall, Hair loss…and now to Hair Gone!!! A long journey indeed.

At three, I could hardly wash my hands clean…But I knew too well to roll the drier like a beauty queen. Those were from Paris..gifts from my Uncle…and My Mummy didn’t know how to use them…so I was “forced” to take lead. 😛

After so much of struggle in becoming a self-taught hair stylist…I would be devastated every week when My cruel Granny and My Brutal Daddy would drag me by my arms to a barber’s shop and chop off my Head…Sorry.. I mean My Hair…But they are equivalent though :).. .. and that was when My Mummy had gone away to do her Masters…

School passed away…studies took over style and physics over fashion…My Head got preoccupied with what was In it rather than what was On it…

College started. College finished . I went unnoticed. The waves had given way to noodles then and four years slipped away intertwined in them.

JOB came . MONEY flowed….PRUDENCE followed …FRUGALITY seeped in and ASCETICISM creeped in.
Even the cheapest shampoo would seem utterly expensive after all the Cost Benefit Analysis…“so many ml..for sooooo many rupees!!??!!”  DROP IT!!

And there then I was crowned with  a Nest!!!…and this time I went from being unnoticed …to Ignored.

One Day The Bird woke. The Nest Broke.

I left the Job. Took up what my heart yearned to do.
I guess the best part of my life had started. I enjoyed being a Student..not just with wisdom but with wits as well.

Money was gone BUT  Charity came on. 🙂
I realised why so many people in India beg—Salary flows but Charity Overflows!! Gosh!!!
and I realised how there is always a difference between Daddy’s Money and yours.Asceticism vanished and materialism conquered… 😛

LAK ME…Take Me…!!
And they did!! The discount tempted me to ultimately do it….I Straightened my hair!!

It cost me  a fortune from my charity fund… But the joy of having it long and lusty…made me smile into the mirror for a almost a month… 😛

Spent Sleepless nights..lest the straightening would go away with the karate shots I practised in my sleep…Not so much for the look as much for the rupaiyah they took!!

Those days I felt like Brains with some Beauty as well 😀
For the first time what was on my head exponentially enhanced what was in it as well. Confidence,Cognizance and Compliments!!!

Results of a life defining exam were out. and there was Celebration as well!
Aaahh Life was a bliss!

Months passed. Strands curled.
I realised I had carved my niche in the world.

Results of another exam were awaited…
as split ends appeared unabated..

With daddy building a Bungalow, charity hit an all time low 😦
Austerity measures struck me hard.
I forgot those Expensive shampoos and conditioners I once had.
And with no money inside my wallet..
i decided to grow into a middle class mindset!!

Split ends cried for a long waited hair cut…
but empty purses screamed ‘if’ and ‘but’..

I thought..Giving away my precious hair with my precious money to those salon people??!!
Naaah..never…!Too profligate…
At Home. I thought..i would try my fate.

I convinced my PG aunty somehow…
But who knew the fateful day would be such fated now… 😦 😦 😦

Poor lady!! she mistook the short flicks at the face for the real length…
Aaaaaand….with a whish whush whash…. half of it was gone….

I felt…she had cut a little more….
but when I glanced at the ground…Oohhhhh came a roar…

sweat ran down my forehead and hers as well…

we both ran to a nearby Salon…my head covered in my jackets hood.
The knowing seeped in “Everything is destined my friend… The Salon… They can cut my hair..but I can’t cut their daily bread.”

She chit chatted more than she did her work…about how I was prettier than most other girls of Odisha she met… x(

I wish I could believe that… But her shoddy job with my already shoddy hair, devastated me beyond repair 😦

I came back home. Couldnot even scream into the mirror…lest my aunty would be guilty. It was certainly not her fault. I had faltered to give proper instructions…Ofcourse she didn’t know about any razor-laser stuff 😦
I silently wept myself to sleep…

Results of the exams followed….Pathetic. I had flunked :(:(

with the straight hair gone and creepy curls making way…I was sure to convince Daddy for some more Generous grants for another straightening session…But that was before the results. 😦

He didn’t know what the first session cost me yet… Mummy and I had fooled him then.

What he knew was, it was “high”…and that if somebody kidnapped me in total…he wouldn’t pay that much to get ME back…let alone my hair!! 😛 😦

But what he didn’t know was my definition of “high” was 10 times his!!

Dear lord…with hair gone,
Fate torn….
Exams screwed
and daddy rude..
what more??

I told daddy…”straight hair was my lucky charm…perhaps if I straighten it again I might pass the next test soon??!!”
But NO! NO NO NOOOOOO!!! None of it this time!!

I am told to stop being a beauty freak and start being a geek!!
Perhaps that would save me.

until then should I go on…??

Curly hair… Very fair..Teachers pet..is that you??
yes. Yes. YESS!!

No! Naaah! Never!!!

Rather…
No hair… Utter despair…Cursing your fate..is that you??
Oh yes!Yes!!Yes!!!

P.S: Tell me how many of you suffered this plight..so that I know I am not the lone cry baby!! 😛