Grey is Good | Flash Post 426
My mother spotted my first grey hair when I was 23 while applying oil. Both my thakuma (father’s mother) and didima (mother’s mother) had instructed her to use mahabhringaraj hair oil for my lustrous waist-long and poker straight hair. Now, in India, girls with fair skin and long hair were certified candidates for marriage in those days in comparison to their darker-skinned counterparts and my wheatish complexion together with the grey in my hair put my family through more stress because they feared I would not get married.
That’s weird. How does complexion and a strand or two of grey hair have anything to do with getting married!
Well, I did get married despite my complexion and the few pigmented strands. As I grew older, the grey multiplied till it was almost 30 percent and I was just 40. I blamed my father’s genes because he too had fully greyed by the time he was 30.
Don’t tell me you coloured your hair!
When my friend Anju forcefully applied mehndi, I was not excited. Firstly, I did not like the unnatural black mass framing my wheat-complexioned face that did not do anything for me and, instead, seemed totally fake, though Dost and my daughters were happy that they didn’t have to see my young face—as they described it—looking older because of the grey. Different people, different takes!
Did you make any changes?
I couldn’t. It took a while of course for the black mehndi-coloured hair, gradually fading to an orange, to grow out. And then I discovered tiny grey shoots emerging. I felt thoroughly confused about what I should do next! The family insisted that I stop applying mehndi because they did not like the after effects and start colouring my hair with the real thing.
Why did you not put your foot down? Or did you actually want to dye your hair?
I listened to the family, chopped of the portion that had turned orange from the mehndi application and started bearing the torture of colouring, streaking and tweaking my hair every time the grey bits emerged.
Did you ever feel like giving it up and going natural?
Many a times but the family felt otherwise, especially Dost.
And today? When you have a head full of grey hair?
The pandemic took a call on my behalf. Beginning March of 2020 when we were under lockdown and I was unable to visit a parlour for root touch-ups, streaking, tweaking, tonging and whatever else, my greys that were left alone flourished. They grew and grew and grew without being ragged, tugged, pulled and harrassed into submission.
But it looks good on you and, most importantly, you seem comfortable.
When I look around, I see a lot of elderly ladies going forward with that thatch of salt and pepper hair or sometimes even totally grey hair. Some of the hair styles they have been flaunting with natural coloured hair are so stunning that I am tempted to try out one myself.
I know the family doesn’t care much for your choice.
It’s all about getting used to something. Dost, in particular, liked the way I looked when I coloured my hair and now that I have taken a call to keep my grey hair, he’s okay with it and, I guess, liking it too.