I don't remember when the story of my long hair started. But I remember cutting it short. That was when I was a Class 5 student. Studied in a small school near home till 4th, the city school where I joined in class 5 opened a new world in front of me. The city girls who had their hair cut short and styled made me jealous. Mine, I felt, was too long and unattractive.
Those days a barber used to come home to give a haircut to my father and brother. With new styles flashing in mind, I coaxed my mother to let me cut mine too. She was so fed up by my demand and gave a "yes" during the busy morning chores. Gleefully, I went and sat in front of the barber who was doubtful if I had actually got permission to cut my hair. I ascertained and gave him the go ahead. His scissors went around my head from and cropped my waist-long hair above my ears.
In joy of my achievement, I stood in front of the mirror for hours together combing the way Indira Gandhi did - for a strange reason. My father once told me that Indira Gandhi's birth star was same as mine. (I still don't know if it's true!) I thought the tress makeover was the perfect step to become like India's iron woman! In the very thought, I held my head high.
But the reaction my achievement evoked was something that I never expected. Friends, relatives, neighbours were all flabbergasted with my new look. Their reactions all started with - "How could you..." "Who did that.." "Why did you..." It made me feel my new style was a disaster. Little did I care for the shiny lock that was chopped and dumped.
But my hair didn't deceive me. It was loyal and grew back to its glory in less than a year. Unmindful of elders in the family warning me against leaving it open for the "evil eyes", I displayed it with pride.
During Onam, we had swings on trees that doubled up as hair dryer too. I would swing with all vigour with my head thrown back leaving my wet hair flow down. It would be dry in no time.
Years went by. My life changed with the cities I went on work. Change in water, air and weather took a toll on my hair. My loyal lock fought hard though it has been reduced to a faint memory of its old self. I can go for any style now by cutting it short or in layers, stealing it of its identity. My relatives or friends may not question me any more as they have accepted all other changes of mine. But I think now it's my turn to be loyal.