I just cut my hair real short. When I say short, I mean nothing like I have ever seen myself in before. And as much as I am in denial about it, I wouldn’t want you to be stunned or shocked when you see me without my long tresses the next time around. Chopping off hair that seems to have taken forever to have grown, isn’t the best feeling on earth.
The last time I dared to get rid of my hair was probably when I was nine or 10 years old. That was a very long time ago. But my incredibly awesome (not to forget affordable) stylist Glenda, who runs the Bhang Ladies Hairdresser (Colaba’s best-kept secret so far) and has been the only person to have absolute control over my hair for the last eight years, oozed some confidence in me when she got that scissor and comb out yesterday.
“Let’s make you look different this time,” she said.
“How?” I asked, assuming I would once again be settling for the ‘layers’ and ‘fringe’.
“I have never done this,” I argued.
“It’s time you make that change.”
I looked at her nonplussed, but eventually, let her have a way.
That’s how Glenda’s scissor lost count of the number of strands it had literally cut to size. Five minutes later, staring back at me in the mirror was the reflection of a girl I couldn’t recognise from Adam.
“Who are you?” Glenda joked as I left her salon. For a second, I thought her dry humour was intended at extolling her own hair styling skills, but when I came face to face with my student – from the college where I teach – on the road, and she walked passed me like the two of us had always been strangers from Mars, I knew she wasn’t wrong.
We women love our hair, don’t we? If we do part with it, there has to be a good enough reason or so, many assume.
When a friend caught up with me for lunch a day after I was strutting around with very little hair for comfort, she assumed I had come undone.
“Are you suffering from heart-break…no wait, quarter-life crisis? All okay, Jane?” she asked.
The questions poured in so rapidly that I didn’t even get a moment to explain that all was under control, and that there were no real cloud burst in my realm.
“Just wanted some change,” I said.
But even as my friend continued the barrage of questions, I couldn’t help thinking how we often tend to associate ‘change’ as something that is implemented to offset the negative elements in our lives. Can’t the reason for change be change itself?
Personally, for me, cutting my hair short was all about seeking out something new within me. Because the sheer willingness to rid myself of the long tresses that had so wonderfully lived outside of me, was an act of braving up to a loss. In accepting that loss, and agreeing to cut it off, I was somehow opening myself to a new way of life. Going short, meant looking different, and looking different meant a renewed me. It’s not shallow to seek changes in the small little things that are part of our day to day existence, because that’s what first opens you up to the very idea of ‘change’ itself.
Because while God/ the Universe is still figuring out a plan for us and has momentarily stilled the wheels that were once in perfect motion, it’s upon us to will new things to happen to us. Unless we don’t seek out change, how can we ever feel equipped to handle the bigger changes, that are often beyond our control.
When I got out from that salon the other day, I could barely contain my happiness. If you saw me, you wouldn’t fail to notice that spring in my step. I wasn’t the Jane with long hair anymore. I felt lighter, younger, confident and bubblier. Most importantly, I thought I was unrecognisable – invisible to the world that had come to accept me as a part of its own. I thought I had changed. In reality, it was only my hair. Sometimes, that’s all it takes.