Apparently I had never been giving my body its zinc requirements. So it decided to extract revenge against me and made my hair go grey. Yes, you may crack your inappropriate paati jokes now but let me tell you, its also an indicator of my boundless wisdom.
This has been around for quite a few years now, and my hair has been subject to all sorts of experiments thanks to my very concerned mother. She bought me all kinds fancy shampoo which didn’t work, tablets which I conveniently forgot to take and ofcourse, “the last resort”, permanent colour which I did after months of brand research and colour matching. I eventually ended up with the wrong colour, which is a story I will save for another day.
Of all the bogus treatments I’ve subjected my hair too, the one I remember distinctly was the one time I was forced to go to this one “Vaidyashala”. It was one of my mothers finer attempts at making my hair behave.
The place reeked of…well, I don’t really know, but it wasn’t pleasant either. The “doctor” there was this big man with a bald head and a beard that was long enough to reach the floor. The only thing which was more impressive than his beard was his stomach which seemed to defy gravity.
My mother repeated the same story about how she had tried sooo many treatments and how some helpful friend directed us here and I nodded my head at the required intervals, as it was always with every new doc we saw. It was almost like a well rehearsed routine.
The doctor stroked his beard wisely and talked about how the “yelemends” of my body were in disproportionate arrangement and about how if I put 3 teaspoons of his ayurvedic preparation into my head, my hair would “grow like a waterfall”, much like his beard, which would have actually been quite an impressive feat.
He then decided that my skin was in pretty sad shape and recommended that I apply another one of his witches brews, or ayurvedic formulae to my skin so that I would “shine like sun”.
Yes, it wasn’t long before I realized he was a simile person.
After much rummaging in his cupboard (which was full of smells and other shady things) he brought out 2 packets of similar looking brown powders. To the uninitiated, it would have looked like hot chocolate mix which smelled like an asthma attack. He started giving instructions on what is for what, and that was the precise moment I zoned out.
The next morning, as I shuffled into the bathroom for my wake-up call/shower, I noticed 2 bowls of brown gloop in the place of my beloved Fructis shampoo and apricot scrub.
“Ammmaaaaaa” I groaned, from inside the bathroom.
“Padmaaaaaaaa!” I heard my father. “There’s a man in the bathroom!”
“Aiyo, appa, its me! Ask amma what those bowls are for!”
“Ennadhu? Holes a? There are holes in the bathroom?”
“Ya, bowls with brown stuff”
“Holes with brown stuff a? Enna did someone forget to flush?”
“Use it with a brush? I’m not sure, ask amma no?”
“Oh so your mother is the culprit?”
“Enna pa solra?” (What are you saying, pa?)
“Nee ennadi solra?” (What are YOU saying?)
Clearly, the bathroom acoustics weren’t helping us. So I opened the door and told him that the issue wasn’t a plumbing malfunction but the brown goop in question.
Ever ready to help, my father started to holler from where he was standing.
“Padmaaaaaa!! Which bowl is for which?”
And my mom promptly started hollering from the kitchen
“Left-la irukardhu hair, right-la irukardhu face!”
“Ennadhu? Right for the hair, left for the face?”
“Illa! Right face, left hair!”
“Ok, so left hair, right face”
“So its the left for hair?”
“No, its right for face”
“I didn’t say that”
“I know, thats why I’m saying”
As I closed the door in sleepy frustration, I could hear laughing. Fathers.
The consequences of my not paying attention didn’t hit me until 5 minutes later when I reached for the shampoo, but instead had to choose between two bowls of similar looking gloop. Left or right?
Left was for hair, right. Yes it was. Or was it the right? No, left. But didn’t Appa say right? No, that was for face. Or was it? Oh what the hell I thought. Was it really going to make a difference? And for a fleeting moment the doctor’s bald head flashed in my head. It had indeed been “shining like sun”. And consequently, his waist length beard. What if I became bald? And grew a beard “like waterfall”?
Vivid of my mother screaming AIYOOO and my father going “Oh no! Now I have to write my entire life savings as dowry!” popped in my head.
By this time, my fingers had gone all prune-like since all these thoughts had passed when the shower was still running and I had to make a decision before I had wasted enough water to fill an olympic size pool.
Left or right?
Waterfall like beard.
Bald head shining like sun.
Amma’s silent scream and AIYOOOOO
Appa’s life savings.
Then I did what anybody would have done in that situation. I dumped both bowls of gloop onto the floor and used my dad’s head and shoulders on my hair and trusty apricot scrub on my face. They may not work as the ads say they do, but I could be assured of a non-shining head and waterfall beard.
As I dried out and came to the living room, my mother immediately tried to examine the results of her brilliant naturopathy idea, and sighed – “Cha, no difference.”
And thank god for that.