“Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair, so that I may climb the golden stair”
As a kid, Rapunzel and her hair fascinated me. I used to dream of me being Rapunzel and letting my hair down the window. Rapunzel was my role model. Correction- Rapunzel is my role model !
I am a malayali and come from a place where long thick hair is the ultimate sign of beauty. Hair length is significantly correlated with female attractiveness, as rated by men as well as women.
“Kids have short hair. You can grow your hair when you are BIG”, mom used to tell me every time she dragged me for a haircut, when I was a kid. I was maybe seven when I asked, “How big is big to have long hair?” and she set the age as 12. After that declaration, each birthday that came was special because I was getting closer to the age to “grow my hair”.
I remember the joy of getting my hair tied in a pony tail for the first time; and my happiness had no bounds when my hair grew long enough to be braided. For a year or so, my favorite past time was to get my mom braid my hair and to measure its length; and if ever she told me that my braid has got longer- she knew she had a good daughter at the dinner table that night.
As I grew older, hair became very very important not just to me but for the entire family.
Oiling my hair was a weekly ritual. The oil was not any hair oil available in the market; it was a special mix of castor and coconut oil warmed to a certain temperature before adding drops of lemon (soaked in lukewarm water for two hours). Every fortnight I had a special conditioning hair pack, prepared with measured portions of coconut oil, egg whites, yoghurt and lemon. And once a month I had the special Neelibhringadi oil massage. Neelibhringadi has a coconut oil base and prepared with herbs like Indian gooseberry, coconut milk, eclipta alba, cardiospermm, halicacabum, centella, asiatica, bacopa monnieri, indigofera tinctora, glycyrhiza glabra, abrus precatorius. This is a special preparation to cool the head and fight hair loss. All this did wonders to my hair. I had waist long thick hair (kids in my class would hide pencils in my hair and have a tough time finding it back).
My mom would proudly show off my hair ( as her achievement) to people. My grandmother would enquire in those international calls, “Is her hair growing long? Does it have volume?” Life was all good and I was close to being ‘the’ Rapunzel until…
I graduated from high school and was leaving for college in India; dad went silent for days- he didn’t know how life would be without his only child around, mom panicked realizing that my hair routine will go hay way.
During the first six months in hostel, I had just five people complimenting my hair, four changes in the shampoo brands (ayur, nyle, pantene, dove) , thrice missed oiling my hair, two food poisoning and not to miss my first alarming case of hair fall. Taking things in hand and in a fit, I booked an appointment at the nearest hair dresser and got my beautiful long tresses chopped right up to the shoulder; and there began my mom’s blood pressure increase!
Life took twists and turns (all reflected on my hair and mom’s blood pressure) ; I decided to return home. I was excited about my decision.
As I walked out through the green channel in the airport, I thought I saw my mom’s smile turn into a frown. Dad hugged me tight but when I got to mom, “What on earth has happened to your hair? Why is it so thin?”
Eight months have passed since then and I have promised my mom and myself to have knee length hair (which will probably take me another seven years). We are almost back on track with the hair care regime but with additions; I get a hot oil massage done once a month from a hair salon, my diet is “hair-healthier”, I use the egg-yoghurt-lemon-oil hair pack, weekly oil massages and the latest of all, mom blowing into my wet hair (an age old Kerala tradition to ward off evil eye casted on beautiful hair)!
For all of you reading this and who want to grow long hair, Join the Club! Register your support and lets create a forum where we discuss our hair issues and exchange tips (would require atleast ten supporting members for this).
Please note-hair loss, extreme dryness or any sudden change in your hair’s condition may be due to a medical condition, often thyroid issues. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is imperative that you seek advice from a qualified medical practitioner rather than from my blog. Some quick tips for “that” hair:
• Avoid using any heated appliances. It disturbs the basic structure of your hair.
• Don’t use any harsh chemicals. You will damage your hair follicles and that is the end of it!
• Try to avoid chlorine and saltwater. It causes hair falls.
• Never put your hair in any kind of style that will put undue stress on the individual hairs; again bad for the hair follicles.
• Avoid extreme diets. If your body isn’t getting enough nutrition, neither is your hair.
Most important (this comes with time and experience), it is not all about the hair. It is the person. No matter how long or short your hair is, you are a beautiful person and that’s what matters.
Having said that, I STILL WANT LONG HAIR!