You know how people say they have bad hair days?
I feel like asking them to shut the fuck up. I have had bad hair years. Decades even.
Since my school allowed only half an inch of hair per head, the overwhelming temptation of having long hair took over as soon as I passed out. Partly due to all the wonderful Hindi songs where the hero would serenade his chick in the hills, running his hand through his hair. And partly because I would look like a chipmunk if I continued having half an inch of hair on my head.
And so, I set out on a long, arduous journey of discovering the true destiny of my hair.
The journey began on a painful, heartbreaking note.
It was the year 2002. Tere Naam had released.
Yes, that film where Salman Khan had hair that looked authentic and real, like Rakhi Sawant’s boobs. The hair was parted in the middle, and came down in slimy semi-circles on both sides. The kind of hair that might make you seem like Snape’s second cousin.
Of course, I didn’t think on the above lines back then.
I adopted the hairstyle, and walked around in public for two years. In any other country, I would have been shot. But India, after all, is a liberal place.
The Tere Naam hairstyle can be at once, eye-catching, and gut-wrenching. I had to spend a good twenty minutes in front of the mirror with Brylcreem Protein Cream, a white lubricant sort of hair cream that transformed you from high school teenager to neighbourhood pedophile in minutes.
The result of that hairstyle was out there for everyone to see – I spoke to a total of three girls in two years.
With the onset of college, came a free-spirited hairstyle – The Spikes.
The spikes would of course, go on to become the most abused hairstyle, till today used in the stereotyping of Yo-men.
But like the tragedy goes, I didn’t know it back then.
I cut off my Tere Naam hair for a cleaner ‘Spikes’ look.
It was disaster from the beginning. My saloon, ‘Lotus Men’s Hair Style’ had photos of Ricky Martin (who I later found, was gay), Hrithik Roshan, and Shah Rukh on the hoarding.
The barbers inside, were like Sanjay Manjrekar. Strictly mediocre, but could managed to mildly surprise you on the odd day. They were trained to trim and cut hair, and then give the customer a nice shoulder and head massage, rubbing and slapping their shoulders, and twisting their hands till a groan of ‘hmmmm’ escaped their lips.
And here I was, telling them of this new hairstyle called Spikes, which only had hair in the front, and very less hair elsewhere. And that the hair in the front be just enough so that it kind of stood up. Not too much, just a little bit.
The blank stare that I got in response was discouraging. It took me at least 10 minutes to explain what I wanted. After nodding like a buffalo, he would go ahead and do whatever the fuck he wanted. After a few times, I carried a photo of Aamir Khan from Dil Chahta Hai to him, and gave him Informercial like instruction and he got it correct.
After getting the hair somewhat upto my expectations, I had another problem at hand. Hair Gel.
Gels were an expensive affair, and my job as a customer care executive wouldn’t allow me the luxury. One day, my serendipity led me to a store called My Dollar Store. Every item in this store cost exactly 99 rupees. Each and every item. The store was dying, and might have had a maximum of ten customers a day.
The items were mostly imported, with pictures of smiling white people on the covers, but somehow didnt seem very trustworthy. One of the things I chanced upon at the store was a bottle of hair gel.
Yes. An entire bottle of hair gel. One Kilo. For 99 rupees.
Needless to say, I bought it. The gel was like someone took a lot of Camel Gum and added some white stuff to it, and packaged it. But my joy at having as much hair gel as I wanted led me to applying a healthy amount on the little hair, I had in the front. Which meant that my hair stood like rock. Making me look like a douchebag. This hairstyle was proudly worn for about three years.
Years of having the wrong hairstyle for years is discouraging. Like sharing a one BHK with Arnab Goswami.
I finally gave up.
If I appeared in a shampoo ad in the next few years, I would be a zombie that didn’t give a fuck. Being a University helped, because most people have given up there. So I just went with the flow, randomly going to Gaylords – the worst salon in the world.
Along the journey, came many shortlived but equally outrageous hairstyles. Like the Ram is a Good Boy Look, the Chutiya Bengali Nerd look – frustration and anger taking over once every few weeks.
Many, many years ago, a young prince had gotten frustrated with the everyday too. He gave up. Prince Sidhartha later went on to realise the truth, and gain enlightenment.
Hair was never supposed to be cut.
Think about it. Who are the people who have hairstyles? Employees, film stars, models in advertisements.
People who are under some pressure to look a certain way because their work demands it. Think of how stupid it is. How does it matter if an employee has long hair, if he is good at what he does?
Having a hairstyle comes when you are under pressure to conform to something.
Now think about the people who have long hair.
Rockstars, footballers, poets, babas. Basically, guys who don’t give a fuck. They dont need to conform to any norms, and dont really care if they are called shabby or junglee or whatever the fuck.
And it doesnt always mean that peope who have long hair are hippies. All you need to tie it, and you have a formal look. People with long hair can also mean business.
More than anything else, I think the guys who let their hair be, subscribe to another school of thought.
There are so many things you could do in a day. Why waste it on trying to look good for someone else, who doesn’t really give a rat’s ass about you.
So as I stood there, at the end of the journey, the truth shone upon me like bright, white light.
So fuck you moronic barbers, fuck you hair gels, fuck you asshole models with sharp haircuts.
I am not going down that lane again.