An illustration by one of my old friends recently got me ticking about something that has been on my mind and head (literally!) for a long time. Gravity defying self organizing structures on my head that are sensitive to humidity. Simply put – curly hair. My relationship with my hair has undergone exactly as many twists and turns as the hair filament itself. It started with wonder. As a kid I always wondered that my hair looks different from others. I had realized that in my class of about 40 students, only about 8 had curls and everyone else had straight shiny free flowing filaments. Then, a few more years and the relationship changed to dislike, almost hatred. That’s because most of my girl buddies would sport lovely silk ribbons and clips that made their hair look so organized and pretty all the same. My hair on the other hand, was impossible to organize and always made it a point to bury deep down or actually break any hair accessory due to the enormous jumble and weight of the curls. I disliked them. But, soon enough this dislike itself sparked up my interest in biological questions, and subsequently biochemistry classes in college taught me that it was all just a game of sulphur based bonds that creates curls. Wow now it seemed cool. Now the relation changes to scientific awe. Around this time itself I had my newly found perspective of scientific awesomeness in curls and I started noticing a lot of personalities (especially scientists) with curly hair and the unique dimension that this gives to them. Needless to say, a lot of secret (and open!!) crushes on cool European scientists with curly hair followed :P. A few more years and the novelty of the biochemistry of curls died down, and the relationship has now changed to that of acceptance. I know what curls are, I know their charm and how to manage them and I know their issues too. I did try straightening my hair once, and totally hated it because it just wasn’t me!! Curly hair does come with a management price – but it’s okay since the charm and uniqueness makes up for it 🙂
Over the years, curly hair gives you a lot of unique experiences. From school to college to now, I have definitely earned extremely innovative nicknames because of my curly hair. Some cool ones are maggiehead, black burnt Maggie noodles, cauliflower look head, Greek Goddess Medusa, woolly sheephead (Abcam sheep to be precise – for all my biology friends to understand :P), DNA/chromatin loops, birds nest and many others which essentially meant ‘non-straight’ :D!! I’m sure all of you with curly hair must have had some of these as well – do you have any new ones to share? I have also had at least 100 aunts give me suggestions on how to reduce curliness. I have had hair dressers tell me ‘Ma’am aap smoothening kara lo baalon ka, fir theek ho jayenge’ (meaning – Ma’am do try the smoothening treatments on your hair, it will heal them) – (Yes in my mind I have punched each one of them on the nose and shouted -Dude, curliness is not a disease!!). On the positive note, I have also bonded with many people over curly hair.
So all in all, overall, I am on a steady acceptance and balanced relationship with my hair now. And one thing that has been reiterated in my mind over and over is – I want everything in my life to be straightened out, except my hair 🙂