Sometimes in life, you need to take a plunge, into the unknown, into something that is outside your comfort zone. Something that gives you butterflies in your stomach, that when the moment of reckoning comes, makes you want to turn around and run the other way. That is what happened when I decided to paint my hair red.
Thanks to one of those pins on 'Pinterest', I got hooked to the idea of a 'red inverted bob' and started craving for it like one does for ‘red velvet cake'. The idea grew in my mind and one day I headed straight to my favourite hair stylist and yes! I got my first inverted bob. It was pretty much a win-win situation. My hairstylist was happy. I was happy. For someone who has never done anything unconventional with her hair, the inverted bob was in itself a huge step.
Next came the crucial bit. The R-E-D color! I was all in doubt even when sitting on the chair, nervously waiting for the guy in charge of my soon-to-be-red-head. If someone had given me a nudge, or an 'Are you serious?' look, I would have backed out in an instant. But there was none!
I was grappling with this dilemma when finally, my guy came. And he looked like a definite rookie! (Sorry for being judgmental, I was already nervous, you see). He handed me a big black book which looked like a hair-colouring encyclopedia. 'Which shade of red Ma'am?', he asked. Oh boy! You are not going to make it easy. All of a sudden, I felt as if I am color blind. How can there be so many shades of red? For me, all of them were just...RED! Finally, I made the tough decision of choosing one red from 'the sea of reds'!
He went off to get the color mixed, and was back in a while and started applying the color, layer by layer. In an unexpected moment, he spilled some of the color on my blouse. My heart screamed silently, ‘Sir, are you planning to make me a red tomato head to toe?’, as if the red on the head was not enough. My mind argued back, ‘Come on! It is just a spot’. After some to and fro between my heart and brain, I realized that the guy was done with the painting process.
I could see the alarmed look on the lady across me, who was getting her hair straightened. The girl next to me looked like her eyes would pop out anytime. There were two other ladies murmuring in a corner of the room, I was definitely their subject of conversation. The elephant in the room I had become (unfortunately)!
Then came my hairstylist, and he was all praise for my new avatar. He started setting my hair with a blow dryer, and I must say he has magic hands! I started loving what I was seeing in the mirror. He took a picture of me on his camera, something that has never happened before. Maybe he thought me as an odd specimen!
While I gallantly made my way out of the salon, in an involuntary action I grabbed my shawl and wrapped it around my hair like it was a new born baby. I knew the small town in which I had 'My experiments with my hair' wasn’t large hearted enough to take my red head without a smirk. I just wanted to be back in the lap of Bengaluru where anything and everything is accepted with grace.
I boarded my train with the shawl still wrapped around my head. As famously known, train journeys are for introspection, I also became introspective. What happened to that girl who shed her inhibitions to make this bold move? Did she get intimidated by people who have a different perspective? Has she stopped being comfortable in her own skin, in an effort to impress the world? Is she giving in, to fit into the social norms molded by the society? All these thoughts whirled inside my head that night.
At the end of the journey, I knew one thing. I was going to turn a blind eye against the world and carry my new style with poise! Well, what do you know; train journeys do give you a sense of direction.
(The writer is an IT professional based in Bengaluru.)