Three weeks ago, I got my head shaved. Yes, a young Indian girl gets a bald look out of nowhere. Here are a few questions that I am commonly asked about my new look and what I think of them.
1. What have you done to yourself?
I got a haircut! Really, that is all I have done. This one was way more expensive than the usual trimming.
2. You look beautiful and all but why? Why did you do this?
There are 10 different, dramatic and interesting reasons I can come up with to answer this question. At times, I did. One of the most convincing reasons, even for myself, was my thinning hair. But honestly, there is only one real reason which is “because I wanted to” Period
3. Get well soon! By the way, which stage is it?
Maybe, it is just in India. Maybe, it is in some other parts of the world too, but this stereotype about bald women is saddening. I did not expect this reaction from people at least in the cities. However, about 5 people have asked me this question. The general assumption is that I am suffering from a critical illness which is why I had to shave my head. I don’t know if I should be happy about the fact that people are more concerned, aware and empathetic toward those who are actually suffering from medical conditions. Or I should be angry by knowing that you are allowed to shave your head only when you are diagnosed with a life-threatening disease.
Smirkingly, I chose to baffle such people by telling them that I do not have any such disease, fortunately. Believe me, watching the resulting disappointment on their faces was so amusing.
4. Are you not interested in boys?
Depends on how cute and well-behaved they are! Well, the boys are definitely more interested in me now. To think of it little deeply, I am more in touch with my femininity now. I could not have embraced my womanhood in better ways. If any thing at all, shaving my head has taught me to don it with sheer grace! Thankfully, it has cascaded to other aspects of my life.
5. How does it feel?
Liberating. Light. Lovely. I cannot think of a better way to let go of my inhibitions. It is a new feeling to accept myself completely without having any tiny strands to cover any part of my face while being me. Honestly, I have started liking myself even more in the bald look. Main apni aur bhi jyada favourite ho gayi hoon.
6. Was it scary?
Of course, it was! But not as scary as finding a cockroach in your room! Once I stopped caring about how others will react to my new look, the entire process seemed to be fun. It was also easier because of the supportive people in my life.
I am fortunate to have people around who can make any scary experience a fun-filled memory for me. Such was the entire time when I was getting my head shaved. It began as a daunting moment full of last-minute doubts but ended being a moment of truce and new bonding with a good friend. Tanya, my ex-roomie turned BFF, got her hair chopped short just to make me feel comfortable about mine. That moment of fear became a winning moment for our friendship.
My parents said that I look beautiful even without the hair. My sister, boyfriend, and friends love me just the way they used to. In fact, they have become more supportive.
7. How did you deal with the people who are not supportive?
I have a simple philosophy about this — ‘I do not need to explain everything about myself to everyone. Not everybody has to understand me and my story.’ They are being unsupportive because they do not know where I am coming from. With what understanding they have about the world, people and me, they could be correct with their opinion. Let them be! I can argue with them; probably, recite influential quotes or stories and make them support me. But really? Do I need to?
8. How are you living with this?
As freely as I possibly can. After all the appreciation, compliments and support that I received during the first week after I donned the bald look, I feel free. I do not have to care about how my hair looks before I leave the house. No worries and expenses on shampoos, conditioners, and hair serums. I did not realise I could save so much money with just one haircut! It is easier to take care of myself in a better way. I think the difficult phase has passed. Now, I do not receive any second glances and however little I could care about them in the beginning, I do not give a damn about them now.
Take it from a girl who has experienced it, shaving your head is not at all bad or horrifying as it is projected to us. Not that I did any grand act but I did not have a single moment of regret during the entire process. I am irrevocably in love with this new found friend in me!