Hear, Hear!

A man in the town of Sear,
Had an awful fear
Not about his exceedingly long nose
Nor about his ruddy toes
But about his thinning hair

The world is not fair to the men sans hair.

The 'growing foreheads' of the follicularly challenged has made many of them sit up and take notice. Some of them do proclaim loud enough for all to hear, 'Loss of hair? Hah! We just don't care!' Some might even add, 'God created a few perfect heads, on others he put hair'. But many of them confess in hushed whispers, 'Bald ain't beautiful! ' One such gentleman with receding hairline was trying to explain to his five-year-old daughter about his more hirsute days. Patting his bulging forehead with her little hand, she exclaimed in bewilderment: 'Hair? Here??' Could things get any worse?

As the baldness outgrows the toupee and it's impossible to hide the hideous pate, many men try implants, hair-oils and other 'life savers'. When all that fails, many grin ear to ear, ' What is going inside our heads radiates such heat that the roots of our hair have just burned out!' They often point to the brilliance to their shiny pate as if to lend credence to their theory. Well, well can one argue any further with that kind of logic? Some even go to the extent of stubbornly refusing to call it
hair loss but try weird phrases like 'pate gain' or 'hair redesign'. Yet others even remind us that in certain parts of Africa, baldness is considered a sign of impending prosperity. (A typical case of conveying less is more, indeed!) Yet other claim baldness is a sign of masculinity.

But then the world has not been very kind to the hirsute type either. Peter the great of Russia levied tax on people with beards whereas the present day puritans have imposed some strict control over the length (or breadth) of one's hair follicles. Religious and social norms have played no small part in dictating how men and women should or should not wear their hair. Unshorn hair worn by Sikhs, tonsured heads of Buddhist monks, flowing beards of orthodox Jews etc are a few cases in the point. Interestingly wearing long hair has been popular with most of the spiritual seekers, some may call it ' Hair-to-eternity' syndrome.

Reams of paper have been used to write about shaved heads, afro-curls, oily braids, the dreadlocks, and other hairstyles used by people over the years each hairstyle having a unique history of its own. Myths and legends have been weaved around hair since time immemorial. While princess Repunzel used her long hair a means of escaping from the prison by letting it down so that a redeeming prince could rescue her, the beautiful Medusa was cursed with snake-hair for her misdemeanor. The dreadlocks find a mention in Vedas, Biblical literature and have been worn by cavemen, emperors, sadhus and style-seekers alike. Elaborate maintenance schedule does not deter people from wearing them.

Like it or not, this dead tissue is, indeed, a big issue - be it for fashion pundits or mendicants, scientists or artists, musicians or punks, you name it. While the professors of medicine remind us that hair is no ordinary item of fashion statement, it provides insulation from cold and hot weathers, but many, I'm sure would not be too keen to accept that kind of hair splitting arguments. Hair (or the lack of it) is, after all, used by one and all to make a statement more effective than any other. The politically incorrect Skin-heads, the religiously inclined Jihadis, the punks, the pundits- all - make their statements loud and clear, by wearing appropriate hairstyles.

No wonder hair care has become one of the fastest growing industries of our times. Healthcare professionals keep on shouting from the rooftops about the secrets of growing or maintaining beautiful hair. Many men and women toss their treasured tresses around and spot fake grins in front of the cameras to drive home the point. Many, however, have hair-raising stories about how hair care specialists (or should it be hair cure specialists) failed them.

However, for most, balding is a normal phenomenon of ageing, perhaps something that cannot be wished away. Maybe it is nature's way of saving us the embarrassment of trying hard to remember where we'd kept our comb since we used last, as has been succinctly put in the limerick below:

We all hate to get wrinkled and grey
And to keep our good eyesight we pray.
But as we get short sighted
We can't see how we're blighted;
God gives as he taketh away!*

So, ye with growing foreheads, unite without any fear, for you have nothing to lose- not even your hair! 


More by :  Vivek Kaul

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