That day was like any other day, yet it wasn?t. Somehow the appearance of that tiny grey hair played havoc with my reasoning, making me a lot more preoccupied than usual. I made a couple of anxious trips to the bathroom to make sure it was concealed. Then I called up my husband to tell him. There was an incredulous silence at first, followed by a sarcastic rejoinder that he didn?t think this matter was urgent enough to get him out of a meeting, after which he hung up abruptly. Hmmm?and men complained they never understood women. The fact was they never tried to. I called my best friend Nalini next. She was more sympathetic and gave me instructions on how to deal with it. ?Never yank it out? she said shrewdly. ?It stimulates the blood flow to your scalp and you can get a dozen around the area in no time?. That made me think. ?Have you got some already Nallu??? I asked hopefully. She retorted ?No way. Don?t forget I?m a couple of years younger than you?. She made it sound like I was an old hag already. ?What you need to do? she continued ?is to cut it closely to the scalp and then try to forget about it.? After I hung up, I stared thoughtfully at the paper scissors on my desk. No, not yet I thought. I was actually feeling some kind of camaraderie with the darned thing.
It was an undeniable reality that I was on the wrong side of 35 but wasn?t it a bit early to get a reminder of the blissful days of youth that were passing me by? Obviously someone up there didn?t think so and that someone was obviously not a woman. These days women didn?t live for very long. How many more years would I have? Another thirty? twenty? ten? (Gulp)! What if this one grey hair gave rise to many many more by say next year? Would I have a head full of grey hair by Christmas next year? What a gruesome thought!
That evening when I went to church I looked intently at the heads in the front pews. Women, women everywhere! Immediately, I was enormously gratified to find quite a few of them with a lot of grey hairs. Now, why hadn?t I ever noticed that before? It?s like being pregnant I thought. When you?re walking around with a bloated stomach, you notice everyone else who?s pregnant. To a woman, there?s nothing like divine intervention to put things into their right perspective. When I walked out of the church premises there was a spring in my step and a cheerful smile on my face.
I now began to look at my grey hair with a lot more respect. No, I hadn?t cut it yet. In the subsequent days life began to take on a new perception for me. I found myself singing more often and laughing at the silliest jokes. I was more patient with my kids and even when one of them spilled water on the kitchen floor, I cheerfully got the mop to clean it up, blissfully ignoring the worried look the little one gave me. Suddenly I was extra loving towards hubby dear. I cooked his favorite dishes and ironed his shirts myself, while earlier I used to send them to the dry cleaners down the road.
One day, when I was pottering around in my garden, doing another one of my daily women tasks, I found a little bug crawling away as fast as it could (Probably it was related to the other bug I had sprayed to death only a few weeks ago). I took the trembling little thing in my gloved hand and cooed gently to it before letting it go away scot-free. Maybe it had just a couple of days more to live I thought charitably. I was aware of my husband and kids watching me worriedly from the window. Poor things. They were so apprehensive about the state of my health these days. But little did they know I had never been happier.
Suddenly, life had taken on a new meaning and all because of one inoffensive, trivial, physical alteration. A harmless little grey hair had got me thinking about things I had been too busy to think about before. Its almost as if my little grey friend had said ?Hey lady stop! You?re riding life?s merry-go-round too fast. There?s so much you?re missing out on. Look around before it?s too late.? Ever since then I have changed the pace of my living from fast to medium slow. Earlier, I used to think taking deep breaths was a waste of time but now I stop several times a day to do just that. It?s like inhaling the essence of life itself. All women living in a fast paced world should try this sometime.
Of late, my little grey friend has been joined by many others forcing me to stop more often at the ?hair color counter? at the local supermarket. Right now, I can?t decide which product to go for. There?s Viva, L?Oreal and Godrej. Maybe I?ll choose L?Oreal because I definitely feel as a woman I?m worth it. Thanks to my first grey hair, I now know for sure that with the passage of time, life only gets more beautiful.
Happy International Women’s Day to all you women out there!