Here I am, 25 year old with a few greys at the crown. Perhaps, a little too early but heck, there are just a few. So I try henna – which is the most trusted weapon that Indian women have against grey. But I’m touchy about the greys, because I’m just 25! And I feel betrayed to be greying at this age.
One day, I’m sitting at my desk, pounding away at my keyboard. I have mischievous team members and a very mischievous colleague who is somewhat of an agony aunt to my team. I love being with them, but then they do the unforgivable! They catch hold of a grey strand, and they pluck it out! NO! That’s just not to be done. I have heard too many tales about how if you pull out one grey strand, it’s going to trigger a nuclear fission of sorts (at least that’s what it is for me) – it is going to lead to more greys. I am angry and tearful and unhappy with the perpetrators of such a fate upon me. But life goes on!
Then in a few months, I see more greys and I curse my colleagues for doing this to me. I have to give my mind some reason for why I’m quickly turning into a granny when everyone around me has beautiful dark tresses. Then I start finding greys and I snip them off. Because remember, I cannot pluck them out. I saw a video on discovery which confirmed it, with the scientific reason behind it. But now I have a new problem. The ones that I snip, just stand up on the top of my head as they grow back. And I’m greying at the temples – those I cannot snip off 😦
A few more months go by, and I develop this horrible stomach infection, which is later diagnosed as Ulcerative Proctosigmoiditis. My doctor tells me I’m done. I will just have to live with it. So my body is fighting itself, it’s an autoimmune disease, where the body’s defences think that there is infection in the colon but there is none. But the body keeps the colon inflamed to fight the infection that doesn’t exist. And the inflammation continues, because the system is still thinking there is an infection. End result – my colon is eating itself up. And it isn’t assimilating the vitamins and nutrients and micronutrients.
So now my doctor tells me that all I can do is take the steroids and anaema and avoid hard to digest foods and suck it up. I’m now greying alarmingly apart from losing weight coz my body cannot hold the food. And since I can eat only a few things, I’m also losing hair – in clumps! I’m thinking what will happen first – I’m going to turn all grey or bald. Thankfully, I found alternate therapy. I got off steroids so the hairfall is better but I’m still greying. I speak to my ayurvedic doctor about it and pat comes the reply “my job at this time is to save your life, we can deal with the hair later.”(yeah but you can not ungrey them, I think).
Fast forward a few more months. I am 29. A team member tells me that I should start coloring my hair because the henna shows. And I tell him the color will also show. So I send him packing. I’m touchy about it. Because I’m still the most grey person in my age group, amongst my peers, amongst my cousins, amongst my friends. Now I am set to get married and my husband tells me that he hates the smell of henna- it sure lingers on. It is an innocent comment. But since my greying hair is all I think about, I start coloring. It doesn’t help. I’m practically 80% grey now. And the roots show grey within 2 weeks of coloring.
Meanwhile my older sister is less grey than me. Heck, my mum in law is less grey than me. And I keep seeing these posts of people who love the greys, embrace the greys and have earned the greys. It irritates me. Coz at 40 who cares that you have started greying. I wouldn’t if I started greying at 40. And I see a few men my age who are as grey as I am. But, again it isn’t fair – they look ravishingly handsome with their greys, while I just look old.
My mother develops a reaction to hair color so she has to stop coloring. My aunt tells me a few remedies that I’m too lazy to try. Well, to be honest I try but I think I’m too far gone as nothing works on me. My mother is all stoked about these home remedies such as Indian gooseberry, curry leaves, coconut oil, black sesame seeds and what not. She makes a hair oil, and it sure works on her hair. My hair is stubborn – still grey. She keeps looking for more such things and tries everything on my hair. Perhaps, she is the only one who understands my suffering. End result, nada.
I’m still as grey, may be more now. I’m still not 40. And when I go for haircuts the hair dresser will for sure tell me, ummmm you need to touch your roots. “I do have a mirror at home, you see”, I snap. I hate being sold services for my hair. I just need a hair cut, damn it.
I look at other women and if I see a lot of grey roots, I’m oddly satisfied knowing that I’m not the only one. But the satisfaction doesn’t last coz I’m still grey! I’m not sadistic but I find some solace in knowing that I’m not the only one. Not the chosen one to go grey at 25 while all women, and men, around me have a thick mane which maintains itself. And mine is rotting to hell even though I’m trying to everything possible.
I’m just tired of trying to cover the greys. But when I don’t, I keep hearing gasps “what happened to your hair?!”. I want to tell them that I sent God a special request so that I could turn grey overnight. Well, nothing happened. Just like you didn’t do anything to keep greys away, I didn’t do anything to get them. It is just nature playing it’s part. So, I’m angry and I’m stuck. Refusing to let go. But I’ve moved countries so people don’t know me. May be I’m just going to get a pixie cut and go grey. May be this is my chance to freedom!