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Dad, You Made My Day!

Updated: Jul 9, 2021

An unconventional, true account narrated by a daughter. Also, an example of how to be a cool dad.

Slice Buddy: Vinisha M. | Age: 24 | Profession: Editor

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I have naturally curly hair which looks more voluminous than it actually is; have always had it, will always have it.

I went bald last summer.

Okay. That was a jarring transition. Go ahead. Gasp dramatically. I have no one to blame for it except myself. It was ALL on me.

It's bold of Vinisha to share her personal pictures with us. Take a look!

Years of neglect had led to gory hair troubles. Summers were especially difficult. The humidity didn’t pair well with a particularly unhealthy scalp under a tuft of hair that could go from looking like a bunch of woollen threads to a bird’s nest within hours. Last summer, I decided to finally act on the idea of going bald, an idea that had been brewing in my mind for quite some time. The reason was always there but where was the motivation? I finally had one. Not having to show my face in public for at least a few months sealed the deal for me.

But I still had my folks to convince. I knew that I would receive some resistance from my sister and a whole load of it from my mother. I was uncertain of my dad’s reaction, though. He and I don’t share the tightest of bonds. Over the years, my decisions have become more and more my own than anyone else’s in the family. I did look to my sibling for backing and my mother for advice from time to time, but dad rarely ever influenced my personal choices. Hence, I was walking in, partially blind.

I floated my idea, as I do with every new thought of mine, slowly and systematically. For example, let us consider a weekend trip with friends. I would begin with introducing my friends to my family in whatever capacity possible—through stories, pictures, yadda yadda yadda. A few days later I would casually mention how work has been exhausting, then a few more days later I would say how I haven’t met the aforementioned friends in a LONG time and that a few hours of chatting just isn’t going to cut it. Finally, I would pitch the entire idea. This works every single time mostly because I have a handful of friends and my folks know that I’m too lazy to do anything wild.

Ok, let’s get back in line. I introduced my idea. As predicted, mom went straight to the “NO.” My sister started babbling about what, if given a structure, seemed like a pros and cons list. Dad laughed. Huh! I couldn’t just see a ray of hope, the whole sun of hope was shining down on me that day. I knew with a little bit of coaxing I would be obliged. It took a handful of days to finally get my people on board. Mom was sceptical till the last moment and there lay the problem. Her single ‘NO’ could tilt the scales and it was a very dangerous balance. Something had to be done.

I had the perfect, albeit nonsensical, bribe. Here’s what swayed my mom: My growing “not curly” hair the next time around. She was really exhausted with my hair and she had good reason to be. She has been the one I always went to with grizzly knotted hair because whenever I tried to untangle it myself I would end up with a broken comb and an even more of a tangled mess. So… SHE AGREED!

There was one more hurdle that we had to cross. We had just entered the initial phases of the lockdown. Protocol dictated that only essential services could be functional and parlours and barbershops weren’t essential services. SO I lamented that I would have to wait for a few more days (remember how we were told that the lockdown would last for only 15 days?). But then came May 15, the officials extended the lockdown, which, although a beneficial decision on the officials’ part, left me dejected. Cue, my dad.

Like a typical Indian Uncle, my dad said, “Arey, usme kya hai? Tu kainchi la, mai kaat deta hu tera baal. Do minute ka kaam hai. Itne thode ke liye saloon kyu jaane ka?” (What’s the big deal? Get me a pair of scissors and I’ll chop off your hair. It won’t take more than two minutes. Why wait for the saloon to open up?) I was sceptical, yes, but I was more desperate. As crazy as it was, it was also my only option. Besides, I had already told a few people about my decision and I didn’t want to back out now, not when it would be perceived as “fekti hai” (tells tall tales). I wanted this so we went ahead with the plan.

One thing though, it wasn’t a “2-minute ka kaam”. NO NO NO. It took us over an hour to get off my unruly mane. I will give you an account of that beginning now.

My mom stood in a corner, wringing her hands and with a quizzical look on her face because by now she knew that matters were far beyond her control. I had my hair in a low ponytail wound tightly at the nape of my neck. My sister made herself busy looking for a good pair of scissors in the crowded underbelly of our house—the unkempt drawers—wherein lay our first “technical” difficulty. Aaargh!! We couldn’t lay our hands on our sharpest pair of scissors. Thankfully, my sister found the second-best pair, a small-flimsy-looking-yellow-coloured-handles-stainless-steel-blades kind of scissor. It had to do.

Dad began the tedious process of chopping off the ponytail. Sounds rough, right? I was petrified. But I’m not the one to show. I held on to the sides of the chair that I was seated on. I could hear the blades struggling to get through. After the scissors were halfway through the clump of the ponytail, I realized there wasn’t much I could do now and hence began relaxing. Once the entire “appendage” was off, I was myself again. My folks did ask me if I wanted to stop and keep my hair short (with a bit of adjustment, of course) instead of going bald. I was beginning to enjoy it and hence said, “Take her off.” I was going all the way. Hence commenced the chopping. This is where it again became tricky.

By now we had come to realize that those scissors weren’t going to cut it (You see what I did there?). So after what felt like three days of sitting for the same haircut we held a coup d'état against our resident equipment and decided that one of us should go to the grocer’s shop (which fortunately was a hop skip and jump away) and bring back something that will be a better tool. Since I was covered in my own hair at the moment, it had to be one of the others.

People were nominated, offence was taken, bribes were exchanged and finally one of them agreed to do it. (Don’t you judge, home is comfortable, venturing out isn’t. Also, running errands is extremely boring. This is how we conduct business.) But here’s the fun part. Do you want to know what our replacement tool was?

A razor! And a blade, of course!

You see, most of my long hair was already gone. Since my tips were very close to my scalp, scissors wouldn’t help. Enter, The Razor. One wasn’t going to be enough, so we got two. My dad and my sister divided my head into two areas and got to work on their sections. It felt like forever and we weren’t even close to calling my haircut army-style let alone bald. There were bruises, I was called a baby because I was “imagining the bruises” as the two “hair stylists” and their razors got closer to my scalp (ummph), there was competition on who could clean up their section first and how well it would be done and there was my mother cheering on with her unwavering optimism (“This time it WILL be straight hair.”). It was home. It took an eternity to finish up. But after an hour or two of mucking, we were officially done. I was BAAAALD.

How did I feel, you ask? Well, my t-shirt that day read, “All Good Things Take Time.” I knew it, I felt it. It had been a long time since we had done something fun together. On a normal, pre-pandemic day, it would have only been me, my mom, and my sister. Dad would always be busy at work and hence could rarely find time to be involved. However dire the circumstances, I am glad that this day was possible—And of course, it wouldn’t have been possible without my dad’s “Yeh Bhi Ho Jaayega” (This too can be handled) attitude. It was an unforgettable day.

Besides, I don’t think anyone can beat my crazy pandemic story, can they?

Written by Vinisha Moolya



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