My first exposure
to some one 'bald' was my classmate and friend in early school,
Archibald. For some strange reason, we called him 'baldie' despite
the thick shook of hair on his crown. I had occasion to remember
the guy because of the 'bald' turn the conversation look one night
at Vicky's party, when everyone present had something to say on
the ethos and the pathos of baldies - their virtues, joys and sorrors,
and on the causes and the cures for baldness.
Malti spoke of the
baldies club whose members, according to her, had to belong to either
of the three categories: Sunshine, Moonshine or No-shine. Sunshine,
she said, were those who were totally bald - the type that in my
youth I preferred calling 'carrom boards' - the over with no hair
at all, the perfect smooth heads, about whom more later. Monshine
were the ones who were bald on top but had hair on the back and
sides. And No-shine were moon-shiners who did not permit the shine
to show, who grew their hair on one side and combed it across the
pate carefully to cover the baldness, plastering it down to prevent
it from being blown out of place by the wind.
"My friend Bhisham
with a shiny top on whom goddess Laxmi has abundantly smiled to
afford him a life-style beyond compare, attributes his loss of hair."
I said, " to the hard work he had to put in - a small price
to pay, according to him - to earn the riches he has amassed."
I added that " no wonder riches are not writ in my destiny:
must be because of the thick growth on my own top." But Rani
wasn't amused at his. " If that were so, " she said, "
my husband who had lost it all at eighteen itself should have hit
the big time then" She went on to confess that there was no
evidence, then of the wealth that goes with baldness, when she fell
in love an married him later, even though he was" bald as a
when signs of loosing hair first appear, one senses in people a
paranoia that drives them to resort to all sorts of remedies, to
take all measures, to arrest the trend. People going bald can go
to any length to hide the fact or try and get their hair back. From
use of ayurvedic oils to tantrik concoctions, from scientific remedies
to superstition. Some transplant. And if nothing worked, then finally
resort to wearing a wing. The majority were inclined to believe
that heredity was a dominant factor. Some believed that the drinking
water tended to influence the quality of the crop on one's head.
Coastal people were more prone to baldness, so it was felt, because
of the saline content in the water and in the air along the coastline.
In our earlier days
though, not everyone was afraid of balding. In fact, some sought
it. Like the Capuchins who wore their hair as St. Francis of Assissi
did. It was fashion for young seminarians who had just embraced
priesthood to be tonsured. Some took real pains to acquire that
bald patch at the back of their head, resorting even to painful
Cousine Ray, who early detected his 'upstairs' going thin, giving
way to that hereditary weakness, and countered it by letting the
fuzz around his face grow in a comely way to suit his Naval Uniform,
has yet another theory on baldies. According to him, those who have
a bald spot or a tonsure are thinker, those forehead and a receding
hairline are the intellectuals, and those with both, the bald spot
and the receding hairline meeting, are the ones who "think
they are intellectuals". And talking of beards, the chinese
have recently floated a theory on the basis of the findings in a
survey, that baldness and beards go together, meaning to say, the
majority of those who grow beards will invariably hard to sport
a bald top.
" A bald head
is soon shaven" says an old 17th century English proverb. That
being so, I am intrigued the way the police barber who spends not
more than 15 minutes on my crew-cut, spends at least two hours on
the hair-cut of a colleague who is blessed with a 'perfect head'
That brings me to
the best on baldies I have hitherto come across-a quote that Election
Commissioner T.N. Seshan recently used in one of his inimitable
interviews, borrowed from that poster depicting the bald eagle with
a slogan saying: "Bald is beautiful. God only made so many
perfect heads. The rest he covered with hair" The poster, which
still stands taped on to the steel wardrobe that any wife's uncle
Stan left with us before migrating to America years ago, was given
to him by his son as a birthday present, to show how much he need
to be proud of his own perfect head.
Right © Maxwell Pereira: 3725 Sec-23, Gurgaon-122002. You can
interact with the author at http://
www.maxwellperira.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
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