"Rita di, can't anything be done?" I wailed, close to tears. It was already a highly stressful day for me, what with the main event being just a few hours away. All my dreams and aspirations were tied to this one, single ramp walk. Unfortunately, my hair wasn't ready to be tied to anything.
|My hair after a wash|
"Madam ji, with hair like yours, there is very little to be done in such little time. If only you had started coming for regular treatment sessions six months ago, today things would have been different", said the hair-dresser with a frown on her face, chiding my lackadaisical attitude towards my unmanageable hair, at the same time mourning the loss of six-months' worth of income from a self-promoted hair treatment (which cost a fortune that would have set many a small country free of debt).
"My hair has always been curly, and I like it this way. It is one of the things that makes me, Me. I don't want to straighten it and become someone else. Especially not today." All eyes would be on me and I most certainly did not want to be mistaken for someone else. The rest of my life depended on today being a success.
"Okay,okay. No need to get so emotional. It's just hair. Let me see." said Rita, impatiently swatting away my identity-crisis.
A few pumps of creamy hair product was worked into my unruly hair. Hair spray was liberally used to both control my hair and kill the mosquitos buzzing around my head
|Praying for the best|
What if I pin it all on one side into a side-sweep?" said Rita, swiftly twisting my hair in sections and securing them with bobby pins.
I looked at myself in the mirror.
|How I really looked|
|How I hoped I'd look|
Startled by the effect, both Rita and I were stunned into silence for a few seconds.
"Maybe an Athena braid?" she suggested shakily, ripping out the bobby pins from my hair as fast as she could, releasing my hair into all its inglorious messiness. We both heaved a sigh of relief when the side-sweep was dismantled.
Once again, Rita pumped out hair-gel with much vigour and sprayed with enthusiasm. My hair was parted into sections. Elaborate combing, intricate twisting and braiding, and a final flourish of hair-spray "shagun ke liye" (for good luck).
We once again examined the result, this time better prepared for what we might have to face.
Rita sat down, beaten and dis-spirited. I shed copious tears, covered my head in a towel and declared that to show my hair to the world would most likely be a human-rights violation.
|I need to buy a bonnet!|
That was when my mother entered the picture.
"Good Lord! Aren't you ready yet? We're set to leave in ten minutes. You haven't even worn your saree properly. And what's with the towel on your head? Rita, why are you sitting there, gaping at me like a dead fish?"
"Amma", I wept, "My hair is a disaster. Nothing works on me. I'm finished. I'll have to walk in front of all those people, with my hair looking like it was hit by a cyclone."
"Take some deep breaths. In. Out. In. Out. Now, stop flapping about like a distressed duck and sit down for a minute. Rita, try a twisted updo." Amma was brisk and efficient, and her energy infused new life into the hitherto deflated Rita.
With a determined look on her face, Rita prepared for the last siege. Hair products were pumped out one last time. The hairspray had killed more mosquitos today than an entire box of kachua coils.
My mother set my saree right. The last safety pin was locked into place.
Rita and I steeled ourselves for one final look at the mirror. It was make or break time.
|How I ended up looking|
|What we were prepared for|
I had finally found my look.
Thirty minutes later, I walked down the aisle towards where the love of my life was standing, waiting for me to become his wife. As we stood together, he tucked a stray strand behind my ear, and whispered, "I love what you've done with your hair."
And this was the story of the most important ramp-walk of my life.
NOTE: The last two images above are my personal photos and are not to be used by anyone else. The remaining images are from Google and copyright to their respective owners.