Folks like Rapunzel have nothing better to do than stand in the balconies of towers showing off their long hair cascading to the ground in ringlets, so that fellows can climb on that and reach the balcony, possibly in a great display of stupidity..
In reality, things are much different.
As a little girl, she had lovely soft curly hair, each strand with a perfect Young's Modulus, and regardless of how enthusiastically you brushed it straight, she always ended up with a halo of curls around a determined face. It was a breeze to maintain the hair. Even if you just washed it, and went out to play, her hair never flew helter skelter, but always dried and withdrew firmly, each strand curling with a lot of natural grace.
By and by, as a child of 5, she got a chance to travel to Germany, and a whole new world opened up. Life was just endlessly thrilling with no writing in kindergaarten, lots of life experience field trips, the teachers exclaiming in wonder over her wheatish complexion, jet black thick curls and she herself going gaga over her best friend who had waist length blonde hair that fell in ringlets. She occasionally observed people on trips , and even on TV (she learned German very fast), and was enraptured with the punk hairstyle. Her mother once found a pair of scissors , and a couple of chocolate wrappers under the pillows, and the next time the hair was combed, there were these weird fringes that curled, and a few standing up on top of her head. The then current hair style was the "wet look" which folks cultivated with a lot of slathering of gel and stuff, but the little one achieved that by simply not drying her own hair, causing stuff to get entangled later on.
Back in India, her face radially framed by a mass of curly hair, classmates would tease her over a then highly regarded Godman, who had similar hair. The experiments continued, with the hair getting a providential escape from certain doom, when , during a fancy dress competition, she became Indira Gandhi , and her mother arrived in the nick of time to snatch away a jar of fevicol, with which she was planning to get the white streaks in her hair. Talcum powder was immediately substitued.
Teenage, and college, and the curls were getting to be a problem, where slim girls were moving around with straight hair, and appeared on TV and movies, looking at you through their equally slim eyelashes, slathered in mascara. The salon where she went for a haircut, always marvelled at the quality of her hair and mentioned it to her mother. She herself quietly observed, girls her own age, having strands wrapped in silver foil, and later emerging with red streaks. In a wild streak of independence, experiments were done at home using bleach for silver streaks and some fancy hair color for red streaks. Fancy shampoos and conditioners were insisted on, on trips to supermarkets, and she started reading labels.
There emerged friends, who massively straightened their hair in the vacations, and appeared with hair that looked like a broom when tied up. Some folks went blonde, with a red tinge. Her confidence was a bit shaken , but then someone gifted her a hair straightener. Capturing unruly strands and curls between two flat heated plates, and kind of moving across the strands was the lesiure activity of choice. And Curls was, well, a 5 letter word.
All through, the gentle hints at wanting to straighten her hair , now became fairly vocal.
In between , shampoos for shining, straight, clean and clear, head and shoulders, strength, colored , damaged hair etc, made their way across the bathroom shelf with an amazing frequency. Then came serums. Then concoctions like curds, tomatoes, oil, and beaten eggs, were mixed in various combinations and proportions and slathered on the hair, and washed up, leaving the hair clean, but the bathroom smelling .
One fine day, having worn down the resisitance of the opposition and budget controllers by sheer persisitence, the hair was straightened, appeared on FB and was commented on favourably by many. She had become a photoblogger in the meanwhile and got to attend a blogger meet sponsored by Dove, where actual hair washes were conducted and folks emerged from behind curtains, supposedly transformed. Her mother , in the meanwhile, had developed significant grey strands, and was constantly badgered by the daughter into getting it transformed into what it was not.
Then, thanks to the bloggers meet, she discovered something called , mask or masque , (depending how sophisticated you want to sound), and she gleefully came home with a hamper of stuff .
Today, her straight hair has remained straight, no one teases her about certain Godmen, she doesnt look wistfully at certain magazine photos of silky strands of hair falling languidly across heavily made up faces, and she has developed a technique of clicking excellent photographs of herself, displaying a crown of hair, gracefully falling across her face.
Her mother would love to say that , that was the end of the daughter's hair problems. She doesn't really know.
Fashions change. Girls change. Sometimes the mothers change the way they think.
Turns out that earlier , folks used things like boiled slugs, olive oil, honey, saffron, soap and cumin to improve and condition the hair. Exclusive modern hair treatments often contain ingredients like snake venom, bird droppings, snail serum, cow dung, caviar, hemp and hold your breath, whale vomit.
Snakes, birds, snails and cow dung is locally in great abundance. It boggles the mind to wonder how you collect a whale's vomit. But never mind. Whales-in-retail hasnt yet happened in Parliament. (We tend to latch on avidly, to things that arrive from the west ).
Until then, the mother hurriedly declares, that yes, that was the end of her daughter's hair problems...
(Submitted as an entry for the Dove " ... and that was the end of my hair problems!"
competition with the Dove Hair-Aware App )