Thursday, March 07, 2013

Ending the Split !

Dove Beautiful Ends to your Beautiful Braids! IndiBlogger Contest

Runners Up in the Dove-Indiblogger "Beautiful ends to your beautiful braids"  contest

There is something worrisome about "splits" and "ends", in general, unless of course you are "end"ing a meal with a banana "split", and/or, doing an amazing "split" at the "end" of a great exercise session . 

Maybe I moved in circles, where you kept opinions on your own hair and even someone else's hair, to yourself. Maybe I was never really bothered about my hair as a young girl.  I was possibly born in what might today be considered ancient times.  But honestly, I had not heard about the words "split ends"  with regard to hair, till I was twenty .

Childhood was about splits and bifurcations galore. In friendships, as well as hair.

Waist length hair, compulsory oiling  (chipchip style), freshly boiled shikekai hair wash, stuff burning the eyes, air and solar drying, not to mention the "whacky" style towel cleaning to get the shikekai out in particles,  and the most traumatic stage was when  the comb and the tangles fought.

School was all about hair gracefully bifurcated, then each side again trifurcated,  some no nonsense braids done with great care, a black ribbon woven in, and then the entire braid turned up and tied at the base of the braid, with a huge black bow. On each side above your ears. Prominently.

This was a school requirement, avidly complied with by most parents.  Single braids were simply not allowed at school, but were the style of choice when you did classical dances . As if splits and bifurcations were not enough, we also had a style of braiding that can only be called "quanti"fication or splitting into 5.  This was called braiding of the 5 parts you divided your hair into, and not everyone knew how to do that.  And I don't ever remember examining the ends of my braids.

In the daughter's world, things have been  different. 

 Scalp hugging jet black radial curls as a kid, then two ponytails in school, when the curls kind of grew and fell under their own weight. Endless haircuts and trimmings. Somewhere in middle school, wistful glances at ladies with waist length hair on TV, and the graceful swishing of their hair, as they looked at her cunningly from below the cascading tresses  and blinking lashes.

And then the onslaught on her hair.  The perils and tensions of pubertal thinking, the chlorine from an intense interest in swimming, the crushing sweat from travelling long distances in public transport in a polluted Mumbai, and the constant concern that the hair appear just so at all times. Eggs, lentils, papayas, curds, cream, olive oil, you name it, and they had had a visitation with the hair. Possibly only Shreekhand was missing. 

An interest in photography slipped into an obsession about hair, that had her clicking even the golden tresses of baby corn and blogging about it.

At one point the numerous braids sported by Venus Williams were a big attraction, and the entire box of rubber bands disappeared overnight, as they wove themselves into tiny braids , hundreds of them, painstakingly created while watching Fear Factor on TV, tightly standing , designed to get the curl out.  

But it allowed her to attend a blogmeet by the Dove folks, which included , as they say, "practicals'.  Folks slathered stuff called serums and masques, and combed out your hair, and you came out feeling like the lady on TV.  After massive discussions at home , cajoling, glaring et al, the actual straightening of hair happened.
Today, she goes around with straight shoulder length hair(and more), which kind of gracefully falls and tickles you, as she bends to type something on your keyboard. You also do not see a thing on your monitor screen through the hair screen cascading in front. Most free time is spent appearing with stuff slathered on to her hair after washing it. And then rinsing it off. To be followed , by bits and pieces of hair held between two warm plates,  and patted all across the length.  Occasionally , bangs and fringes happen, an errant set of strands is shown its place by a clip. Sometimes, she acts like she discovered braids, and the hair settles down into a single compliant braid.

Unlike folks in commercials that breeze through torrential winds and rains with unmoving hair, and sometimes in limousines, her life is more about careening around in buses and rickshaws, suffering puffs or diesel from aged bus engines  at eye level.  Then there is that occasional  secret foray getting streaks in the hair. All this, while worrying about an increasingly difficult life in this metro. It doesn't help that the open straight hair combed just so, never remains so at the end of the journey, tangled in its own worries. The trappings of modern life start showing their stuff, and most of her time, late at night , while checking mail, and fooling around on WhatsApp, is spent checking out the ends of the hair, showing them to me  and cribbing bitterly about split ends. 

I guess she will now embark on another treatment. I hope it is about eating curds, and papaya, and eggs, and lentils, and not messing around an applying it all to her hair.  She has heard of some Split Ends Rescue System from the Dove types, That reduces the split ends by a factor of four, and one such set has made its appearance in the house.

Once again, she will sit, wet hair slathered with this stuff, then washing it all, and combing it out.  She will then maybe bifurcate or trifurcate her hair, and braid it.  Unfortunately, they don't allow the mothers to braid it for them. Big black ribbon bows are passe.

Some fashionable folks who cannot braid their hair properly in the centre of the back, have now introduced a cheeky one sided braid, which sits to one side of your face , falling in front over your shoulder, and others are blindly following this.  

The real test will be when she once again bends over my keyboard, trying to type in something to show me a great page, and turns, swishing my face with smooth ends of hair at the end of her pigtails.

Or does a great fugdi performance  with friends, her braids flying out in wild abandon, fearless and smooth in the ends, as they whack someone passing dangerously near.

Or gets her hair put up , Khopa style, when she gets to wear her 9 yard saree that she is waiting to purchase, and has a lady exclaiming about her hair.

Me thinks the world has come full circle. Good no-nonsense hair care is back.

Except for mothers, and tying up the braids in cheerful black ribbons.

Okay, make them red.

We had mothers .

The daughter , apparently, has Dove.


Submitted as an entry to the "Beautiful ends to your beautiful Braids"  contest  by  Indiblogger  and the Dove Split Ends Rescue System.


  1. I love the way you weave a tale of hairy ends and moms and Dove!

  2. A sweet memoir!
    Loved your way of planning the events.
    "We had mothers .
    The daughter , apparently, has Dove."

    All the best :)