“Rapunzel had magnificent long hair, as fine as spun gold. Whenever she heard the voice of the enchantress she would let down her braided hair and the enchantress would climb up it to reach the window. She would bring Rapunzel bread and water, but no comfort or love. “
Yes, My mother loved reading this story out to me. Rapunzel had magnificent long hair which was strong enough for the enchantress to use for climbing up the tower! Now, little did I know that mother would take the long hair bit in the story so seriously. She was obsessed about ensuring that I have long hair. Sometimes I wonder if this is because of the heavy influence of Rapunzel’s story or because she had terribly curly hair that refused to progress in length. It could also be totally due to the number of hair oil and hair shampoo advertisements on Door darshan or due to the high demand of women with long black her in the arranged marriage scene.
Nevertheless, she took great pains to take care of my hair. From oiling with coconut oil, to using homemade hibiscus shampoo – she did it all. I particularly didn’t like Rapunzel, or her long hair. She was the quintessential damsel in distress, had to endure people climbing up her hair and didn’t really do anything to help herself. It is so not me! I would rather be the enchantress who could climbed up using Rapunzel’shair! I grew up as a tomboy, rejecting the curation of traditional womanly charms. However on the insistence of my mother, I always had long hair.
Many years later, on a sweaty summer afternoon, as I was returning from the nearby grocery store, I happened upon a new beauty parlour named Cinderella. Since I had some money in hand, and I was allowed a trim every two months, I went into the parlour to get a trim. As I entered the salon, I saw a giant poster of a blonde lady. She had brown hair and blunt cut! I quickly went up to the hairdresser and asked her to style me like her. She agreed to do the hair cut but denied colouring my hair! “You’re too young for that” she said. , Did I mention that I was in grade five?
Sitting in the big black chair, I saw my jet-black thick hair being chopped off. My head felt lighter with every crunch of the scissors. An hour later, with a stylish new haircut and a bag full of groceries, I reached home. My mother, who opened the door nearly fainted, and then began wailing out loud. Initially confused, I later realized that she was mourning the loss of my locks. My father and me tried to convince her that it is hair after all, and will grow out. However, she was not ready to accept that I left the fruits of her labor on the floor of the parlour.Believe it or not, it took about a month and a few inches of hair growth, for my mother to come to terms with my new look.
When I think about the agony I went through, I sincerely wish that stories like Rapunzel are banned, and we write new ones for young girls, where the short haired protagonists climb up rocks, mountains and forts to save themselves without waiting for destiny or prince charming to save them!