Rapunzel’s Hair

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“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!

Mango and me

Mango

 

I have not loved any one thing so consistently and unconditionally like I have loved mangoes. No person, place, animal, thing or experience has kept me hooked on, more than mangoes have.

Mangoes  come in various shapes, sizes and colours. They are not judged on the perfect shape or the colour, but only on the quality.  They tell us nothing really matters as long as you have substance. A true life lesson for humans! Mangoes are also very closely associated with a lot of pleasant childhood memories. My maternal grandmother’s home had more than 10 varieties of mangoes growing in the plot where the ancestral home stood. Mangoes were plucked and distributed not by kilos but by baskets. My maternal grandmother who was a farm owner never believed in selling these mangoes in the market. She believed that this fruit should be shared amongst friends and family. This fruit was grown only to spread love and good wishes. And of course her grandkids got the largest share!  I can give you a hundred other reasons as to why I love mangoes so much.

The husband finds this quite fascinating, and indulges this craving of mine. The maids find it quite unfathomable that the wife devours all the mangoes without saving any for the husband. Big Basket ensures that I get my delivery of mangoes on time. Friends and family never forget to stock enough mangoes for me when I visit them. Any diet I consider, needs to accommodate my mango craving. Else it CANNOT be considered.

This mango fascination led me to categorize the people around me by their relationship with mangoes.

It’s just a fruit!”: These are the ones who consider it just another fruit. I don’t like their attitude but don’t particularly care as long as they do not disrespect the fruit. My husband is one of them, but I still choose to love him.

I hate mangoes!”: What bothers me is that, most of them haven’t even enjoyed a good mango with the right company to hate it.

 “I love them and will tell you which ones the best is!”: These are the worst kind, the ones who discriminate between the varieties. I not only hate them, but also cannot stand their company during season or off -season! Be it about mangoes or about life generally, I do not recommend hanging out with those people who expresses their opinion without really taking an effort to know the subject in discussion.

 “I love mangoes!”: You are welcome into my home and my heart -period.

Writing in the woods – A pre-covid wish!

It has been more than one year of zero blogging. I have been meaning to re-start, but never got to it. I have been writing but procastinating blogging on the pretext of finding the right time. Thats when i realised that today is  my most favourite Ruskin Bond’s birthday. It also reminded me that there is no better day to re-start blogging. So this one is for Mr. Bond!

Wrote this one way before lockdown when I was planning our next trip. Now it seems like a distant dream!

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Photo credit: <a href=”https://www.vecteezy.com/free-vector/kid”>Kid Vectors by Vecteezy</a>

Ruskin Bond in his book ‘A book of simple living’ mentions that he prefers sitting next to the window and writing as the deodar trees watch him. He feels that the trees are his best critics. While I could manage to sit in my apartment, next to a window and write, having those amazing deodar trees watch over me is far from reality. All I see outside is the nearly dead plants from my garden pleading at me for some water. The summer in Delhi does no mercy to these poor things.

The other option is of course to vacation in places which give me the view. So, I tell the husband:

Me: I feel like writing. Can we go to the hills please?

Husband: Awesome, please write. But why don’t you instead of making the long and torturous trip to the hills, sit in the AC room and write to your heart’s content.

Me: Oh! But I need the deodar trees as my critic, which I can only get in the hills – to be very specific in Landour where Ruskin Bond lives.

Husband: Vaikom Muhammad Basheer, one of the most renowned writers of Malayalam literature wrote his works while he was in prison, in Kerala. He had metal bars, 4 walls and a jail warden to criticize this work!

Me: I guess I will make do with the nearly dead bougainvillea on my balcony criticizing my work.

 

Continue reading → Writing in the woods – A pre-covid wish!