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Tress Induced Stress

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Though the world acknowledges, sometimes grudgingly, that behind every successful man, there is always a woman, how many would even spare a thought, forget acknowledge, that behind every beautiful braid is a mother toiling away to make it look its best.

No one can explain this better than a mother of two daughters, who love their long, raven tresses. Both my daughters were blessed with a dense crop on their heads even as they made their presence felt in this world with their first cries.

It is amazing how the texture and appearance of their hair is so different. While the elder one has long hair which culminates in pretty natural curls – something women spend a fortune on to temporarily acquire – the younger one has long, smooth, straight and silky hair. Wherever they go their plaits become the cynosure of all eyes.

This brings me to the most irritating aspect – queries of women especially, of those who have their hair cut very short –  about how my daughters have such long, beautiful hair. Though I instinctively feel like saying –‘by not cutting it’, fearing that I would be branded haughty and rude, I tell them that it takes a lot of effort, time and patience.

The prerequisite for long hair obviously is not chopping it off.  But to ensure that it remains long and beautiful is no mean task. There are times when I lose my patience and tell my daughters that I spend almost five hours a week on their hair and that that is quite considerable, considering the fact that I am a working mother with loads of other responsibilities; without batting an eyelid, they retort – ‘last time, you said six hours’. And we all burst out into laughter.

But jokes apart, long hair means investing a lot of time and patience for it has to be oiled, massaged, shampooed, dried, unknotted and then braided again. This is a weekly affair best reserved for weekends – which you feel should ideally give you a well-deserved break from the humdrum of working days.

When it comes to hair, here are two prospects that give me sleepless nights. One of having to go out of station for official work and two of finding the unwelcome winged visitors in my daughters’ hair. The stress that the first prospect induces leads to a short lived revolution with my husband who does not even know how to hold long hair pledging that he shall be an expert at braiding in no time. This is followed by vehement protests by both my daughters who have no iota of doubt that this issue is pretty knotty. The house help is then requested – with a rather heavy heart – to do the honours for a day. And so, the day is saved.

The other prospect I referred to is scarier. The winged monsters – crawling lice – make my stomach churn. The fateful discovery of the winged monster is accompanied by a diatribe, followed by several days of combing operations and shampooing for an additional cause. My daughters screech and cringe as they see the special comb used to pull out the lice.  But finally, when I certify that their hair is lice free all of us heave a sigh of relief.

Image Courtesy :Smithsonian Magazine

Such are the trials and tribulations of a mother who has to deal with long hair. But then to tell you the truth, I enjoy every bit of whatever I do for their raven tresses. Their crowning glories ultimately make me feel like a queen too!

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