It was altogether a different experience and a totally badass social experiment to understand what people think of girls who go bald and, how do they react to it. I am fortunate to be surrounded by amazing people who loved this idea of me getting my head shaved. Not only they praised me for this ‘gutsy’ action as they called it but also felt proud of me for breaking stereotypes. This one act of mine made me understand how girls crazily want to get their hair shaved at least once in a lifetime but they are also scared of the people around and their families. A lot of women came to meet me in the hostel and college, took selfies and expressed their desire of going bald at once in their lives. Their disappointment was also visible when they were expressing their inability to do so by asking one question ‘It demands guts to do this. Where did you get it from’? And I could see their eyes sparkling, imagining themselves in my shoes. I felt beautiful, as an act of mine could inspire many, to listen to their inner call and, do what they feel right for themselves.
Many of the questions were thrown at me as people around were curious that why would a ‘Girl’ want to shave her head. The stories they cooked up by themselves interested me the most (All funny stories :p). Those who asked me directly got simple and direct answers like ‘I couldn’t manage my hair’, ‘Just for a change’, ‘Wanted to see myself without hair’, ‘I wanted to look prettier (LOL)’ and all these replies were usually followed by a small conversation.
However, there were many speculations made to reason out my baldness without even asking me (Hahaha). There were rumors that I was planning to go to Tirupati, a city for Hindu Pilgrimage in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh and, that’s why I have removed my hair to fulfill some religious affairs (Whaaaaat? Like people do that too? Ok). Great! The other rumor was that I might have campaigned for Cancer Survivors (A humane speculation). People also thought that I have sold my hair( I think it’s a good idea for next time, I’ll remember that :p). Thanks, but No Thanks.
Also, check Story of Me being a Proud Baldie- Part 1
It got me really high because I could understand that people cannot expect girls to go bald just out of CHOICE and FUN. Yes, I think this vocabulary is only for public space which is a male space, predominantly. There has to be some social cause, religious affair and unavoidable circumstances that would make girls go bald. The saddest rumor was that I had Dandruff (Dude, you know me better than me :p).
But I enjoyed all this. It used to made me laugh seeing people making crazy speculations about me, in my absence. The best part was there were people who were talking to me earlier before this act and, suddenly they were avoiding me. They did not even want to look at me, let alone make a conversation. I could not understand it the first day but in the next few days, I was clear about the reason. What I understand is, it was a big exposure for little babies and, such exposures first threatens us, then challenges and questions us and then it makes us think and then it changes us. I am glad that I was able to give this exposure to them.
The news reached my extended family and, my grandmother called me. She is 75 years old and, I call her Amma.
Amma, “Ae Nupur! I have heard that you removed your hair. Is it so?”
Me(I knew what was coming), “Haan Amma! You have heard it right.”
Amma, ‘Why? What happened? Are you not okay?”
Me (I knew what reason would satisfy her), ”Amma! I had so much pressure from college. And you know that we should study really well. So to save my time, I did it.”
Amma. “I am so sad to hear this. Now what will happen, you have gone bald.”
Me, (I couldn’t stop laughing), “Amma, What ‘What will happen’. Nothing will happen. I will get my hair back. It’s not kidney that it’s once gone, gone forever. It’s hair. It’ll come back.”
And we hung up the phone after wishing love to each other.
This is how my experiences varied from taking reactions and responses from all age groups. It was a great learning experience for me too. What it taught me is, that we can’t wait for the right moment, right time, the right circumstance to listen to our minds and, speak our minds. We can’t be dependent on society and people around to make decisions for us. This is where women have to take lead by themselves by building courage and, taking actions instead of just thinking around. Know that no messiah is ever going to come to let us do what we want, no prince charming exists to make us feel beautiful even when we feel bad about ourselves. And we have no time to wait for an ideal society that will go through reflection and remorse one day and, realize what wrong they have done to our freedom and self-esteem since centuries. It is only us who owns the role of messiah to support ourselves, turn into Princess Charming for ourselves and pamper ourselves every moment feeling how beautiful we are.
Last but not the least, it’s time that we realize that we can be the creators of this society, all we have to do is inspire each other, have each other’s back and empathize with each other. We have to be convinced in ourselves that, from now, society will not create us, instead it will be created by us.