This is going to hurt just a little bit*

I have mentioned a lot of times, about the most annoying physical attribute that bothered me forever, and earned me the tag of  ‘Monica at Barbados’ at K. My hair. Yes. I always blame the roots for the kind of hair I have. My roots, not the hair’s. See, you can take a South Indian out of the South of India, but you cannot take the South of India out of a South Indian. My hair was standing (literally) proof for that. It was the kind of hair which makes one go ‘Oh, Mallu’ instantly. Now technically, I am not a Mallu, but my ancestors decided to settle down in that part of the country many years ago, and though I did not bother about it, my hair seems to have taken the fact way too seriously.

So in short, it is all curls, and waves, and frizz, and volume all over. In other words, unmanageable. So much so, that when I would comb it for an hour and then tie it up with a scrungie three times over, it would resemble, as one very original classmate put, ‘water gushing out of a pipe’. Yes. And it would make yet another classmate ask a question I have been asking myself for ever, as his comment in the yearbook. Every day is a bad hair day?

So every day was a bad hair day. So as soon as I started earning, and visiting places for regular pedicures (yes I did, for one whole year), the girls working there would make very sorry faces at the said hair. And suggest ‘straightening’. ‘What? Straightening? Chemicals?’, I would think. Impossible. ‘One should never use any sort of chemicals on the body to look good, it can only get worse’, my mother’s pearls of wisdom rang in my ears. Was there actually anything worse? I wondered. I could not think of anything. What if I went bald! That would be worse! Added to it, I would have flashes of one unfortunate straightening victim I had seen up close, and that sent shudders up the spine. No way. I rejected the idea.

Until one fine New Year’s eve, I actually took the pains of picking up a new dress, and shoes to go with, for the party. First time earners do that a lot. I tried it on, and it was nice, except something was not right. Ah. There it was, right on top. So that afternoon, when I went for the customary pedicure, I ventured to ask the girl, if I could temporarily straighten my hair to see if it worked? And she was all grins. ‘Of course, we will use the best products!’

That evening I walked out with the sleekest, shiniest hair ever. It was magic. I could run my fingers through it, and they would actually come out. When I stood in front of the light, there was no halo of very tiny, micro-curls forming a layer over my head. I swear I could the light reflecting in my hair! Each strand was separate from the others, and not in a clump like they usually were. And once the twisted hair, which once reached my shoulders, now was half-way down my back! It took a lot of will power to pull myself from in front of the air cooler, with the hair blowing around my face like in a Bollywood movie sequence. Basically, I was sold.

I called my mom and told her that I just had to do it. She sighed. Some conversation consisting of phrases like ‘ kids these days’, natural beauty’ (yeah, right!), ‘lovely curls’ (oh ya, right there, one foot above my head), ‘chemicals might bald you’, later, I had scheduled an appointment with Habibs, for a ‘permanent’ straightening.

What followed was, close to torture. It is not easy. This whole procedure. And it is definitely not a ‘pampering session’. I doubt if you would call 4 hours consisting of a lot of tugging at the hair, ironing of the hair, the smell of ammonia, sitting with your hair stuck on a board like thing, a comfortable time. It is hell. And it is annoying, because you have to keep your neck stiff, bend it when they want it, and not yell when they accidentally scorch your ear with the iron. But I went through it all.

4 hours later, I was let out, with strict instructions to not let ‘water touch my hair’, ‘tie my hair’, or eve ‘tuck it behind my ears’. For 3 days. After which, they would rewash it and let me go. I did it all. I worked from home, I used a scarf to keep the hair off my face, and in general whined about how difficult it was to have a bath. And once again, 3 days later, I walked out with a flourish, and head full of brand new, straight hair.

Only, in the world of hair straightening, permanent does not mean ‘permanent’. It means 8 months, or lesser depending on how fast your hair grows. Here, I blame the roots again. This time, the hair’s. My hair grows super-fast, and obviously, since my hair roots take my actual roots seriously, what grows afresh is still, well, Mallu. So I am left with part curly, part straightened hair, which frankly looks pretty bleh. That is when the straightening iron is my best friend. And then, it is back to the salon for another round.

But for all the effort, life is so much better. And for the first time ever, the hair is, touchwood, good. I leave it open, style it the way I want, and there are no weird looks. All my life I complained about how thick and wiry my hair was, and how that could never be a good thing, but this routine that I have been following for 4 years now, proves me wrong. No hair can survive the (ill)treatment, that I put mine through. Chemicals, ironing, all are terms that form part of my mother’s worst nightmares. But it is now just part of life.

As long as the hair takes it all in its stride, and sticks by me. And to my head.

*Title taken aken from Ogden Nash’s poem about a visit to the dentist. For some reason, when I think of it, I think my annual hair straightening ritual fits the bill too. Try it, you will agree.


109 thoughts on “This is going to hurt just a little bit*

  1. i envy you 😛 unmanageable hair is still better than thinning hair no? 😛

    one of my old roommates had hair like that and she resorted to straightening too…works wonders, she says 🙂

  2. 😀 That was fast! Hmmm, the grass is always greener on the other side? 😉
    It does, it so does work wonders! It is total makeover 😀 Only the ones who do it can know it!

  3. I’ve always been worried about getting anything done to my hair, I’m afraid I’ll wake up the next day and find huge clumps on my pillow 😛 But you’ve inspired me – I think I’ll get my hair coloured soon!

    1. Hehe 😀 It is not totally weird to worry, because I have heard of people complain of issues! But then, I have realised that as long as it is a good place, as in well known and trusted, and tried by others, it is safe to try! Plus, once would never hurt much 🙂

  4. U are a girl after my own heart…

    I was actually considering straightening my hair after the umm compliments i got after temporarily straightening my hair for diwali…

    But i am scared – coz i have basically nice-ish hair slightly wavy adds character i feel but those compliments were well…nice to hear…

    and 4 hours in a parlour scares me…but maybe i shud take the plunge

    1. 😀 I am just glad you think so!
      Hmm, well honestly, if I had manageable hair which I can leave open when I want, I would not have gone for this. Instead, I would do a temp straightening once ina while, or even better, get an iron, so I can do it when I want! Because end of day, it is chemicals!
      Oh, the 4 hours are very horrible! Takes me a a whole to recover 🙂

  5. I want the old template, this one is not so nice 😦 (Sorry about that but friends are allowed to give honest feedback right?)

    So you roots.. I think they are long-lost siblings of my roots, who for some reason, forget to add the black colour in my hair while sprouting!!. I have been avoiding colouring my hair for a long time precisely due to reasons like you mentioned – what chemicals, what if I go bald and what not. But this time I am all set for colouring it finally!

    I am so glad you found and embraced straightening just like I am accepting hair colour 😀

    1. 😀 Yes Piyu! Honest comments is the way to go!
      Just to clarify, the template before this was better? Anyway, I will try a few more and you can tell 🙂
      About the hair, ah, see now I understand, yes, they must be first cousins! Color up the hair, and then put pics! 😀
      Oh, and thanks for the compliments! 😉

  6. rechristened


    Rebonding was the best thing to have happened to me…while it lasted. Even though my natural hair is almost straight (just a tad wavy at the ends), I get lot of knots. But after rebonding, I could go without combing my hair for three days haha
    Alas, it also lead to a lot of hair fall, and I did not have the courage to go back for touch-ups. But of late, I have started reconsidering my decision 😉

    1. :S Again, it is for people who cannot open their hair without making themselves look 5 inches taller in the process :S
      Hmm, hairfall is scary! But I have hair which would have caused 3 normal people to go bald, so I can afford it! Touchwood 😐
      But the sleeky shiny look it gives is undeniably awesome! 😀

      1. ok…rechristened..i think my hair is like yours. so i am feeling a bit encouraged…but tell me are u certain that rebonding caused hair fall…is there some other treatment which is nicer on the hair.

        Sorry Di…i am turning ur blog into hair consultation site 😛

        1. rechristened

          At least for me, I am certain rebonding caused the hairfall. It’s been over a year since, and no more hairfall. Everything is back to normal. That said, it’s possible that others don’t face this issue. Ask around. It’s worth it (minus the hairfall, of course) 🙂

  7. Wow! I love your pics on FB 😀 😀
    I must say the hair treatments you’ve endured have given your hair a fabulous look 😛
    I have very mild curls too and I succumb to peer/cousin pressure of straightening with an iron once in two years, but seriously someday I too shall muster courage to buy one of my own after your brave move 😀 😀

    1. 😀 Thanks CB! This has become a way of fishing for compliments considering most of you all are on my FB list! 😉 I am not complaining!
      Mild curls are pretty I think, they look super feminine, if they can be controlled! And yes, buying an iron is a good idea, especially to change your style once in a while!

    1. Ooh! Isn’t that poem awesome? 😀 It actually had a pic too, with a guy’s mouth and lots of little people with tools and hammers inside! very cute!
      Oh you want old hair pic? Er, ok, Will bring them up on a day I am feeling extremely pretty 😉

  8. oh beleive me I been there tooo, I use to have long hair and tiea a turban so my hair grew the wrong way if u know what i mean, and when i got mine cut i had a horrific time .. so much so that i did the ultimate SHAVED THEM OFF .. yeppp and it was winters and i remember it still it was the silliest thing and COLDEST Thing.. 🙂

    this reminds me of those times

    Bikram’s Question time

    1. Wow! That seems to be tough! I had a friend who used to wear a turban too, and he had such thick hair, it used to hurt. But he could not cut it, and so he used to wash it with rin for it to fall off 😐

  9. This is such a topic…very close to my I too have a horrible hair…I thought your story will end in some tragedy of kind “I-will-sue-the-salon” and I would find some solace in your misery 😦

    But No..Its a cheating, Your tricked me into reading this (using that title) 😛

    On a non-selfish note..have a great hairy(err.. ) years ahead 😉

    1. Hehehe, I am writing things which end on a positive note!
      Anyway, frankly, I do want to sure Habibs because what they did , was substandard, but I did not want to bore you with the details. I shifted salons now, and life is good!
      I have seen one pic of yours, and I thought you had abundant hair (isn’t that what all guys want?)
      Thanks and may you never have a receding hairline too!

  10. subbulakshmistoned

    I SO know what you mean! I straightened around July & its already growing out. Bloody pissing off. But it is my fault too. I am the worst haircaretaker(sic) on this Earth. I don’t brush my hair for days, and after rebonding this just got worse!
    Although, my experience was slightly better. Good, infact. They took utmost care, gave me a discount(“but but, i am a student. i can’t afford it. i have been saving up since 8th grade for this!”), fed me with juices and soft drinks through the 4 hrs of torture, asked me if I wanted a pizza lunch and gave me a free wash 😀

    1. 😮 PRay tell me what this awesome place is 😦 😦
      Hmm, they say deep condition often and all but it wont happen, and u dont feel the need to brush often anyway 😀
      But isn’t the feeling awesome? 😉

  11. Hmmm…Well that is sad! But hats-off to your hair man..hahaha strong enough bear all that!

    But guess what…Straight hair is never that easy..I have it..long, straight.. jus kinda filmy way. But you have to have a hell lot of patience to maintain them..else they get thinner..thinner and thinner… 😀 😀

    Nice post though! Had fun reading it 🙂 🙂

    1. Thanks Harsha! 😀
      Sigh, guess I will understand the pains of those who have naturally straight hair! Especially since I spend a fortune on getting it that way! 😀

  12. Ah the dentist poem.. I remember!

    And woman stop cribbing about thick wiry hair. I have been “blessed” with straight hair. Silky, if you will. And I can do absolutely nothing with it. No matter how awesome the ahaircut is, the next day, all of it justs flat on my head and I hate it hate it hate it. Maybe I should go get it whatchacallit.. Permed 😛

  13. RK

    Tch Tch.. SO thats the story of how “Outstanding” became “Common Place”

    Btw.. Your hair was well liked in TIME classes 😀

    I can show 5-10 people… I swear 0:-)

      1. RK

        Just a correction…

        “It was nout outstanding, it was STANDING OUT ”


        Some years down, you will wish for those curls back.. WHen the hair starts thinnning…

        Oh! wait.. thats for men!!

        Its ok I guess

  14. hehehhhe 😀 was fun reading this 🙂

    I have similar hair (or maybe not) but they’re curly, unruly and the day I wash my hair is the worst hair day ever cos my arms ache after untangling the knots and the end result is nothing from what it first looked like! So I know how it is!!

    But I did not go for rebonding for the exact same reason – they will grow back curly at the roots and only the ends will look straight 🙂 Plus I have no patience to sit for 4 straight hours! Phew!

    Instead, you can try blow drying your hair neatly ( you can learn how to on youtube I guess) and apply a frizz-control lotion and it looks just as nice 🙂 I have a straight iron too and use it only on certain occasions. But the blow dry is almost a regular thing on my calendar 🙂 Of course, even blow dry is not recommended for regular use cos it blows hot air on the hair and makes it dry, but once/twice a week shouldn’t be so bad.

    1. Yeah! I know, have heard that and tried it, but so much work no 😦
      Hehehe, lets not talk about hair wash days! Phew! i am surprised I have not built muscles combing my old hair 🙂
      Well, I am sure some day the poor hair will give up and then it will all be frizz control lotions and tying up!

  15. sheetal

    Been there done that!

    Half curly, half str.. is another nightmare.. i know how awful it is 😛

    The only thought that runs on my head is, after a couple of years, will there be any hair on my head to straighten 😛

    Nice post!

  16. ajay

    The title is so apt and I loved that poem. Once you see a dentist, you’re done for. Good for you that it all ended on a positive note 🙂 Yeah, and how was The Social Network? 🙂

    1. Hey, thanks!
      I loved Social Network, totally! I would recommend it too! the dialogues were hilarious, and very nicely done 🙂 I am glad I went!

  17. Every one is talking about your FB pics… me wants to see them too :(. I have terribly straight hair. I once went for curling and the curls lasted for just 4 hours :P.

        1. Why dont you take a template that is nearest to what you like and make all the changes that you want? I find that easier as i work on css code but have no clue about php :(.

  18. hmmm … i see.. that kinda hair is a headache,, my mom has curly hair, just like dead hair so it came to me frm her … in our community boys having a long hair is very rare and the ones who have long hair has natural straight hair so i get noticed coz im lil bit different… wen i grow my hair up to my shoulders, bee’s use to enter my hair thinking its a hive ,,, no matter hw many gels and creams i apply there will be 1 hair standing tall in the middle of my head… sometimes i get angry and cut that 1 hair out ,,,

    1. ROFL! One hair standing on the head? Really funny! 😀 So you have long curly hair? Like that guy in Action replay, the son? Cos that’s pretty cool I think!

  19. n 1 more thing … i linked u in my blog …check it out,,

    i tried to inform u in another way not from a comment(sorry for using ur comment box) but i coludnt find a way …

      1. hei you allready checked my blog yea …

        y don u put sum meebo o sumthing like that so we can giv u short informing messages>> like {{ hei im updated }} so u can leave a feedaback for me in my blog … 🙂

    1. Ouch! Yeah, like I said, i know a lot of people who disliked what they saw, and it even led to major hairfall and discoloration! But falling in love with your natural hair is as cool 😀

  20. I am on the other side of the bridge! 😀

    I am sooper straight hair.. almost Chinese-like and I would love to get some curls to add some drama & volume (duh!) to my sad state of leaving my hair or tying it in a pony-tail..

    The grass is always greener on the other side!

    1. Hmm, why don’t you go for one of those dramatioc hair cuts only suitable to straight hair, layers and all! But you’re right, Wish we could average ouyt the volume and the curls! 🙂

  21. ohhh Huggggs girl … I inherited weird hair – mix of curls n straightning .. so when ever i shampooed ppl told me sai baba was born!!!!

    Straightened thrice but then had a really bad exp 😕 … now I just resort to my half straightning myself and lower level of curls .. thanks to the red color .. ppl find something itneresting to look at the had 😛

    1. 😀 Ohhh! You know what, I wanted to make the Sai Baba reference myself!
      I am too lazy to straighten myself anymore, that’s why I keep doing this chemical thing! Oh and the red looks goood!

  22. Ogden Nash twice in two days! First at PB’s and now here…I always remember that poem whenever I have to follow some reallly reallllllllly torturous routine!

    Really! I’m dilly-dallying between should I should I not and your post makes me go off off off the BPs which want to put my hair thru this!


    1. Welcome back Pinooo! 🙂
      Hehe, one has to take the chance once, and then decide for or against for the future 😉 Let me know if you do it! Lovely poem no?

    1. Thanks Preeti, and no, I am not on leave 😦 Have a tough day at work for that matter!

      And once again, thanks for coming out of hibernation! 😀

    1. Heheh, hmmm, if you have the patience, and the bad hair, you should try it :P!
      Also, yes, that was all about hair consultation! Fun, this 😉

  23. Pingback: A year in the life of a straight haired girl | And that's what it's all about

  24. Pingback: Day 20 – Kaali teri choti hai, paranda tera laal ni | And that's what it's all about

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