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Problems of Hair
Vinod Anand | 25 Aug 2013

Problems of Hair (Vinod Anand) The problem with reaching the stage where one is thick in the middle and thin on top is that one becomes painfully aware of the hair—or lack of it on the heads of those around, especially on the idiot box. The other day, I saw a Japanese woman being interviewed on a news show. The cascading pink hair on the top of her head indicated her creativity to me even before the caption on the screen described her as an artist. If pink hair is 9 on an artistic scale of 1 to 10, maybe the Amy Wine house number ‘Back to Black’ was all about the late singer obsessing about running out of creativity And the absence of hair could define an actor playing the stereotyped role of the villain’s sidekick, ala Hollywood’s late Shetty A cricketer’s hair has its own credo. Take Lasith Malinga whose streaked hair befuddles the conventional cricket fan just as his side-arm slinging action keeps the batsmen on their toes. Kevin Petersen’s volatile hairstyles keep the fans guessing just as his switch-hits confuse not just the bowler but the umpires who don’t know whether to give him out LBW or not if the ball pitches outside what should have been his leg-stump before he switched his grip. Football has its own hirsute frenzy. During David Beckham’s heyday, soccer scribes ran out of epithets to describe his frequent changes of hair-style — and fans wondered if his spiked hair could bend the ball enough to make it swerve past the goalkeeper. But then, a Beckham who didn’t mind being photographed wearing a sarong obviously felt he had earned the right to fool around with his hairstyle. The coaches, however, might have longed for a guy who could play extraordinary football like Beckham, but with normal hair Politicians, of course, prefer the straight and narrow in keeping with their perception of what the electorate wants. So much so that some of India’s septuagenarian ministers —and there are quite a few of them — have been known to wear a wig so as not to stand out in public. Perhaps it was this meticulous attention to artificial detail which saw an Indian minister forget that the speech he was delivering at an international forum was not really his but someone else’s. Not that too much diplomatic damage was done since most such speeches are so clichéd that no one can take offence. There are, of course, those who go out of their way to offend, like the balding Nikita Khrushchev who took off his shoes and banged them on the podium at the UN while screaming, “Nyet! Nyet!” That’s Russian for “No! No!” The loss of hair can also lead to unfortunate consequences, some of which were described in the Harry Belafonte calypso which went, “Samson was the strongest man long ago. No one could a beat him, as we all know/ until he clash with Delilah on top of the bed/ She told them all the strength was in the hair on his head”- The good book tells us that the unconscious hero was captured by the Philistines who blinded him after removing all the locks on his head. But they forgot that hair today, gone tomorrow, returns the day after. And a revitalized Samson pulled down the pillars and brought the roof down on the congregation, something which India’s municipal authorities regularly do every monsoon when old buildings collapse like a pack of cards. One wonders how the Philistines with their proverbial lack of aesthetic sense would have dealt with Japanese artists with pink hair!