To dye, or not to dye?

To dye, or not to dye?


It all started with an innocent selfie. When my son clicked the selfie, what caught my attention was the message that flashed over the captured image of my face: ‘31 years, female’. While the second part was a known fact since my birth, what thrilled me most was the flattering proclamation of my age, estimated at 29 years less. What more would a woman love to hear!

Not satisfied, I asked my son to hover the camera-eye around his father’s face. To our surprise, it had no guesses to offer, confirming my foregone conclusion that no one can read anything from his face. Even algorithm failed there, though it could detect my son’s age from his face as ‘30 years, male’. Thus, I became the first mother to have a child who was just one year younger!

Problems started from this point. I became more self-conscious —  about my youthfulness. Grey hair is an indicator of age; I wanted to cover it as much as possible. ‘To dye (frequently), or not to dye’ became a haunting dilemma.

Experience had taught me quite early that dyeing is an art better left to the experts. I still remember the chaos it created when I decided to do it myself. The result was such that I had to apply for one-day leave to camouflage my overly done black hair. After that fiasco, I never ventured to do somebody’s job.

Recently, as my ill luck would have it, I had to do it myself. ‘Shampoo it off in 15 minutes’, it advised. I applied it thickly. I then got a call from my daughter, the chit-chat lasted for 45 minutes, and my head looked as if someone had heaped a bucket of coal onto it. My beautiful 31-year-old face definitely looked disfigured.

There were three functions in a row the next day, and naturally, I could not run away from ‘exposure’ this time. I could feel people taking a second look at me — rather at my head — and sometimes, even the first look was directed towards my bright black hair. I did get noticed, but how! I was cringing inwardly.

Then to my surprise, I also realised something: they saw it alright, but there was no nasty remark. Not even one. Does it mean that among people who matter, a person’s inner self is more important than outward appearances? Yes, the colour of the hair, black or grey, or the age revealed by your face is immaterial for those who care for you. Such things don’t matter, after all.

This thought cheers me up quite a lot. As they say, experience is a great teacher — anubhavam guru.

Still, I have made an advance booking at my parlour for my next dyeing session. Philosophy is alright, but it’s always better to be on the younger side, you know.