Expanding universe

Thirty three per cent shall be for the women; one has been hearing this line a lot these days. Even so, I didn’t expect to see it in place in unlikely areas too. I was sitting in one of the back rows of the hall. The music concert was engrossing but as it happens, my attention wavered after a while and the mind slipped to observing the others in the audience. As I scanned the rows of heads sticking up the front seats, I was shocked to observe that a third of the balding heads sported hairpins/hair bands/flowers!

It was intriguing. How and when did women butt their heads and break so successfully into this traditional male bastion? Surprisingly, whoever I spoke to not only admitted to noticing this, they also had the answer to why it was happening. “It is the hair dye”, said one emphatically, “so full of inorganic chemicals. I am surprised that after years of regular use, we have any hair at all on our heads.”

“It is the stress that is at the root of the problem,” diagnosed another, “with women taking as much work stress as the men, the hair follicle too are taking the same route.” “It is the treated water”. “It is the shampoo”. “It is the helmet”. “The climate change is the cause!” I had more answers than I had bargained for. But I rejected all of these explanations as superficial. For I have read enough mystery books in my life to know that the obvious suspect is never, ever, the real culprit.
The best selling book Freakonomics has also strengthened this belief and driven me to look for the real cause underneath the deceptively apparent pile of reasons.
Impressed by the authors’ style of analysis that turns conventional wisdom on its head, I resolved to exercise my brains and come up with the right answer to this modern day riddle. I persisted with the question of why more and more women were baldly revealing their scalps, and the answer sought me out.

I was dragged in to be the referee in a domestic quarrel. The wife’s contention was that the husband was unreasonable in expecting her to make the complicated festival dishes like his mother used to. “He plays one role while I multi-task”, the exasperated woman argued, “Some days my head is so full of things to do that I fear it would burst like a balloon.” Like a balloon! That was the cue! I immediately recalled the middle school lesson on the expanding universe.

The universe is constantly expanding. Astronomers know it is so because they see that the various galaxies are continually moving away from each other. This concept is typically explained in the books with a balloon. As we blow in air and the balloon gets bigger, the patterns on it move apart, like the galaxies, creating more empty spaces between them.

Eureka! It sure was elementary!

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