I started turning grey and dyeing my hair while I was still in my thirties not because I really wanted to — I thought the grey strands framing my face looked rather nice — but because I let a friend of mine, Anjali, talk me into it. I was in between husbands, and subconsciously thought I would be more attractive if I showed no sign of grey. Who wanted a crone? And once I had begun, I couldn’t stop, as all women who dye their hair know — there is that interim period where one looks like a raccoon. I continued to put the poison in my hair every ten days, which is how long it took for the tell-tale roots to begin to show. I let myself grow grey again after Donald’s death — not with any particular intention — but because I was grieving too much to think about it. Besides, I had thought I would probably never marry again. But life has its own agendas. Sometime before I met Payson I had started to dye my hair again — perhaps as a subconscious acknowledgment of my emotional needs and an almost harrowing sense of loneliness. After Payson and I got together,  he read an article somewhere about how carcinogenic hair dye is, and wanted me to stop. I did, and it was a measure of my trust of Payson’s ability to look beyond appearance that encouraged me. For over a year, perhaps even more, I was a happy raccoon.

To backtrack a bit: before I stopped dying my hair, every time I looked at myself in a mirror, I was very displeased. The words that repeated themselves through me were, who are you kidding? The black was altogether too harsh a color, and the brown didn’t feel any better. I thought — believe it or not! how stupid we humans are — perhaps blonde would work? But though it was too wild an idea to implement it did tell me that I was looking for something lighter. After my grey had grown out — I knew, this is it! So much camouflaging to let myself be natural!

Last night I had a dream that at a counter of a beauty shop the mother and daughter team threw some dark powder on my grey hair and turned it back to black. I was so pissed and angry that I shouted at them: I will sue you, bitches!

Subscribe to Kamla's Blog