GREY MATTER ‘Hair Dye’: Two words that to me have signified a mask of sorts. A cover up, a pretence, a need to stop the inevitable. An urge to appear what one is not. A fight against nature! An unnatural defiance to halt what is meant to be! I have always had a few grey hair since my early twenties and every time I saw these little silvery shiny strands in my thick black mane of hair, I would deftly snip them to the ground, cut them to their roots and keep hacking at the tiny stumps that grew back as stubborn spikes. Over the years, the whites grew in numbers until it was hard to keep up with their growth. I mean how much grey hair can you keep cutting down. Especially the ones at the back. Eventually, I accepted the grisly fact that hair ‘dye’ was the answer. Everyone was doing it and it wasn’t even called dye anymore. Hair colour it is………..which sounds so much more glamorous, fun and most of all YOUNG! And, it comes in virtually all the colours of the rainbow. I was spoilt for choice. Do I choose a chocolate, walnut, mocha, cinnamon or chestnut brown? Sounds like a coffee shop menu! Perhaps, I should spice up my life and go in for a honey copper or a deep plum or soft cherry? Or should I up the ante and opt for a little more adventure with flaming henna red or a hot mahogany? What goes with my personality? Am I a demure dark coffee or a vivacious burgundy? What goes with my Indian skin tone? Is blonde and platinum out of bounds? ‘Midnight blue’ sounds exciting too. No, too outrageous! How about highlights and lowlights? That would mean going to a salon. I was going to do it at home. After much deliberation, I decided that I would stay safe and stick to something that matched my own hair colour or what it used to be. But mind you, no jet black for me. That was how the ‘aunties’ and ‘uncles ‘in my childhood dyed their hair. So unnaturally blazing black, that one could spot a hair dye job from yards away. So natural darkest brown it was for me. Safe, not boring! Conservative, not orthodox! Month after month, year after year it became a routine. The gloves, the brushes, the mess in the bathroom, the stray stain on my ears, and of course the disgusting odour of ammonia and peroxide for a few days and nights afterwards. But it was worth the trouble. All the greys were swiftly coloured as soon as they poked their way out of their follicles. Concealed from view and wiped away from my memory. As soon as they raised their ugly grey heads above ground, I painted away their existence. This would continue if it wasn’t for the time I was compelled to stop colouring my tresses, a few months ago. Yes, I stopped. I did the unthinkable. I went au naturale; I paused for a break. I gave my hair the chance to emerge out of its synthetic refuge. In its full crowning glory, just as nature intended it to be! It must have been a shock for people to see me without my disguise. To me, it was just I, the person without any embellishment. Me, minus any pretence. Me, with all my imperfections on show, no holds barred. To my own surprise, there was no shame, no embarrassment. In fact, it was a relief at not having to constantly hide what is very much a part of my personality. Perhaps it’s part of growing up, not just growing older. Of getting wiser not just being clever. Here I am in all my splendour displaying my light and dark locks, without a care in the world about what others think of me. It’s amazing to see how comfortable I am in my own skin or should I say with own hair! Perhaps, the best hair colour for me is ‘sensuous salt and pepper’. I’ll save the ‘midnight blue’ for another day!