I’m bald by choice rather than heredity. Baldness may not be fashionable, yet it appeals to me for one simple but often overlooked reason: It’s never messy as hair often is. As American humorist Don Herold put it, “There’s one thing about baldness: it’s neat.” I enjoy the freedom a hairless cranium brings—one’s spared the time-consuming task of oiling one’s hair, then parting and combing it carefully, ensuring every strand is in place, before rushing off to the office or a social do.
The soothing feel of a hairless pate is something only a person with a tonsured head appreciates, especially during the scorching summer. One’s spared the misery of going around with a mop of hair soggy from perspiration.
Of course, the Yul Brynner look—old-timers will recall the ruggedly handsome actor’s clean-shaven head—does draw attention, both appreciative and scornful. When I came home with a fully tonsured head recently, my wife of 45 years’ standing couldn’t suppress her mirth after the initial shock. And the novelty of my hairless skull amuses my relatives and friends no end. However, my six-year-old granddaughter was dismayed by my makeover. With the typical bluntness of a child she snapped disdainfully, “You don’t look nice!”
Talking about baldness, I’m reminded of Persis Khambatta, the plucky Indian model who created quite a sensation in the staid 1970s by appearing with her head tonsured. Yet, with her delicately chiselled features, she personified feminine grace, never displaying a trace of self-consciousness. My baldness also vividly reminds me of my teenage years when we boys, munching groundnuts in cinema theatres, just couldn’t resist the temptation to bounce one off the shiny, hairless domes seated invitingly before us, quickly assuming a look of utter innocence. Now, life having turned a full circle, I’m not disconcerted when I sometimes find myself at the receiving end!
And is there a better way to eliminate dandruff than a complete tonsure? It beats all those much trumpeted anti-dandruff medications hollow. Now, thanks to my regular tonsures, I no longer enjoy the dubious ‘distinction’ of being one of the most prolific producers of dandruff south of the Vindhyas!
Of course, friendly ribbing does come my way now and then —a close pal calls me “skinhead”. But that hasn’t in the least weakened my resolve to go hairless. I’m just proud to be part of the “Bald Brigade”. Others may prize a full mane—but I certainly don’t!