The epicentre of the compounds of quarters, 3-5-7-10 KMC Manipal. The tweens met. Their mothers immersed in their siesta, and fathers at work. Siblings out on adventures of their kinds. It was a time to debate and research.
The tweenworld had discovered a new icon, “Parveen Babi” I am talking of mid seventies. The conversation went along these lines,
“You know Jaya Bhaduri’s award for best hair in Hindi pikchurs (pictures) has gone to Parveen Babi.”
“She is so pretty no…”
“She’s big girl ya, but she wears pants.” Wow. Parveen Babi made Sari’s look westernized too. Not the comfort girl next door which the then heroines Jaya Bhaduri and Rakhee projected or the made up doll image of Hemamalini and Sharmila Tagore.
These were real girls. And like all tweens we had to ape our icons, Parveen Babi and Zeenie Baby.
Unfortunately our genetic and ethnic codes were different instead of tall angular features, with poker straight hair, we were southie kids, and one of us a mallu to the boot.
In retrospect she had lovely hair, but back then Anupa’s only dream was to straighten her hair, which was a bane for according to her it looked like springs popping from her head!! As for me, I hated the curls that gave me – I stand corrected that give me an ungroomed look.
For god sakes, look at Parveen Babi her casual chic, and here we were stuck with curls, Mother Nature was cruel.
It would have been utopia for us to have the breeze through our waist length hair such that it fluttered like a black flag (shredded obviously ) but alas, the curls didn’t flirt with breeze they lay on the back like oily charred sausages.
Then there were kids like Gayathri and Rukmini on the block, who had such straight hair that their braids were at right angles to their scalp. — can you imagine the pain we sincere fans of Parveen Babi felt that mother nature had treated us so shabbily by bestowing curly to wavy hair!!
We knew not of straightners, and hairsprays. I don’t really recollect when exactly shampoo’s entered our toiletries, though I do remember Cynthia from the Brides Beauty parlour, the early parlours to pop up in Udupi telling us to dilute shampoos five times before we used it, else it would damage our hair, and blow drying would burn both our scalp and hair.
But Anupa and I had discovered that the blow dry did straighten the hair until we oiled it next day.
What!! Not oil what rubbish… we didn’t dare offend our mothers, it was oil alternate days, on Sunday beat an egg white add lime to it, apply it to the scalp when it dries, wash it off with “SHAMPOO” finally rinse it off with tea decoction which was the ultimate conditioner.
I honestly wonder how we must have smelled, oil+ egg goo +sunsilk 1:5 dilution + tea decoction.
Our hair of course did have a kind of gloss, even an imagined straightness, but then it was like
There was a little girl
With a pretty little curl!
Finally we took the bold step. Anupa’s mother had a steam iron, we massaged the scalp with oil, then rinsed with rice starch without a fresh water rinse held our hair out in its full length, ran the steam from the steam iron it. Fortunately we were too scared to take it close but our hair, had a lovely rice starch mask, not to mention the subtle aroma of burnt rice followed by an inability to sit down for next week.
We still didn’t give up this time we spread our hair length on the ironing table, ran the iron on it. The first stroke not only burnt our hair, it also rendered our
dreams of poker straight hair to ashes.
How we bemoaned our inability to pay homage to the great tweendom icon Parveen Babi.
May her soul rest in peace.
BTW I still use sunsilk but I alternate between black and Yellow.