Thursday, 23 July 2015

To believe or not to believe – hair myths!

All girls know what it is like to be, well, a girl! Mothers, aunts, neighbors, colleagues, mothers of friends, Stylists, random women we meet on our commute, Kim K and “experts” (PHEW!!) – all feel like it’s their birth right to give their opinions and tips on skincare, beauty and grooming. And the moment you start talking about hair care – there are 100 years old myths to deal with, never mind unsolicited advice! So here is my bit to help clear those up:

·         Hair should be washed daily – NO. Unless you have the extreme kind of oily skin and live in a tropical region that only makes it worse! Washing daily strips your hair of essential oils and damages the strands. And god bless you if u have that kind of time!

·        Conditioner needs to be used once a few weeks only – NO. Conditioner is essential EVERY single time you wash your hair. It enriches and moisturizes your hair after shampoo strips the oil off. It is the most basic kind of protection and care you can (and ought to) give your hair

·         All you need for gorgeous hair is a great haircut – NO. Although, I wish that could be true! Yes a haircut can alter your entire look and it takes a talented stylist to recognize which style would suit you and your hair best. But it will not miraculously alter the texture if your hair! If you hair is naturally frizzy, it will continue to be after a fancy layer cut. Fine, straight hair will still fall limp. Your salvation? Styling and products!

·         Styling damages hair – YES. Styling tools use heat to set hair, and in the process damage your precious strands. The damage becomes more evident over time, when these tools are used regularly. The only way to reduce the damage done without foregoing styling (and the resultant impeccable hair) is to use heat protection products before getting started with the tools

·         Oil is good for the hair – YES. Oil is nourishing and wholesome, it imparts much needed moisture to your hair. It is great for deep conditioning and some even have properties that make them great anti-dandruff treatments. Doesn’t mean you load your hair up on oil and walk around for days, it is oil not a leave-on conditioner! (Traditional Indian women in some societies still oil their hair immediately after a wash and leave it on till the next wash!) Leaving oil on will only make a great base for tons of dust and grime to settle in. Don’t even get me started on the visual appeal!!

·        Cutting hair often helps it grow longer – NO. Hair grows from the roots not ends. Cutting the ends will not make any difference to the pace at which your hair grows. Trimming your hair once every 3-4 months is ideal though, because split ends make your hair unhealthy in general. Unhealthy hair will result in hair fall.

·         Use of a lot of products ruins your hair – NOPE! That is one of the most demented things I have heard and I still cannot get over it. Products protect and nourish and tame and HELP your hair! Help you, achieve the look you are trying to. Overdose of a product or use of too many at the same time definitely can weigh your hair down and give you a look that is far from natural. Sometime it even ruins the look, but it surely doesn’t “ruin” your hair! Amen.

·         Keeping your hair tied will protect it – NOT necessarily! Leaving your tresses loose does expose it to pollution and sunlight and dust. Hair is more prone to tangling when it loose. But all these problems have solution – yup, the magic in the form of products! Keeping hair braided does have a few advantages, but damage is your prime concern you should not shy away from leaving your strands loose! Also, keeping your hair tied too tight (in buns or ponytails) stress the hair roots and often damage them permanently. Nice damaged, the same hair follicle will never grow new hair. So you might wanna  rethink that topknot that is supposed to ‘protect’ your hair!

·         You need to brush your hair daily – Uh. NO. Especially, honey, if you have wavy to curly hair and if frizz if your biggest enemy, the hair brush is in the same ranks. It is ideal to brush or comb your hair before a hair wash, the other alternative being combing wet hair immediately after a wash. But whether you style your hair or let it air dry, brushing will only bring down a parade of frizz and ruin the style. If you feel like you MUST run something through your mane, your best bet would be a wide-toothed shampoo comb.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Why we run from 'love'...

Remember when we were kids and heard all the adults talk about love, read about it in fairy tales, watched actors fall in ‘love’ in romantic movies? It seemed like a painfully simple yet beautiful concept. We thought it would be a natural, almost default occurrence in everyone’s life. We expected for love to come our way only to make things better. The inevitable happy ending!

And then we grew up! In the process, we got a taste for what love actually feels like. If love was indeed as simple as we would like for it to be, we all wouldn’t be running away from the mere mention of it. We wouldn’t choose ‘casual’, temporary, convenient relationships to fill the place that true love should have in our lives. But WHY? Why are we so afraid? Love doesn’t kill you! Or does it?

Love - the real thing - when it comes along, takes your breath away!

You think all the years of prepping yourself, almost like rehearsing for that big performance, would make you more capable of bearing the impact of ‘true love’. But no! All those dates in high-school, kissing all the wrong people, crying over them when it ended, still does not come close to what it feels like when you actually fall in love. And yes, you fall. Headlong into that abyss, willingly and eagerly, not realizing that there is not return from it.

And then your heart breaks, again! Classic, hey? Just cuz it was love, doesn’t mean it was going to last! I’m not saying no relationship lasts forever. But we all go through our share of heart breaks before finding the ‘forever’ - if at all! And that is if we have the courage to embrace love when it comes our way again, in the first place. So many ifs!

Nobody said heart breaks would be painless or easy. They hurt, so fucking bad! But it doesn't  stop there. And you thought it couldn't get worse?

While you were busy holding yourself together, physically clutching your arms across your chest because you felt like your body was being torn apart from the inside, while you were looking for something, anything to numb that unbearable pain ravaging your soul mercilessly, while you were looking for something to fill that huge, gaping, raw hole in the deepest part of your being, all the while that you were tending to your heartbreak – not only was it successfully resisting every move you made to recover, it was also changing you.

It changes you from within, your very essence. When the storm finally starts fading, leaving a breathless and shaken you in the wake, you do not even realize that the person you were before does not exist anymore. It only starts becoming evident when you get back on your feet and try living your life. Slowly you realize, you have become someone else – a stronger but damaged version of your older self.

Is it just the fear of a heart break though that makes us run in the opposite direction from even the possibility of love? Are we so afraid of the torturous pain that a broken heart causes? Maybe not.

To love is to open yourself up to another person, feel for them from the dead bottom of your heart, give them access to depths of your soul. When you love, you let yourself become vulnerable to someone. You are one person, living for two people, as one entity! Confusing? It always is!

The lines become blurred, you do not know where you as an individual end and where you as one half of this ‘couple entity’ start. You have two people’s dreams to fulfill. You start giving up on things that are important to you, to make place for this relationship. You let go of things or people you held dear to you. You want different things now, things that are in tune with what your significant other wants. Before you know it, you are putting him or her ahead of yourself. Subtly but surely, your principles and values are changing.

One fine day, when you look back, you do not even recognize yourself. You are happy (hopefully!) but nothing like the person you were before you fell in love. And worse – you don’t even know when you changed so completely! And THAT is what is scary!

Because we don’t think we are capable of this kind of love. When we think of epic love stories, we think ‘Romeo and Juliet’. What we do not realize is that love itself is epic! It is the most powerful, devastating, and complicated thing in the universe. It rules our lives.

It is overwhelming to realize we can love with as much abandon as the characters of a legendary love story! It is terrifying when we truly understand how much of ourselves we are willing to give up for love. How much of our life and world comes to revolve around another person.

And when someone like that fucks you over, how do you trust again? There is no short cut to recovery from such a betrayal. Of course, this might be one person (or a few people) who left you shattered and lost. But it isn’t really about the people. It is about love! A feeling so intense that it crowds your entire horizon.  An emotional web so intricate, beautiful and gossamer that you willingly get caught in it.

There is no reigning in love. There are no measurement scales. How much is too much? Any control is only an illusion when we are ruled by our hearts! And that’s why we say ‘fall’ in love. Cuz it is indeed a free fall, and there is no stopping mid-way or coming back. Once you’re in, you go all the way. And if you need to come up for air, however quickly you realize it, when you do come up you are breathless and broken! Isn’t that petrifying!

So it isn’t the other person we are unwilling to trust. It’s ourselves and the force of our own emotions that we are so afraid of! It’s a gamble too. You could be truly blessed to find love that turns out to be your fairy tale. Or you could be left broken hearted and damaged.

So for those of us who realize exactly how powerful and untameable love actually is, the prospect of getting sucked into it again is daunting. There are those who find the courage to swim into that whirlpool again. But then there are those who run away from even the suggestion of it. Some probably never will be brave enough to indulge in the sweet, sweet joy of loving someone will all their heart and soul!

What do we do then? We look for the kind of relationships that leave our hearts and sanity out of it. We pursue the infamous and much simpler lust, instead of searching for love. We build sky high walls around ourselves, with chain link fences outside and inside it, so no human capable of doing our fragile souls any damage will ever reach it. We keep our hearts and our emotions in a trunk, locked up, where they will remain safe. And we find solace and joy in uncomplicated, temporary, fulfilling affairs!