I’ve wanted that Audrey Hepburn’s hair from Roman Holiday for ages. I saw the Roman Holiday movie when I was in Class 8 on Zee Cafe. That same night I asked my mom if could cut my hair short. She said, “No way. Your hair is growing fine just now without dandruff, and all the other hair problems they tell in shampoo commercials. No, you will not cut your hair.” I had to agree with mom. What else could I do? I asked mom next year again. She disagreed. I wore double plaits to school and ponytails everywhere else. No hairstyle adhu-idhu while studying at school is our family rule. Because apparently my dad found hairstyles and fashion as a distraction from studies.Hence, that rule.
My school hair was very amusing and comical. Once I had a streak of hair hanging on the side of my face. It hung down till my right cheek and I pushed it behind my right ear always. That streak grew very vertical but my mom couldn’t fit it in my plaits so it looked very awkward, very long and very me. Then in Class 9 (which I clearly remember) during SA2 exams I was infuriated with myself for not studying. When I’m hot-temepered and out of control, I do things that I myself am not aware of. That week, I don’t what got into my senses, I pulled down a layer of hair on my forehead and cut it. I think I wanted it to look like fringes/bangs but it looked like a group of ragged, uneven hairs that hung till the middle of my forehead. It was pathetic.
I was doing this early in the morning – 6:30 am and in an hour I had my Social Science exam. I took the rippled strands of hair together and pinned them with a pink heart hairpin. Those hairs stood up in the middle of my head as if they were electrocuted. During breakfast, my mom knew something was eerily wrong with my face. She found out. As I left for school she said, “school vittu veetukku vaa. Irukku unnaku.” Crap. That dialogue is something you never want to hear in your whole life. It means – “Come home after school. You’re going to get it from me.”
However, at school, everyone found out after some close-up shots of me. At first, my friends thought I was studying so hard that I didn’t comb my hair but only later they understood that I actually cut my hair because I didn’t study. They even nicknamed me Antenna Nadal. Later at home, I got a good deal of scoldings from mom on how ill-fated it is to cut hair on Mondays! I had that weird-never-seen-before hair till half of Class 10. Then my hair was decent for some days. I have a “never give up” attitude on everything other than academics. So I took up my hair cutting skills to my own head. I cut two layers of hair on each side of my face like… our former President Abdul Kalaam. It was terrifying. Oh no, don’t get it wrong. It suits Mr. Kalaam but it didn’t suit me. Again, I cut my hair on a Monday and mom caught me red-handed.
Mom : “How much times do I have tell you? DO NOT CUT YOUR HAIR ON MONDAY. Why do you even cut hair on your own? One more time you touch your hair, you see what happens. You never listen to me, do you? Just like your dad.”
Finally, Final exams got over and school ended. Then, I had the freedom to have my hair cut in whatever way I wanted. So I just informed my parents that I would be going to have my hair cut. My dad dropped us – me and my mom at the salon. After we reached the parlor, I told my mom, “I want short hair like Audrey Hepburn from Roman Holiday.” Mom said that I could do whatever I want. That dialogue actually went like “Do whatever you want” which discreetly refers to as I Don’t Care It’s Your Hair Your Face. ultimately after years of pining for that pixie crop, after some zips and snips by the scissors, after woefully looking at the chopped off hair next to my ankles, after clandestinely looking now and then at myself on the panoramic mirror facing me, after the lady who cut my hair asked millions times “do you really want to cut it that short ma?” – I got that Roman Holiday cut! I felt victorious and successful. It’s just a haircut after all but I yearned and ached for that hair for years and now my head feels so light!
My mom looked aghast. But she got conversant with my new face after staring at me awkwardly throughout the ride from the parlor to home. Later she said, “It actually looks good.” Hallelujah! But grandmas are ever-contrasting. When my grandma saw my hair she really clutched her bosom and appeared appalled. Please say my hair looks good. Please. Please. Because I can’t go on with someone at my back saying how I should’ve retained that long beautiful hair. I just kept looking back at my grandma. Then she spoke, breaking the spell of silence, “You look very beautiful. Looking just like me when I was your age.”
I wanted to look like Audrey Hepburn from Roman Holiday!