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Bald is the new beautiful - Times of India article

Chanda Narang (top left), Ragini Lelitia Singh (top right) and Priyanka Borpujari (bottom)

With time, a shaven head has became fashionable as skinheads have eventually lost their shock value. Bald and beautiful is what these women would like to be called.

As the famous adage goes 'God created a few perfect heads. The rest He covered with hair.' Well, it seems the new age woman is trying to prove this saying correct. The image of a woman with absolutely no hair packs a visceral punch. And even though the number of women who shave their heads is less than their male counterparts, the trend is fast catching up. For a woman, the pressure of society when it comes to altering their looks has been a hindering force. Female head shaving is still considered taboo for many people. It was probably the very first desi glam babes Persis Khambatta and Protima Gouri who grabbed headlines when they showed the world that they go their way and went bald. The original " bindaas babes" remain a part of hair raising legend.

However despite all pressures, many women are opting to expose their scalps to the world and a growing segment of society is viewing their personal choice as a positive one. "Shaving my head was in my mind for some time, but this year on my birthday I wanted to gift myself something special and yes this was it," says Priyanka, a senior journalist who is flaunting her scalp with elan. "Around four years ago, I shaved for the first time and the world was shocked. I was sick and tired of public opinion as I enjoy doing unconventional things," affirms Ragini Lelitia Singh, Assistant Editor with a wildlife Magazine. She further adds, "The feeling was liberating, cool and pure. Everybody slowly got used to it. Pedestrians turned their head as children yelled, " Ganji! Ganji! But it made no difference to me. I enjoyed it as I felt I looked like a rock star".

A woman with shaved head is generally assumed to be some one who's broken the set rules and is declaring her freedom to the world. Amongst lesbians, a shaved head is a symbol of abandoning traditional male-gratifying femininity. "I was more convinced with myself, at this juncture of my life I prefer to live only for myself. People thought I'd become a monk" adds Priyanka

Heads turn

"Seeing my bald head makes heads turn, which I was not able to achieve when I had hair," affirms Ragini. For Hollywood celebs like Demi Moore, Skunk Anansie and Sinead O'Connor though, a shaven head was accepted as a symbol of women being in control. So are desi women looking and feeling the same? "We obviously know what exactly we want. I was clear that I was opting out of a male fantasy and the traditional society which expects a woman to confirm to a certain way," says Shikha Saxena, a call centre executive who loves the prickly sensation on her head.

But it's not always a style statement a woman makes with her bold hair style choices, religion too often takes a front seat. "Obviously a woman shaving her hair for a mannat at Tirupati earns more kudos than the male species. When I shaved my head I was applauded by friends and strangers who commented on the roundness of my head and my bravado. I realized that neither film-making, nor being the CEO of Frazer and Haws, nor being a brilliant artist had bagged so much of praise and attention," believes Chanda Narang, CEO Frazer and Haws.

A woman's vanity it was said earlier lay in her free flowing tresses, but today a woman is proud to reveal her shaved head. "Recently, I've been getting a lot of women clients who want to get their head shaved. I will not forget the first time this lady in her mid twenties came to my salon and asked me how much was the charge to shave her head. That was then and now I really don't even remember how many heads I've shaved. All the clients show immense confidence when they walk out," says Deepshika Roy, a leading hair dresser in Kolkata.

Envious looks

"I was certain that nobody was going to ever talk to me again. The day, when I walked into a salon, the hair dresser there just refused to shave my head. So I had to make do with a men's saloon and there too I could see people raising their eyebrows on hearing my request. I was sure about the funny looks that I would be getting," states Priyanka adding, "But people responded in exactly the opposite manner! Men who had never given me the time of day before I went bald, crossed rooms to talk to men stating, "I wish I had the nerve to do that!" I overlooked what society in general thinks about bald women. I think what happened was that people started perceiving me as a more daring and interesting person post shaving my head. Never mind that I hadn't changed anything else; it's just that my native irreverence was the most obvious" concludes Ragini. So, if you want to make a heady statement, now is the time.



October 2012



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