13 October, 2010
KS would be retiring by the end of November, 2010 and is busy preparing all the documents needed at the time of retirement. One requirement is a photograph of the retiree along with his/her spouse. When I was at Shimla he would be reminding me time and again about this photograph which we needed to get clicked jointly and that too at a photo studio. It was already late as he could not submit the papers because of the want of the joint picture.
Undoubtedly, the first item on our agenda at Hamirpur was to get a picture clicked. Early in the morning the next day he asked me to come with him to the market but I refused point-blank. Not that I didn’t understand the importance of the photograph but because I had to colour my hair.:) How could I get myself photographed with grey strands showing prominently on my old head? And that too when so many persons in the Shimla office of my husband would be looking at my picture? I wanted to look my best. Vanity, thy name is woman, seemed so very true in my case. Next day as soon as my husband was off to his office, I started with the “look young” project and started with my hair. Closing the door safely, I started to paint my hair black—jet black. I was waiting to take a shower and a head bath and waiting to see my hair in their new avatar. Keeping my fingers crossed I looked at my face in the mirror after the head wash. My hair were black—jet black. I looked very similar to the Ramleela characters who used to don artificial black hair on their heads. There was no way to turn back the clock. The worst part was that along with the hair my forehead, too, had become black. I wanted to scrub it clean but the colour was stubbornly adamant and would not come off. You can well imagine how I must have looked. In the evening I kept my head covered very demurely in the fashion of a newly wedded wife as I wanted to hide my hair and its colour. But how could I escape the telescopic eyes of my husband who is a born spy when it comes to finding new happenings in our home or life.
To cut the story short, it was a very difficult decision for us to make whether to get the photograph clicked or not. My black crown was in sheer contrast to my husband’s pure white crown. I opted to keep my head covered with my dupatta but then that, too, seemed very old fashioned to us. Well, after a great deliberation we decided to get the photograph clicked the way I had donned myself to be—a black haired, wrinkled old beauty. My husband kept reminding the photographer that the picture is meant for the retirement papers. He was perhaps hinting at him to mellow down the shade of my hair but when the picture came the photographer had not done anything in the photo-shop and I looked much, much younger to my husband. KS, now, rues at the picture and has called his office at Shimla that because of some inadvertent circumstances the papers cannot be submitted as planned. I shampoo my hair everyday waiting for the grey strands to emerge gracefully and KS, like a hawk, microscopically looks through my hair, waiting for them to regain some of the respectability that grey hair added to my crown. And I have kept the copies of all those pictures where my hair look so black as it never had been!