Dolly Koghar gives her generation’s perspectives on topics du jour
Whether back in the 1940s or today, we’ve remained slaves to the tyrannical dictates of society’s norms. The most tedious, time- and money-consuming, and as futile as locating the actual Fountain of Youth, is our
eternal race against the relentless invasion of greys in our crowning glory. Scared to be judged as ‘lazy’ and as ‘letting ourselves go’, in our early years we plucked them, only to find a hundred the next morning. And whilst we gained age and wisdom, the greys and whites also gained momentum. Eventually, when the pigments leech from our hair, we’re faced with a dilemma: let the greys show, dye them, or get haircuts that hide them a little. For us Sardarnis, it’s more complicated: we don’t cut our hair so we tend to tie it or keep it knotted, making the greys around our face that much more obvious. Our spouses are lucky – the turbans conveniently hide their greys; they have only their beards to worry about.
In the early 50s, with the advent of Clairol hair dye, it was sold furiously into our collective psyche that to remain significant, we needed to retain our youthful looks by hiding our greys. Although we did and still view men with salt-and-pepper hair as ‘distinguished’, or even a snazzy ‘silver fox’, greying women are disparaged as dowdy and haggard, including by our own kind.
Fast forward to present day, when trends and social norms are undergoing dramatic and much-needed changes, including greying issues. We’re the generation with opinions on everything. Here are some archetypes in the community and what they think:
THE HOUSEWIFE WHO’S LEARNT TO EMBRACE HER GREYS
This go-getter in her late 40s looked into the mirror, took a deep breath and realised she’d never outrace the greys. So, she decided to embrace the ‘grey revolution,’ which Victoria Marie dubbed as ‘the new blonde’. In so doing, she pushed back against the taboos and stereotypes, and defied the pre-established standards of what is acceptable as beautiful, which took more than a fair share of strength and stubbornness to resist buckling under society’s well-meaning advice. The toughest part is embracing the ongoing changes her hair is going through, but she’s weighed that against her healthier and thicker hair, and the money and time she’s saving to do more fun things with her children.
THE WOMAN WHO’S ALWAYS CARED ABOUT HER LOOKS
This vibrant and socially active granny isn’t going grey, ever, as long as she lives. She loves the way she looks, and the time and money spent in keeping her mane as black as the day she got married doesn’t faze her. She’s baa yoe; thrives on the compliments from her grandchildren and their pals on how young and hep she is.
THE TV-SERIAL- AND CELEBRITY-OBSESSED WOMAN
She’s is young-looking with a nice thick head of hair and not the scanty, thin hair where grey and silver make it look even less. Her greys are starting to show and she’s swaying between going the way of Jessica Biel, 36; or Katie Holmes, 40; both of whom attended award functions with their greys exposed; or to get a pixie cut to hide them just a bit longer; or swing to the other extreme and dye them silver to avoid suffering through the transition period. However, our own Big B has confused her with his silver beard and darker-than-Sholay hair. She’s still in a quandary, although she’s looking at numerous websites like grombre.com, www.thegraybook.com and the #GrayHairMovement, created to inspire, empower and motivate her onward on the greying journey.
I recommitted to going silver after watching Nafisa Ali in Life is… Metro (2007). She had gone completely silver at 50 and her face juxtaposed against her mane made her look very real and so very much more beautiful than during her Miss India and Miss International years. Today, 11 years on, I speak of an invisible bond we sisters-in-silver share; an unspoken camaraderie whether it be a friend or a stranger on the BTS. We know that housed in our silver heads is a more vibrant, liberated and confident person; one who mustered tremendous strength to accept and embrace the daunting but inevitable transition phase of greying: first the skunk streak; then becoming a Cruella look-alike, sans make-up. We made it to who we are today, against the tides and dictates of well-wishers and fashion, and are living our fullest lives with our grey hairs!