The braids and their story

The cane of the teacher couldn’t stop the hair from being grown so long and the tight schedule of my mother couldn’t stop it from being braided. Having long thick hair, braided and adorned with flowers was an essential part of my morning preparations to go to school.

I was ready to miss the chapattis but not the braided hair. The rickshaw puller used to complain that the other children were being punished in the school for my fault but he would realise the futility of his anger once he gets a glimpse of my braids. 

They were very much the same every day but the love infused into them by my mother when braiding the hair makes it special. Seated like prince, I used to hold the braided hair in my hair and move it from one side to the other so that none of the passer by's misses to have a glimpse of my beautiful hair and the flowers that add to its charm. 

An occasional toffee from one of the hundreds of admirers of my hair was an appreciation of the hard work put in by my mother. Being the only student in the class with such long, beautiful hair, I was the natural one to be preferred for the roles of Radha, Sita and many other mythological figures whom the scriptures claim were beautiful. 

While all this made me a special person, the effort that had to be put in was tremendous but at the same time joyful. The day of my mother would start at three in the morning. Two hours later, I would be woken up and my hair would receive the deserved attention for over one hour. 

A paste made of some natural products which only my mother knows would be applied to my hair and I would be made to stand still like a statue. Occasionally, I would doze off when my mother would come running and reprimand me. A head bath with Reetha would then follow after which the hair would be dried with ‘samrani poga’. Coconut oil would be applied with utmost care to energise every hair strand. Then comes the most important part - the braiding of my hair. It would be the simplest style on most of the days but during festivals, the braids would look quite complicated and beautiful. Occasionally, an intricate knot at the top resembling a flower would be made. 

The flowers would then be bought from the backyard and they would be arranged in harmony with the braids.

Fast forwarding life to the present, things aren’t very much the same. The hair has lost its jet, black colour. It has become thinner and shorter. And the vibrance once present in every strand of my hair no longer exists. 

Blame it on not just the changing environment but also on myself. After being married, household chores stole the attention my hair deserved. And now, it is the grandchildren who ought to be taken care of. I wonder even today how my mother was able to set aside so much of time to take care of my hair. But surprisingly, my hair feels much better than that of the most beautiful women in our neighbourhood, both young and old. There is definitely a huge difference in the way the hair is treated and braided now. Reetha and the secret paste are no longer viable solutions. Shampoos and conditioners have taken those roles. 

An occasional visit to the beauty clinic adds some artificial life to the once self-sustained hair. Dye makes it black and oil has been doing the same task as that in the past but in much lesser time. My hands have become feeble and they can no longer braid the hair in different styles. Even the simplest of the braiding styles takes long enough and the naughty pranks of my grandchildren only increase the time required. Flowers still haven’t lost their place but sometimes artificial ones are used when the natural ones aren’t available, for they no longer grow in the backyard.

Life has changed but the love for my braids hasn’t. Things are difficult these days but not impossible if one accepts minor changes and some overhead of work. The smile of the onlookers on seeing the braided hair adorned with flowers justifies the effort required to make it appear beautiful.

This is an entry for the contest 'Beautiful Ends to Your Beautiful Braids' at IndiBlogger sponsored by Dove. Learn more about Dove Split End Rescue System here  If you have liked this entry, do vote for it here.



Good work. Wish you all the best.

Have a nice day.

asteria's canvass

i would have gladly accepted you as girl if i didnt knw ne better....:)


Very creative...
Ajeeth boaz


Very Creative and nice illustrations through drawing !


very beautifully portrayed with superb pictorials.
best wishes.


nice drawings...


Thought provoking

Divya Khanna

nice post with drawings!

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