A few weeks ago, I set about making a list of problems that every twenty-something guy goes through. The top of the list was a three way tie between girlfriend troubles, career progression and peer pressure. As I sat about thinking this through, scratching my head, I had my Eureka moment! (Of course I did not run naked down my dorm.) The answer lay in front of me. In fact it lay on the very hand of mine that had been groping around the black forest on my head (Talking about the hair on MY head here). Baldness – The B word that scares the hell out of every male member of the human race.
I remember reverently looking at those four strands of hair that had just been dislodged from their rightful abode. Three black and one silver. Yes, that is because silver sounds cooler than grey. These four had apparently served their life’s purpose and hence, had dropped down like the autumn leaf. Perhaps this phenomenon of hair falling was just an indication that all things in this world are temporary and I, like these strands, would one day fall by the wayside. Well, being philosophical about this had not helped one bit. I had pressing worries. My matrimonial site profile picture had just tanked 20 invaluable points. And when I try to project myself as a youthful person at a job interview, a tiny, but growing, bald patch wouldn’t really help. The interviewer would probably begin to compare the size of his bald patch and mine. Damn this judgmental world!
The realization that I was actually going bald had brought about a colossal change in my character and activities. Mails from Dr. Batra no longer went to my Gmail spam folder. All Head&Shoulders, Garnier and Clinic Plus advertisements made me sit up and take cognizance of their ‘features’ and ‘USPs’. I had also commenced the intense study of my plastic comb that I had used ages ago. And worst of all, I had begun to look at the heads of every single male acquaintance I had, searching for a comparable bald spot. Coming to my culinary habits, His Holiness Google had enlightened me that I had to increase my intake of proteins. Fish, eggs and tofu had become my staple diet. Six cups of green tea a day had made me immune to any kind of poison.
The very fact that a scale to measure baldness, called the Hamilton-Norwood scale, exists for more than forty years, indicates the enormity of the issue. What Dr. James Hamilton and later Dr. O’Tar Norwood provided to mankind was a means to quantify the ignominy suffered by future male members of this ‘highly evolved’ species. Flickering through the various probable causes of this baldness made me wiser about type of protein named Keratin, the spelling of androgenetic alopecia and nothing more. But the one thing that was distinctly common among all the scholarly articles on this topic was the attribution of hair loss to stress. Maybe that was the only cause that I could comprehend.
Having identified a cause, I decided to eliminate that cause. This, now, brings me back to the very question that I had once decided to answer – The list of stress inducing problems that face a twenty-odd guy like me. Instead of looking at the effects of those problems, I should perhaps look at solving them. Maybe I really need to handle the girlfriend issue first. But before that, I should change the spam settings of my Gmail. Dr. Batra can wait.
Ashwin is a member of LSD. He wrote this with the hope that the hair on his head remains “long and strong”.