On Being

Ever since going bald early on in the pandemic, I’ve maintained a short buzz, about half a cm at best. It’s convenient, fuss free and I don’t need to depend on anyone for a haircut. The funny thing about going bald is how it has made me feel more feminine than before while confusing some people in the world outside. Errands and walks tend to see me in pants and a tee which mean I could very easily pass off for a man. I rarely wear earrings now because of the mask and it’s no surprise that there is confusion. Inevitably, the gaze moves from my head to the chest to verify that I am a woman. I wonder if it should bother me and I realize it doesn’t simply because I don’t feel naked.

It made me think about what does it mean to be a woman? A younger me would have a different answer, one of rebellion perhaps. As an older person, I don’t consider myself as being limited to the identity of a woman. I just happen to be female among the many other things I am and do. There is no neat box that contains a person, we are so much more than our limited identities.

A few days ago, I saw a delightful little film, Dancing with the birds. Such elaborate courtship rituals with the ladies needing to be impressed and their almost ruthless practicality when it comes to choosing a mate. The male and the female of the species have their place and tasks to accomplish, neither more necessary than the other. While we lament the disparity between men and women, there have always been the free spirits who have sung their own tune, taken off on their own flights. Nothing could hold back the force of their freedom. I suppose it boils down to one’s own sense of personhood and how much can be tolerated. When the pain of remaining in a situation is greater than the pain of the unknown, there is the possibility of change. I’m inclined to think of it as being mostly personal. Change begins in the singular; its fruits though are collective.  Quite like a seed that grows into a tree, a gift to the future. The trail blazers have forged ahead, mostly solitary and with their sights on moving to a song only they hear. In the process, they also cut a path for those yet to come.

Another packed work day but managed to carve out an hour at lunch time to go on a walk around the neighbourhood. It never fails to energize and refresh thinking after long hours staring at a screen. Besides the urban wild, there were cricket games, a drum seller, some delicious masala dosa and  wafting music.

6 thoughts on “On Being

  1. Stunning images! I had wondered if you were still bravely bareheaded. I was just thinking about how conspicuous I have sometimes felt in India as a bald man (as all those hair regrowing clinics attest to). Good to know you are still wearing your own femininity with style! 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Nice photos, so much life in these 🙂
    Couple of weeks ago at the barbers, to the question how long I wanted to keep my hair, I answered on an impulse ‘Just run the trimmer to keep it at a bare minimum’. The feeling is of freedom. I feel most things are relatable by analogy to this. The more stuff (physical/non-physical) we keep, the more you have to maintain and the heavier you feel.
    Though not comparable to what you may be feeling, I can relate to some extent now.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Often haircuts would happen when I felt heavy. Somehow after going baldish, I have been light of heart and in a sense also free of any conditionings. Maybe that’s why some of the ascetics would get tonsured?

      Liked by 2 people

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