When I spotted my first grey hair – that lone pioneer poking brashly from an otherwise homogenous mass of silken auburn locks – I was probably too young to give it any serious thought. It was ridiculous, really. An anomaly. An aberration. A laughing matter. I plucked it out without further ado and promptly forgot all about it.
When I came upon its cousin a couple of years later, things were different. What the fudge?! I thought to myself, and, wincing as I mercilessly jabbed at it with my tweezers, parted my hair in several places to check for more of its kin. There weren’t any – or they’d rushed into hiding – and so again, I forgot about the incident. Eventually. My pulse slowed down, the memory faded, my psyche healed itself. I could be carefree again. But not for long.
It could have been weeks, months, or a whole year later that I found another one. And then another one. And then another one. Like solemn messengers, they kept appearing, unyielding, reminding me of my transience, mocking my vanity. By then, I’d made peace with their presence, simply plucking them out whenever I came across them. It’s okay, I thought, I’m good with this. I’ve come to terms with growing old, I mused. Naïve as I was.
Then one day, I parted my hair in a new place and came across a whole cluster of them. It was like walking into your bedroom to find a party of wrinkly, shrivelled octogenarians – all stark naked – playing canasta on your bed, complete with tea and crumpets spilling all over your comforter. I felt violated. It’s too much! It’s too soon! I heard myself screaming inside my head. This was it. This was the beginning of the definitive, irreversible, end.
Now, I’m trembling in anticipation of the next phase.
Now, I know what you’re going to say. ‘For crying out loud, Jay Bee, just dye your hair!’ But I don’t wanna. I’m actually not completely opposed to being grey-haired. I think it’ll suit me. It’ll underscore my eyes and complement my complexion. But I was somehow imagining the process to take place at an undefined time far, far ahead in the future – like death, or my trip to Brazil. Meanwhile it looks like the future is right here and death is lurking around the next corner disguised as a carnival dancer.
Still, I’m doing better than many of my peers, so I guess it’s just a matter of adjustment. And if I can’t stand it, well, I guess I’ll just dye my hair. Purple.