Braided Memories ~ Pages from my Diary
After chasing my cousins on a sultry summer day, I fell into my grandmother’s lap. She stroked her fingers into my hair and it felt heavenly. She unclipped my hair and I rested my little head close to her bosom. As she blew air on my scalp and with the sweat beads evaporating, summer turned into spring. ‘You have beautiful hair,’ she said and started braiding my hair. Too tired to argue, I let her make two braids turning one side after another. ‘Go see in the mirror, how pretty you look’ and I darted into my parents’ bedroom and loved what I saw.
June 21st, 1991
I love playing with Shilpa. I think we can be good friends. We talked about writing letters to each other and she said we will be pen friends. I hope we go to Pinjore on Saturday and eat cassata. Grandma made two chottis on me and I like it. I think I will buy ribbons matching with my school uniform. I’ll tell Mamma to buy ribbon when she will go to market.
Restlessly, I rubbed my eyes, paced towards the corner and lifted the newspaper. In about fours hours, I had to be ready for Richa’s birthday party. With constant flipping of magazines and channels, I was confused. I had to look pretty, ‘I will straighten my hair,’ I thought. It was the new cool thing. I washed my hair but another load shed dashed my hopes for the evening. I was about to cancel my plans when grandmother entered. ‘Anything wrong?’ ‘Look at my hair, I don’t want to go like this,’ I grumbled. ‘Why don’t you braid it?’ grandmother asked. It wasn’t the best of ideas, but I dazzled it with a hair band and rocked the party.
August 5th, 1998
It was the best day ever. I looked way better than Anjali. Just when I was about to cancel my plans, grandma told me to braid my hair. I did that and I looked so pretty. Even Rohan complimented me. I should try that often and I need a nice bag.
I was in a pitiful state as to what to do, deeply disturbed; my life was in a mess. Loss of a loved one can change you in unbelievable ways. I missed my grandmother, her wit and warmth had helped me sail through many tough times. Coupled with a breakup, work-wise, life-wise, family-wise and hair-wise, it was all dull. I went to her room after I came back from Office. I have always loved the view from her window and I sat there, opened the old album and lived all our memories. Dad came too and we talked about everything. It was like having a conversation with yourself. I felt light.
March 7th, 2005
I have some peace today. I can’t discuss my break-up with anyone and something is surely wrong with my new boss. Dad and me sat in grandma’s room and I found her picture in the almirah. She was looking very beautiful. I wish I age like her, gracefully. I found some peace and solutions. Will start meditating to clear my soul and use better shampoo and braiding to soothe my hair.
For a couple of years life has been an excellent teacher. I learnt from my mistakes and won accolades at work and compliments for my looks, especially hair. With constant nourishment and care I became a head-turner. Those dull, unhealthy hair with split ends were gone. Food, exercise and a better hair care range gave me perfect tresses. On my wedding day, I flaunted a braid, a perfect braid and adorned it with grandmother’s memories. I needn’t ask anyone for ‘how I looked?’...the look on their face was answer enough. My body, mind and heart were in a state of bliss.
April 15th, 2009
2009 is a great year for me. I would always treasure it. After marriage, life has been busy but I’m loving it. We got the wedding album yesterday and the pictures are stunning. I don’t know it’s the braid or something else, I think I quite resemble grandma and I miss her.
Transition from girl to woman changes you but few things become a part of your existence and taking care of myself is one of those. Though being a mother to a three year old girl I have very little time to spare for myself but using a good shampoo has worked. On hectic days, especially in summer, I knead my hair into a braid and it is as smooth as it was first when grandmother introduced it to me and I feel the twist and turn of my hair holds her love till date.
March 18th, 2013
Siya is becoming very naughty. I have to look for some summer activities for her. She has fine hair and I hope she keeps it long when she grows up. If grandma would have been alive, she would have given her braids. Today when I was getting ready and saw myself in the mirror, I felt I resemble her. I think aging gracefully is in our genes.