Pressing his joints deeply into the mattress and trying hard to cover all of his body with the quilt Raghu ribbed Zoya. She yelped “Raghu” automatically and turned the other way while expertly arranging her quilt so all of her body was covered. Raghu’s hair seemed to be warming his face along with most of the quilt. I leaned over and tugged at the quilt and covered his legs which by now had goosebumps on them. I suddenly felt that nagging sensation of a strand of hair on the back of my forearm. I angled my shoulder and craned my neck but could not find any annoying fallen strand.

My hair has grown to my waist, almost. It is thinner than it has ever been but also silkier and lighter. I could never stand having my hair open and wild but having lost most of it, it all just hangs light and easy down my back now with an elastic hairband keeping it off my face. Recently I can see the grey and white more clearly. They add tiny natural shimmers in a way that a highlight job at the saloon never did. Over the years I have often felt uneasy about the amount of time and money i have spent at beauty saloons. And having low pain thresholds meant using up valuable energy towards steeling myself, alerting the saloon lady for the 15 thousandth time that my skin is super sensitive and then promising myself to get over the need to remove what is natural.

Recently a few difficult, energy consuming couple of months helped me on my way. Suddenly for the first time since I started to wax all those years ago as a student in Mumbai, I have not waxed my body hair in several months. My unibrow is taking on a ferocity that i only remember seeing on my grandmother’s brow. Some well wishers openly recommended I get an appointment as soon as i can. They would help me if i needed a recommendation. Just do it soon they urged with concealed wonderment at my lack of body awareness.

However i have never been more bodily aware than i am right now. Every floating strand on my body is waving in the wind. Which is why i keep craning my neck and try to get the errant strand of fallen hair only to find that there is nothing. Its the movement of air thru my hair.

I am exploring how to be responsive to situations without standing firm. About a year ago i expressed my new love for being anti-soap/shampoo. Within a few months the scent of a shampoo i used to love sent me right back into the shower with it. I still go a couple of days of the week without soap. I am no longer holding myself to an ideal, I let it flow. Even as i feel the wind in my arm-hair I remain light heartedly aware that the next time Raghu says with innocent honesty that he thinks my upper-lip needs a shave, i may just make that appointment. Meanwhile i vainly think I am beginning to resemble some of my favourite artists who favour the au natural look, namely Georgia O’Keeffe and Frida Kahlo. A quick search online reveals that there is a growing positive body-hair awareness among young women. So maybe there is hope for my daughter to grow amongst people who keep or remove hair for reasons of their own comfort and not because beauty cannot be hairy.