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Jul 07

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Combed Out

These days I seem to have unconsciously developed an ability to conjure up dreams which at the least could be described as ‘strange’. I thought of using the word ‘weird’ instead of strange, but upon little deliberation concluded that the latter word would serve the purpose just fine without distorting the context or doing injustice to the meaning.
While the subject matter of these dreams seem to cover a wide vista of hugely irrelevant figments of imagination such as same sex matrimonies and peculiar discussions taking place within the confines of a high ranking official in the Income-tax Department (just to cite a couple of examples), almost every single one of them can be classified as downright silly and never sublime. Another point warranting mention is that all these deranged dreams are invariably in colour and of a considerable duration. It is almost as if a theatre (not to be confused with the one in which dramatic arts are performed live) has transposed itself in the deeper recesses of my sub-conscious mind and plays out for my benefit on a regular basis a movie of its own choosing. These frequent shows are never the same and maybe the virtual movie house also has its own pattern of new releases. There are no public demands for a re-run or the possibility of re-release by employing ultra-modern technologies to celebrate the rip roaring success of an erstwhile masterpiece.

There also seems to be a mutual arrangement and an unspoken commandment amongst all the involved parties regarding the timing of these peculiar kaleidoscopic visions. More often than not they occur just prior to the break of dawn, thereby making it convenient and conducive for me to chronicle the same in as miniscule a detail as possible.
One such usual suspect assaulted me in the early hours of dawn today. This was a particularly disturbing dream and one which I fervently hope and pray is not a portent of a foreboding event. This was also a unique one, as for the first time, it was bereft of the usual panoply of colourful characters, the hustle and bustle of a garbled human activity and sequences of continuous action. The most startling fact about today’s dream was that it was completely devoid of any medium of sound. The whole duration of the dream was engulfed in total silence. Silence that was so loud and deafening that even the greatest cacophony of assorted noises would have been dwarfed in its presence. It was a silence that was stillness personified, a slow seemingly unending and perpetually prolonging silence. I was the only, sole and central character, for a change. Though I would have liked to employ the word ‘protagonist’, the subsequent narration would bear ample testimony to the fact that no protagonist would have resorted to conducting himself/herself in the way in which I happened to do.

Hence without any further ado, let me wade into providing as detailed a description as my recollection would admit, of the stupendously perplexing and singularly inexplicable dream. The dream begins with me standing in front of a mirror in the bedroom of our house. I am clad in a simple white shirt and a black trouser whose creases are slightly out of place. I ought to state here the fact that the mirror in the limelight here is a full-length one, and hence providing recourse to a commensurately full length view of the human standing in front of it. My hair is in an extremely unkempt state and it is a tangled mass of an intricate criss-cross of black and shades of grey. In my hand I am holding a cream coloured comb which looks as new as a sword that has just been unsheathed from the maker’s scabbard. I then proceed to put comb to hair, scalp and follicle and begin the simple process (so I thought as would any ordinary person) of combing. At the finish of the first brush stroke (is there a word called “comb-stroke”? If so then after the first comb-stroke), I am aghast to see that there lies mangled between the fine teeth of the comb a clump of hair! Though rattled by this sight, I proceed with the process of combing and after every single stroke; more and more hair is separated from my head till such time there is an ungodly heap on the mantle piece on which the mirror is placed.

Undeterred by this seemingly astonishing spectacle, and not deploring in the slightest the rapidly disappearing mass of hair, I keep going on and on and on, until I realise that the light from the environment friendly and energy efficient Wipro manufactured tube-light is reflecting on and deflecting off my shining, bald pate!!! Yes I had just now perpetrated the most peculiar self-demolition act (arguably as I hear that men have done many worse and unimaginable things to themselves through the ages) ever committed in the history of the world. I had combed my hair from the time it was a crown of confusion till such time when not a single strand was left on the head. This was certainly a BARBER(IC) act if not a barbaric act!!! Ladies and gentlemen, I had combed myself bald!
There was a complete transformation in the personality who had just stood in front of the mirror just a few minutes ago. It was almost as if a totally different entity that had for an eternity been surreptitiously hiding in a secret passage behind the mirror on account of a loss in identity, suddenly jumped out chancing a god sent opportunity and metamorphosed itself into me and deprived me of my original persona. There I was standing in utter disbelief, gawking open mouthed and staring at a reflection which in an equally bemused replication was doing the same thing.

Now for a moment let me depart from the dream and try to introspect on the basis of the recollection of the image in my mind as to how exactly I was looking in a hair-less condition. While some people who are inherently bald are spared any blushes whatsoever, that being their innate state of affairs, people are accustomed to looking at and being in the vicinity of such bald heads without reaction of any sort. On the other hand, temporary baldness is a different story altogether. This baldness may be either a purely voluntary act or Vis Major (an act of God). A voluntary act of baldness may be necessitated or initiated due to a plethora of reasons such as tradition, religion, or simply a style statement. In all those cases while initial view of such loss of hair may be viewed with an assorted basket of emotions such as pity, surprise or even skepticism, the gradual and steady re-appearance of hair results in the restoration of normalcy. An involuntary loss of hair that is an act of Vis Major is invariably looked at with dollops of sympathy and the re-appearance of hair then becomes a reason to rejoice for the active as well as the passive sufferers.

But what about a baldness that has been brought about by an act of combing? How would the world of medicine categorise this phenomenon? Since the complete hair loss has been brought about in one swift stretch, would it be classified as an acute disorder? Or since it is not certain as to whether the loss is repairable or not, would it fall within the ambit of a chronic ailment? Has such a precedent been ever recorded in history before? These are all questions for which arriving at an answer would be a very difficult proposition.
Let me now relegate to the back burner these complex riddles, for one way of overcoming a problem is to stop mulling over the same. Sometimes even the much maligned ostrich-centric approach may be the most logical and rational approach. Now let me try to seek out a channel of optimism. Let me explore as to whether the new found bald state of mine compared with the pate of the hundreds of celebrities who have been admired, adored, subject to deification and sometimes even idol worship in spite of their complete lack of hair on their respective heads. Some of the total recall names were the following:
1. Andre Agassi;

2. Bruce Willis;

3. Sinhead O’ Connor (even though of a different gender altogether) ;

4. Michael Jordan;

5. Some 2500 characters from the Lord of the Rings;

6. 21 hideous looking hunks from the World Wrestling Entertainment (the formerly ubiquitous WWF);

7. Yul Bryner;

8. Emperor Boris I of Bulgaria;

9. Seal;

10. Vin Diesel; (can there be anyone who has not seen at least 1 series of the Fast and Furious) and EVEN

11. Virender Sehwag!!! (though bald in the middle and with sprinkling of hair at the periphery);

Alas in my case hope does not seem to spring eternal! While some of the characters mentioned above were either cavalier in their outlook or act, some were absolutely debonair. While the characters taking up serial numbers 5 and 6 defy any sort of linguistic or logical description and are not at all amenable for an explanation, the rest of them are all charmers in their own ways. I was not able to compare my bald pate with that of any of these famous personalities.

Since my baldness was brought about by a quizzical act, its appearance also seemed to be equally quizzical. When compared with a normal balding pate mine seemed to be different in both structure and shape. There was a slight elevation right in the middle of the head resembling a road hump and extending from the middle in both the left and right sides of the head. There was an identical topography just a little above the hypothalamus in the region which could just be spotted from the eye line. If a few fluorescent reflectors were to be stretched out at strategic intervals on the elevations, the sole thing amiss would have been a board with the warning sign “illuminated road humps ahead drive slowly”!! I at this point end my introspection in a sombre vein and with a stultified sense of optimism and hope by stating that the literal “double headed” visage of mine was mired in its own inglorious fashion and for all the wrong reasons was singularly incomparable.
The dream ended with me standing in a bewildered manner in front of the villainous mirror like a mythical Rapunzel whose hair had been chopped off or like a Biblical Samson who is reduced to a powerless and meek figure upon the taking away of his hair from which he derives insurmountable power and might.
To conclude, being neither an interpreter of dreams nor a person possessed with the gift of crystal grazing, I cannot ascribe any meaning to this dream as there seemed to be no method to the macabre madness committed by me virtually. If in a Eureka moment, I happen to grasp the true meaning of this extreme vision (the chances of which are extremely bleak and come on I don’t even have a bathtub at home!!), I will definitely pen a follow-on explanation.
In the meantime I hope and pray that there is no redux of such “hairy” dreams arising out of any more “bald” imaginations.

About the author

Venkat

maniacal penchant for books, more books, still more books and lot more books - When I am not watching cricket that is! Love my Scotch and scribble for fun!

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