Monday, 8 December 2008

Life as a Longhair

I once read on a website, that long haired men with hair length going beyond their shoulders, constitute about 2-3 % of the adult male population of the world. This basically means we are a minority and therefore it is not uncommon to face discrimination.

Life, as such, is not very easy as a longhair. Surprising, because I inhabit a country which is home to the Sikh, an entire community of men who sport long hair because of their religion.

Indian history has always portrayed their men and gods as long haired (with the exception of the priestly class) and it was only post-colonisation that short hair became the norm for men. Yet, Indian society chooses to forget the past and hang on to its Victorian attitudes.

Unless you are a sadhu or a Sikh, Indian society is quite intolerant of long haired men. You will be accepted as you are by a select few. The majority will either stereotype, rebuke, make fun of or try to reform you.

In my 4 years as a longhair, I have faced many such a situation. Sometimes these slurs even come from your friends. I do not blame them, because as an Indian, you grow up in a peer group which subconsciously legitimises taunts.

These incidents range from those that made me angry to those that are simply hilarious.

This is one such hilarious one, at the end of it, I did not know what to reply.


When I was in my second year of post-grad college I had just about started to grow my hair for the first time. During this time, we had a class-trip to Maharashtra. On the way back from the trip, we had taken a train from Pune.

As usual, being a bunch of students on a daylong train journey with not much to do, we raised quite a ruckus. While some of our co-passengers did not mind the noisy banter, some were justifiably a bit irate.

After sometime, one such co-passenger, a punjabi woman in her late fifties, paid us a visit. She had come to ask us to keep it down a bit. But then her eyes fell on me..

She sat down beside me, and referring to me as "beta", asked me the reason for my long hair. Obviously, when you are referred to as a "son" by an elderly lady, wise crack replies and snarky comments (my defenses when random people ask me such questions) were not an option. So I tried to explain as best as I could. She did not listen. But what she told me thereafter left me dumbfounded.

" Men should not keep their hair long.
A man's virility is stored in his blood. And the hair on the head sucks blood from you. That is how it grows long, by sucking blood from the head and neck.
If you keep long hair, you will lose your masculinity.."

I could not reply. Faced with revelations on the vampiric nature of hair follicles, I had no counter arguments. Logic deserted me on the face of such arcane metaphysical wisdom.

All I could manage was a small whimpering
" Ok, I'll cut my hair when I get back".

On hearing which, she left. Happy,on having managed to quiten us down. Happier still, on being able to save a young man from losing his virility to vampiric hair.


  1. Lol! I'm feeling very virile after reading these... damn!.. Why didn't I meet anyone like that when I had vampires sitting on my head?!

  2. is that so? what if, like me, you're a longhair who's balding?

    does that affect virility?

  3. hmm...i must ask the lady..but logically, it should neutralise the vampires..

  4. funny!!....
    loosing one's virility is a scary proposition......

  5. funny old lady...... by that theory, it means that i am not feminine? :D
    ......i like guys with long hair...i find it very sexy.

  6. >>Sometimes these slurs even come from your friends. I do not blame them, because as an Indian, you grow up in a peer group which subconsciously legitimises taunts.

    methinks, snakey, you read too much into peoples' actions. not all jibes are slurs. there is such a thing as good natured leg pulling simply because so-and-so is slightly removed from what most people see as the 'norm'...

    i speak as a one time fellow longhair...


  7. Hey! I've got something for you, just read this a few days back in some book.

    Now onwards if sumone comes n givs u such gyaan, tellthm tht - "But I use Saandey ka tel,so everythings taken care off".....Believe me, this will leave thm dumbfolded and they wud get the message very clear-
    They giv us, WE give them back!!!

  8. garlic, crucifixes..and now saandey ka tel..vampires have a hard time..