How poetry killed my hair.

Ibu_Studio.jpgI was not born a poet. But I was born with bad hair. Poetry arrived at a certain age. As poetry progressed, my hair became worse. As witnessed in this picture, my hair had to be kept down with pins. My grin was always evil and chilling. I never responded well to photography. I remember kicking the studio photographer after having this photograph. I was probably plotting my evil plan to overtake the world while he unwittingly captured the sheer evil-ness on my face.

I discovered poetry quite by accident. I had always been poor at punctuation, and the little poetry that I was exposed to resonated with the poor punctuate(r) in me. Here was this sea of text that seemed to run seamless, with little regard for annoying commas and full stops. Sentences could be left floating to their own device. It was very different from Mathematics.

An important event in my life that nudged forth the poet in me was the birth of my sister. When I first saw her, I thought she was ET. Here I was, expecting a bonny baby – the kinds that were selling Cerelac. Instead, this creature had a huge head, was almost red, had scrunchy skin. She became okay in a few months though. But the first sight of my sister prompted me to make a poetic comparison. ET from another planet, and this creature who was going to invade my space.

Amma_Ibu_Chills2.jpgWhile we became good friends later, and I forgave her for looking the way she did when she was 5 hours hold, she was fascinated by my hair. My dad with great understanding decided that I must be introduced to the wonderful world of libraries to help me escape the ever-pulling hands of my sister. The discovery of the comb was put aside. My hair looked constantly worn out. It was either being pulled by the little one, or ignored because the rummaging for books in the library was a taxing job and little children get all tired and roughed up anyway! So reading poetry ruined my hair a bit more. As this photograph clearly shows, I began to have a permanent “bounce” in my hair.

My first poem was written when I was in Class III. My dad and I had gone for a long walk in the Delhi Ridge. When you’re about nine years and three feet tall, you are inspired by anything that feels larger than you are. I was inspired by the immense green, thorns and strange bird calls. I came back home running thinking I had to really talk about it all. (I was a very talkative child.) My mom was busy on the sewing machine, and my dad had started to work on the garden. At this point, going to my sister and getting my hair pulled didn’t feel like a pleasant idea. So I stole a clean white A4 sheet from my father’s table and wrote.

Ibu6.jpgMy first poem was born. It was 13 lines long. I know this because I was worried that it might be an unlucky number. (Turns out prime numbers are lucky for me.) The poem is now lost. I don’t know what happened to it. However, it drastically reduced the bounce in my hair. Poetry killed my eyesight and hairstyle. I became the youngest kid in school to sport spectacles. Since fluffy hairstyles can be very annoying when you are trying to create a masterpiece, I resorted to pigtails. I really did become the paavum poet. This photograph was taken when I was ten years old. At some point my nose began to swell with all the sweet-smelling poetry.

However, I discovered the hairbrush when I was about 14, by which time poetry had already damaged my hair.

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0 Responses to How poetry killed my hair.

  1. Megha says:

    Rotfl! This is HILARIOUS! I am at work and very scared that my boss is going to see me fall off the chair.


  2. Vignesh says:

    that last photo is priceless… right-click.. save as… πŸ™‚


  3. thennavan says:

    I like the second pic of yours – the sardonic (I wouldn’t call it sinister like you allude) grin of the first πŸ˜‰ being replaced by a more enchanting smile, again replaced by a sober looking intellectual in the third (idhukku dhaan kannaadi podakkoodaadhunnu solradhu :-P). Your most current one is the one on Global Voices I guess. BTW, thanks for the comment on mine (no need to congratulate, dukkham vijaarichchaa kooda porum :-)).


  4. Anonymous says:

    Brilliant post!

    I see Mr. Thennavan is here too. Leave her dude, she’s married! Her enchanting smile ain’t for you! LOL!


  5. km says:

    Awww…this one’s a priceless post! The first picture takes the cake.

    Though I *most* enjoyed your little self-analysis in parenthesis: “(I was a very talkative child)”. You don’t say, sister!!!!

    Oh man, this is such a good post.


  6. we all live in nerd world don’t we? or at east used to?


  7. Anand says:

    The first picture is a good example of what we call a Stanley Kubrick ‘Gaze’: Malcolm Macdowell in The Clockwork Orange; Jack Nicholson in The Shining! You’re in hallowed company.


  8. Patrix says:

    hehehe…now I know your dirty lil secret :)Scary look you got though…must pity your husb.


  9. NaiKutti says:

    wow… amazing post… the thrid pic was too good…


  10. bharath says:

    quite a treat to read. πŸ™‚ disappointed a bit, that you didn’t try to match the various hair styles with matching poetic styles. would have been a flourish.

    could have titled it something akin to “tv killed the radio star”. πŸ™‚


  11. neha vish says:

    Megha: Careful there!

    Vignesh: Hhmm. We wait for similar revelations from you!

    Thennavan: I am back to being sinister looking. Poetry always comes back full circle!

    Anonymous: What ya!

    km: Do I detect a sarcastic note brother!? πŸ˜€

    Angelo: I was Queen of Geek Hill. Sigh! Nerdland tags follow everywhere.

    Anand: ROTFL! I was watching Full Metal Jacket (Again!) when I read this comment. I can’t help but agree. The turth is that “gaze” is back. Yikes.

    Patrix: Scary? πŸ˜€ Maybe I’ll just put that pic over and DesiPundit to keep spammers away.

    Naikutti: Hhmm!

    Bharath: Next time.. next time!


  12. MumbaiGirl says:

    Awww, they’re cute. You look kind of huggable even if you were more inclined to kick people at the time.


  13. I find it hard to believe that the sinister, world-domination-plotting grinner in the first pic is the same as the paavam poet age 10 πŸ˜€ which persona has endured though? I hope it’s the slightly manic one πŸ™‚


  14. suryakannan says:

    u ve got an unique identity.


  15. Anonymous says:

    thanks…brought back a lot of my own memories…essentially saw the spirit behind the glasses


  16. wendigo says:

    it’s the same sinister smile all right! bahut sahi post… kya kar rahi hai aajkal besides thinking about hair?
    my hair is a mess by the way. tried to cut it again.


  17. dhoomketu says:

    Please take this seriously.

    I just met the photographer who took the first photo. He has been looking for you all this while (maybe to pay you back for the kick).

    Now, thanks to your blog he has found you. Hopefully you haven’t written your address somewhere on this blog.


    P.S. If you think your smile is sinister, wait till you see him now.


  18. Shruthi says:

    Lovely post!


  19. Siri says:

    hahahahahahahahaha …pause….hahahahahahahaha
    just cant stop…loved the first photograph….i imagined the ooohahaha laughter track in the background…


  20. Anonymous says:

    hahahaha! thank you… that sure kicked my grumpy mood out πŸ˜€


  21. neha vish says:

    MumbaiGirl: Thankings!

    Shoe Fiend: Worry not dear fiend, we have come full circle and are vey evil once again. Slightly manic doesn’t do justice to my current state of mind!

    Suryakannan: I would hope we all have.

    Anonymous: πŸ™‚

    Wendigo: I have compromising photographs of you and your hair. Not to mention the “settling” video!

    Dhoomketu: Rotfl! Give my regards and wrong address to that poor photographer please. Dhoomketu – you sayer of DOOM!

    Shruthi: Thank you!

    Siri: You give me ideas. Maybe I’ll podcast my booming laughter one of these days. That should keep that photographer away.

    Anonymous: Anytime. Glad to kick out the grumpy mood.


  22. Anonymous says:

    Ha. Now I know what the ‘kutti’ version of you really looked liked. Good writing kid. And after all my prior prodding, I ‘sho’ am glad to see that your poetry has made some room for those pesky commas etc.



  23. ashok says:

    hi neha..amazingly hilarious post! priceless fotos…wow!


  24. the last photo is uncannily similar to mine at that age! :P.. thankfully poetry hasnt been able to destroy all my hair πŸ™‚


  25. Neha, before reading this post I was uncertain about what killed my hair. Now I know,…thank you πŸ™‚


  26. reshma says:

    the evil laughter goes back a long way….see i was right in recognizing you. At least you lost your hair to a worthy cause. Mine was just killed by some counterfeit shampoo bough in Nepal!


  27. Vulturo says:


    You look quite evil in the first picture. Like the daughter of Satan or something… πŸ™‚


  28. Pratyush says:

    Having watched A Clockwork Orange a couple of days back, can’t help but think the first picture was a screentest for the role of a female Alex De Large. πŸ˜€


  29. Mine looked uncannily similar to picture 2, for the longest time.

    Sadly, I don’t even have the excuse of poetry. Tragic, I tell you.


  30. This is the most hilarious thing I have read in a while! And that first picture is decidedly evil!


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