The P&P Project

Much Ado About Knoting

I’m too hot (hot damn), called a police and a fireman, I’m too hot… (What, we are no longer doing the Uptown Funk? Okay.) But really I am so hot, feeling so hot (hot hot hot, sorry, child of the Eighties here) that I am two seconds away from melting into a puddle leaving behind a sopping wet EKA linen tunic that once valiantly held my body.

It is not like I haven’t lived in Madras before (I did, over two decades ago), or that I haven’t been in the city since (every December for the last eleven years) but I did forget what it is like to survive, brave, no, suffer humidity in June and July. (there, I just Geotagged myself.) The weather has brought out sides to me I didn’t even know existed. Like me being capable of murderous rage. Or take a fatalist worldview, “Is anything important anymore really?”. Or slipping in and out of consciousness-bending hallucinations. Or having the ability to throw my hair in to a mean top knot. Now you know what this is going to be about (that is if the title didn’t tip you off already, in which case am guessing you are as miserable as I am).

Fact is, I can be as cotton clad as I want, heck, be a walking catalogue for Anokhi days on end even, but there is no greater feeling of relief than when you throw your hair up in a knot and feel that vague excuse of a breeze on your neck again. (Okay, taking off your bra at the end of a long day comes mighty close too.)

Not having the luxury of celebrity or time, the only way to survive this humidity is to do everything one possibly can to stay coool and hair is a big part of it. (Less ‘yo’ and more ‘yo hair stays up so nicely, tell me how?!’.) AC-Car-Curb-AC works but hair IS still a very big part of it. Having mastered the basic top knot, the option to try different kinds of knots and updos was both quickly considered and then abandoned for sake of my sanity and the safety of those around me. You know how you either have an aptitude for something or you don’t? Turns out complicated updos and simple math… Not my thing.

After watching multiple Youtube videos along the lines of ‘The perfect wispy knot in under 10 minutes’, ‘Get a halo braid in eight easy steps’ or ‘Double-knot updo for beginners’, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s all a sinister plot to just make me feel utterly incompetent. (The fact that I haven’t yet blinded myself with a bloody bobby pin is no minor miracle.) So what if I juggle two jobs (the blog is one), a home, social life and some semblance of a functional marriage- I can not make a braided updo in eight easy steps, I have failed at life DAMNIT! (Hey Youtube, stop taunting me with recommended videos already.)

Today was especially difficult. After a quick cold shower (and an irrational desire to shower again after toweling off), I stared at the mirror long and hard this morning. Cotton dress by Péro, check. Cute kolhapuri chappals with neon pompoms, check. Then, on to hair. Much like every underdog sports team coach before a big game, I looked me in the eye and told myself I could do it. “You are a fashion blogger for Chrissake”, I yelled. Thankfully the madness passed and I realized, if there’s anything I’ve learnt, the one fail-safe trick I’ve mastered, it is how to work a top knot. I am a fashion blogger for Chrissake! So after throwing my hair up in a neat and efficient knot (today marking seventeenth day in a row), a quick spritz of perfume, some kohl and gloss, I exited the room feeling mighty fine. Only to be greeted by the mother-in-law who in a quick once-over seemed to question my ability to keep her son happy going by my inability to twist and tie my hair in to one glorious updo she and the ladies of her parayanam group could be proud of. Such colossal disappointment I say!

Sigh. Tomorrow is another (muggy) day.


Photo Credit: Elizabeth Mayville. Shop the artist’s prints here.