"Papa, why are you bald?" my 8 year old son asked with innocent curiosity .
I was left groping for an appropriate reply which could satisfy his curiosity.Various thoughts flashed across my mind- androgenic alopecia,alopecia areata,alopecia totalis, alopecia universalis,etc,etc The grey cells effortlessly churned out various technical terms, symptoms, cause effects, etc, etc.I was on familiar grounds on these technicalities and I was about to rattle out the information when it struck me that probably none of these would really answer the "why" part of the question rendered earlier.
Baldness,after all, is something that the best minds in science have not been able to conquer,yet ! Many a fine heads went completely bald trying to figure out a solution to this eternal question; a mystery which hasn't been solved yet.
The onset of baldness is always accompanied by a sense of abject and complete denial.The phenomenon initially manifests itself in the form of some stray hair found in pillows and combs.The subject ( a term which we will use to describe the person who is afflicted) tends to initially ignore the phenomenon altogether and on increase of severity, usually maintains that the he is not the owner of the said hair and sometimes tends to attribute the presence to subnormal and paranormal happenings.
Some "subjects" maintain this demeanour silently while others are more vocal about this. They reject the notion outright and any other person suggesting that indeed the hair loss could be attributable to the "subject" can sometimes be subjected to violent outbursts of denials . "It just can't happen to me", maintains the "subject".
The above stage may last a couple of years, after which comes the stage of grim realization. This is when the "subject" starts realizing that his combs are running rather easily through his head, and dimly lit rooms get somewhat lighter when they enter such rooms, the natural laws of reflection having started to take effect by now.This stage is further characterized by mood swings, mournful sighs and bland looks at nothingness. The search engines start cranking , and the Internet ,the library and all other information sources are searched meticulously for a panacea.
The subsequent stage is one of hope. This is where the "subject" believes whole-heartedly that there "must" be a cure for this.Even if it hasn't worked for the whole humanity, the subject firmly believes that "he" is different and all medicines which did not work for anyone will surely work for him. That is when the medical economy gets a hearty boost, and any pill or potion which promises any sort of hair revival get their sales numbers met.Some subjects go through this stage surreptitiously while others are more forthcoming and their attempts visible.No medicine is spared, no oil is left untouched, and no advertisements from " Miracle Hair Growth Center" is unread .
The branded and advertised pills and potions are used interchangeably with "home remedies" suggested by various good Samaritans. These can get pretty elaborate and I shall spare you the details. Suffice to say that common ingredients includes eggs,onions, lemons, cucumber,ginger,chillies, etc. The "subject" is by this time best left unmonitored and uncontrolled , as failure to do so results in unpredictable repercussions.
All this while, the dimly lit rooms which I mentioned earlier now get considerably brighter when the subject enters the same. The combs are rarely needed now,although the subject still possesses and uses one.
The following stage is akin to that of salvation, or "moksha" . By now, the "subject" throws away the pills and potions. Various theories espousing the fashion worthiness of male baldness does the rounds including one which maintains that some bald males are attractive to women, a theory which has many hopeful takers amongst the males but has not been proven yet.Flattering similarities with Yul Brynner and others of his ilk are discussed and disseminated.This is a stage of acceptance for some of the subjects ,and passive resignations for the others.
And then to a very few souls, enlightenment strikes, and the answer to the greatest mystery of mankind emerges. Yes, to a very few,select subjects.
I turn to me son and reply "You see, God made a few good heads, and the rest-he covered them with hair ".
My son gave me an incredulous look, nodded his head, and walked away.