Living in Mumbai is not easy on the mind, and is certainly not easy on the body. I think it is the heat and the pollution that really gets to me, and more so the pollution because, weather wise, it’s been pretty cool and pleasant in Mumbai.
One of my biggest worries when I landed in Mumbai was the drastic hair loss that I faced. People warned me that the change in water will result in hair loss and I thought they were crazy. I thought, ‘Well, maybe I will just lose a couple of strands every time I shower, and that’s not all that bad.’ If only. Every time I stepped into the shower, I lost more hair than I anticipated and it really started worrying me. However, in the last month or so, the hair falling problem has receded a great deal. I suspect I am getting used to the waters of Mumbai?
But I wish it just stopped here. In the last few weeks, I have been bothered by the fact that my hair is as dry as hay. You could light a match to my hair and I would be on fire. Dehydration! My skin is dehydrated and my hair has been looking like crap, and while I know how to take care of my skin, my hair was beginning to really annoy me.
I was thinking about what to do about it….should I get a Keratin treatment? should I just get a short hair cut? should I just go bald? And then suddenly it struck me like lightning, these memories of every time my family and I would visit India from Dubai for the summer holidays, and the time I lived in Mumbai with my grandparents when I was all of 3 or 4 years old. I would get my hair oiled with the finest coconut oil. Oh! Yes. When I was a child, every Friday was “let’s oil the children’s hair” (and make sure they do not have any lice). I have several fond memories of when my sister and I would come home from school and in the evenings, we would get our hair oiled (how I hated the smell), and our maid would take a fine-tooth comb and scope our hair for any head lice we may have gotten from the other children. It probably sounds gross when you are reading this, but it was a necessary routine and the maid would get a few critters out of our heads. We would get on a stool, sit in the balcony, and the maid would get to work. Then she would leave the oil in our heads for an hour and we would be ushered into the shower in time for dinner.
Each time we visited India, my mum would encourage me to get a “hot oil hair massage” and I would get it just for the heck of it. This time round, now that I am living in India, I have a deeper appreciation for getting the oil massage. Last Thursday when I was fretting about my hair, it suddenly dawned on me that I should get a “hot oil hair massage” and it was the best decision I had ever made. I got into the salon and my oil massage was about 45 minutes. The woman attending to me massage me started off with a rigorous massage of my head incorporating little pools of coconut oil and working from my forehead to the base of my neck. What came next was a great surprise: I guess in India a hot oil head massage also included the upper arms, upper back, and neck and shoulder muscles. I was in heaven! The woman just wouldn’t stop. Every time I thought, ‘OK, She can’t possible go beyond the shoulders’, she would work on my arms. At my arms I thought, ‘She’s gonna stop now and ask me to leave’, but she continued onto my upper back. This went on and she then wrapped a towel around my neck and put me under a steam machine where I sat there for about 20 minutes in bliss. The whole process ended with a invigorating hair wash and me paying a paltry sum of Rs. 250 ($5.00)!
My hair was as soft as silk! I could not believe the transformation – it was like night and day! I was doubtful though, thinking that this effect would only last until my next head bath. But I was wrong. My hair is still as silky and shiny, and now that I know this recipe for healthy, hydrated hair, I will make it a point to get a hot oil massage more often than before.
Yeah! One more positive thing about living in Mumbai!