Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bad Hair Days

Something I presented in class for a creative writing course last semester.

These are times when plurality and an open minded nature are all the rage. Everybody seems to be exploring avenues to demonstrate to the whole wide world the breadth of their outlook. Authors as a class are no exception. They are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that they do not ignore the realities of life. In the days of the old fashioned novel or short story, your hero would be Dr. Blank or Mr. Asterisk I.A.S. But not so today. You walk out on to the road and you see writers everywhere whose latest heroes are taxi drivers and stadium curates.

And yet, no writer has been plucky enough to make his hero bald.

Novelists go into every class to construct heroes and surely, some of them must have had a receding hairline. I’m sure that this was the case at least with the originals. Then why not say so? Authors are moving with the times on every other aspect. Then why not in this? It is futile to suggest that bald men are not romantic. I have spotted signs of a receding hairline on my head and have a strong family history of the same, but I am singularly romantic. For commercial reasons, if not for others, writers ought to take some of that fuzz from the tops of their heroes.

It is an established fact that the reader likes to imagine himself as the hero, while reading. What an audience the first author to star a bald hero will have! All over the country thousands of men will brighten up their scalps and immerse themselves into the pages. It is absurd to keep on writing for the well haired public. The growing tenseness of life, the hair raising stock market crashes and those cricketing disasters which prompts us to put a palm on our heads is whittling down the percentage of the population which has perfect hair to single digits.

I seem to see that romance. In fact, I think I shall write it. ‘“Pooja, see that hair conditioner which I imported from Japan, specially for you? I myself cannot use it, not having much hair, but don’t bother about me. Go ahead and use it” said Raj.’ Or, ‘Raj passed his palm through his shining scalp and faced the hired goons without a tremor.’ Hot stuff, right? Do you think there will be even a single man who has the price of my novel in his pocket and a bright shiny head who will not kick and scream like an angry child if you tell him you have run out of stock of my book? And the serial, dramatic and film rights. All editors have receding hairlines, so do all film producers and theatrical managers. I will be an unstoppable force, breaking all records. Just ensure that the cheque is for the right amount and the posters are prominent. Posters shall blare out to the world “Bald and Bold” by Basil James.

Have you bothered to consider the dramatic potential of a little less hair? How about tragedy? Our hero is a dashing spy out to save his woman from the clutches of an evil despot. ‘From the high watch towers, a guard spots a bright, shining spot amid the darkness. Lo! It is the hairless head of our hero that he has seen. “Fire!” shouted the commander. A stifled wail and there was blood.’

The time has truly come when novelists should accommodate the bald hero if they are not to be left behind. One does not wish to create a ruckus, but we bald heads are in a large majority when we get together and can make our presence felt. Roused by this piece, an army of men, characterised by hair only on the back of their heads if at all, could very easily give authors bad hair days until they accept our demands. If we have any more of those red curly hair, wavy blond, straight black hair or any hair at all, we shall know what to do about it.

I, for one, am also willing to accept cash.

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