You shine when it's your time"
"Ma I don't want to get bald, I'm not going to shave my hair off," I say,
the frustration is real. It's my hair and I have all rights to stop it but in Indian families its all our parent's decisions. From getting us bald to choosing our life partner.
"Pack your things and we will head to the temple tomorrow morning," Mom said that from the kitchen.
Indian Moms spend most of their time cooking, and no doubt their cooking skills will be amazing. That's one of the boons to be here.
The excitement of stepping into the "teenage" all disappeared from the announcement of this shocking tradition, before two months I was admitted in the hospital for severe jaundice and my mom had prayed to God that once if my daughter gets well, we will bring her to you and shave her hair off.
And she does believe that 'cause of this only I got well, and not 'cause of any medicines, injection or even doctors.
Yes, God granted her wish and we have to return the favor by giving my hair. Like seriously!
"Ma, please I can't be doing this" I plead to her, what more should I do.
"Sleep soon, we need to leave before sunrise," She said that and closed my room door.
How will I go back to school with a bald head, they will all tease me, and make fun of me. It was the summer holidays but once school starts I can't go with baby hairs on my head like small grasses.
Tears started to roll down my cheeks.
I took my notepad and wrote about this, I looked at myself in the mirror. I had waist-length long straight hair, I trace the ends of it,
Anger mode on.
I immediately took a scissor from the cupboard and made the random cuts through the ends, why life is always difficult only for me?
"It's over, you can take a bath from the shrine pond" person who shaved my hair instructed me.
I got up and looked at my parents.
Happiness was evident in their faces.
How could they even smile?
"You look like a baby," my mom said that and pulled me into a hug
I immediately got away from her.
I shrug. "I'm not a baby,"
"Are you both happy? Or should I shave my head off " I say,
Next reaction, mom slapped me.
"Don't use such words inside the temple," she said that and started to walk.
I touched my head, I felt it was more like plain ground. I didn't cry again, maybe I ran out of my tears.
"Massage is over Mam, you have got a naturally beautiful hair"
Spa attendee finished her work and began to move out.
"Here is my card, I don't want the bill copy," I say to the girl standing on the other side of the counter.
"I hope you had a good sleep Mam" She smiled.
"Yes, thank you" I nod.
The way to my house was as usual with my headset on, so that world can be off.
I threw my headset on my cot as I entered into my room. The rented apartment had nothing except a cot, old television, and some kitchen essentials.
"Again you're wasting your hard-earned money in the stupid salon" Mom shouts.
I curse myself for taking off the headset, I played it loud again and closed my eyes as I drift to sleep.
"She is bald" it was like I heard it more than thousands of times.
"Can you be my friend?" I ask anyone who speaks more than two words with me.
It is weird.
Anyway nobody accepted my invitation to be my friend. My old friends too stopped caring about me. They don't even talk to me.
I ranked first in my assessment exam, and heads turned to my direction.
To get noticed, you need to be
successful, I learned it in a hard way.
The rain sprinkled on my rooftop and I woke up from that sound.
I squished my eyes, to look at my mobile.
1 new message
Call for Print Models.
Pay will be on the spot.
That second sentence caught my eyes. Pay will be on the spot, which means I don't have to go around and beg for my pay to these idiotic coordinators.
Immediately, I called Jay, I knew him through common contacts.
"I just saw your message, do I fit for that? Like. Umm. You know what I mean"
There will be many girls to compete to get that one single project, it will be usually difficult. If its some high budget project, I can better save my time for something else.
"Hey you come for the photoshoot first, and then we will decide whether you fit or not"
I heard the beep sound, indicating he had disconnected the call.
Anyway, I don't have anything else to do this evening. I can try this.
I gave myself a hot shower and wrapped around a towel to search for a decent dress.
The cupboard was almost empty, repeating the same dress had become a trend for me.
I took the black jeans and a pink crop top which I had wore more than 50 times on different occasions.
Wearing makeup was like art for me.
I can say I'm pretty good at it. The foundation bottle was nearly empty.
"Mom, get me a new bottle of foundation from the near shop" I gave her 500 bucks.
She shrugs. "You're not going to grow in that modeling industry"
"Is this a curse?" I ask while I manage to get some cream out of the empty bottle using my fingers into it.
"You're making me get a bad name from our relatives, please search a decent job for you" She furrowed deeply.
I stared at her.
"Don't give me that look" She crossed her arms.
I stepped closer to her, grabbed her arms into mine.
"Ma, I will surely get rich one day, I will make you proud. Trust me" I say
She casually shrugged off.
"Where are you getting ready for, its already 4 pm," She says in a raucous tone.
Yes, we're not allowed to roam after 6 in the evening as someone could rape us and threw in the roads, well it happened many times in this country.
"I'll be back before 6," I say and walked out.
I know very well it will take more time, but what else can I do rather than telling lies.
The rain was dropping heavily on my umbrella and the shabby mud road already spoiled my black jeans.
If I go there in the best-dressed way itself they will reject me, I can already see what will happen this evening.
Same humiliation, disappointment, and headache. Nothing is new to me.
I was waiting for my cab, there was a group of guys who eyed me as if I was the only one on the road.
These things had become very common.
A boy from the gang approached me, I stood in the same place.
Why should I run?
He came near to me, he looked more like a zombie, 'cause of rain his shirt had been wet, he was covered with mud and is face had dripping water drops with an overgrown beard.
The strong cheap cigarette smell was filled in the air,
"Hey, you look cute" he chuckled in a dirty way.
My eyes closed as I heard those words, I took a deep breath, I don't even know this guy,
But this is not the first time, I'm facing these situations. Again, these are common.
I smirk. "Bro, but you look like a zombie"
His facial expressions changed to anger.
I like pissing off them like this.
As the cab approached, I got inside.
He noticed every moment of mine, and that made me uncomfortable.
I looked out of the window to see rain taking its phase faster and I closed my eyes.
"You look ugly, stop looking at me like that." A guy shouts throwing his pen at me,
"But, I was just looking at the window" I shrug
"I know you were looking at me, don't have any ideas, I will never love a bald and ugly girl like you" he giggled
That face and his smirk, I could never forget.
A jerk from the speed breaker made me come back to the present.
Indian roads are mostly covered with bumps and pits.
"Stop here," I say looking at the old studio building.
I paid him for the drive and began to walk into the familiar old building.
This is where most indoor photoshoots are taken in the industry. It was a famous place. The building was old and had an artic touch to it, the windows were on steel, which might be renovated recently. For the amount Jay earns, he can do it easily.
Already there were around 50 girls waiting for their turn to give a pose, some were sitting on the chair and many were standing with their mobile phones.
There were some known faces.
I nodded at them knowingly,
Everyone noticed me from my head to toe, I sat on a chair that was near to the window, and I waited for my turn with my headset on.
These glares made me remember, that 'first time' when I captured everyone's eyes.
First day of my 9th grade.
"Ma, why you didn't get me a new set of uniform, I told you earlier I don't fit into the old one" I shout
"Adjust Naya, today you can go in normal color dress, I will talk to your Mam and get extra two days to stitch your uniform," She says
I shrug. "Whatever"
I wore a deep blue salwar set. My hair had grown up well, due to puberty hit my facial features had changed like it looked more enhancing. As I avoid the sun in the holidays, I escaped from the tan. Hence, there was a new glow on my face. I can see, I'm changing for good.
I walked to the school and entered into the gate, pupils have already gathered on the ground for the prayer meeting. I kept my bag near the entrance gate and stepped in-between the crowd.
There was an unusual glare from everyone both boys and girls. They all checked me as if I was a new student. But no that was not the case.
I searched for my space to stand for the meeting and many voluntarily gave that for me.
It was surprising.
This had never happened in my life.
"You look different Naya, like, you look really good," A girl standing near to me said that in a low tone.
"Sit with us, it will be fun." Another girl chuckled
It's all about looks, it's not only the success but also the beauty that adds the crown to it.
"Nayana, next is you" A girl shouted.
'Cause of this daydreaming, I didn't even wear last minute make up. I'm going to be horrible.
Ok, don't show that on your face, Confidence, confidence...