As school made way for college, comments on my hair, or the lack of them, became more regular. No parlour visit went by without the stylist, their voice dripping with part horror and part concern, pointing out the void on my head like I was not aware of it already, no family gathering was complete without someone casually remarking about my hair.
Finally, I decided to do something about it in my mid-20s when a well-meaning aunt pointed out that my hair had gotten thinner than before. I decided to visit a famous Homeopathy clinic where the doctor asked who in my family suffered from the same condition. Now being raised by a single parent has many advantages, one of which is that the number of relatives you have to remember is reduced by half. I scratched my hair, pun intended, and thought of my brother’s perfect hair, so dense that you can’t find a scalp even if you went looking. My mom’s beautiful hair, which ageing along with all of her life’s struggles couldn’t touch with a barge pole. My aunt’s thick, black, long hair that she tied into a beautiful plait for her Tamil wedding. Even my maternal grandparents — both with a perfectly full head of hair. My biological father’s hair, from what I could deduce from pictures, looked fine too. What about your dadaji (paternal grandfather), the doctor asked. I quickly called up my mom and heard what the doctor already knew: Yes, my mom’s former father-in-law had a balding problem.