The wig, his source of happiness, turns into nightmare

July 27th, 2008 - 10:53 am ICT by IANS  

By F. Ahmed
Srinagar, July 27 (IANS) Cosmetic surgery, breast implants and hair transplants may be buzzwords in the metros, but as a bald and middle aged Abdul Razak discovered, even a simple thing like a wig can still be an object of ridicule in Jammu and Kashmir. Razak (name changed), a 45-year-old resident of a north Kashmir village, had worn a skull cap ever since he could remember, thanks to a skin disease known as alopecia in his childhood which left him bald and with an ugly, scaly scalp.

“Alopecia is a disease which used to be common in the valley at one time because of unhygienic conditions and in some cases because of hereditary reasons,” said a skin specialist here who did not wish to be named.

It was a stigma that Razak always wanted to get rid of. He began hair transplant treatment at a clinic here. In the meantime, he decided to sport a costly wig and was beyond himself last week thanks to his new look.

The skullcap had been replaced by the beautiful hair of the wig that a beautician in Jammu and Kashmir’s summer capital Srinagar had painstakingly fixed for him.

“My first reaction was of utter disbelief when I looked at myself in the mirror. I looked younger by at least 10 years. I paid around Rs.15,000 to the beautician and he did a truly nice job,” Razak said after leaving the salon here.

His wife, Sara, son Sahil and cousins were all happy to see Razak beaming with newfound confidence.

But his happiness didn’t last long, thanks to the peeping Toms of his village.

“The entire village poured into my house. Everybody started asking unpleasant, personal questions.

“Why, after 45 years of my life, had I chosen to wear such a look? Had I decided to remarry at this age? How much did the new hair cost? Would I remove the wig before going to bed? It became unbearable,” Razak told IANS.

“Even shopkeepers, children and people who had remotely known me as a patient of alopecia mocked my new hair. Everybody in the village started talking of the ‘ganja’ (bald man) who was wearing artificial hair.

“Instead of removing my childhood stigma, wearing the wig became a topic against me and my family, ridiculing us,” Razak said with anger and disgust.

He has finally thrown away the wig under social pressure and is back to wearing a skullcap. “Do people behave in the same manner with people wearing wigs in civilised societies? Was it my fault that I had a disease that deprived me of my hair?”

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