Last week a little dream of mine, that I had harboured since I was 15, shattered. Atleast for a while.
According to news article , Sapna Bhavnani has closed her salon Mad-o-wat. The covid19 shutdown, loss of income and the high rent in Bandra forced her to shut her shop for now. It came as a shock to me, because for the last 20 years I have nurtured a dream to go there and get a haircut from her.
My hair has always been so curly and so unruly. Before I found the Curly Girl (CG) Method, and stopped using harsh chemical based shampoos, my hair used to be one tangled mass of hair, chidiya ka ghosla. In school if I had left my hair down in a ponytail instead of the two tight plaits, someone would throw little paper balls in my hair and it would stay there till I combed it the next day. I was subject to being called “Maggi” “Sathya saibaba” etc etc. And so I have always dreamed of finding the one hairstylist who would cure my hair into something more sexy, more charming. But that was not to be. Any hair stylist I went to would suggest to straighten my hair, till then they would disdainfully pick up a lock of hair and pronounce it “dead”, this hair cant be turned into anything pretty. Dreams crushed and heart broken.
But I felt Sapna Bhavnani would be able to work her magic on my hair. The tattooed bold stylist full of oomph was the cure to my malady. I was also majorly in love with her writing. She used to write in Sunday Mid-day about her life, being a woman, dating, her bikes and tattoos and S-E-X and I had read nothing like that as a 19 year old. I wanted to be her, I would look forward to her article every Sunday. 2006/2007 was a time of paper newspapers and I had to wait for my father to come home from his night-shift as a police officer, and hope that he would buy the very sensationalist tabloid Mid-day, a paper published only in Mumbai. Remember Mid-day? It also used to have Mid-day mate, the only place to see a woman in a bikini so casually in those times. I would wolf it down and day-dream the rest of the day. Not the mid-day mate but the article and Sapna Bhavnani’a words. Later when I started travelling out of Mumbai for work, and this paper won’t be available in any other city, my then (boy)friend would buy the paper and keep it for me. It was more precious to me than roses or chocolates or whatever.
But I never went to the salon. It was not affordable to go to Bandra from Mulund all the way to get an expensive haircut, and anyway no-one realises that I have had a haircut, my hair always looks the same. So I didn’t go. Later on, I straightened my hair, then turned to the CG method and wear my curls proudly since last 4 years, but Mad-O-Wat is now closed.
It’s so strange how we keep postponing something for later and then the thing never happens. I was always fond of quotes since childhood and one of my favourite ones was inscribed on a bookmark that came with Lonely Planet magazine. “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” I used this adage to do a lot of other things unbeknownst to my parents, but I still regret the ones I didn’t do.
My grandma wanted to go and have a meal at The Taj in Nariman Point. Again, earlier it was not affordable, then we got so busy building our career to earn the money to be able to afford such things, that we got real busy and never got time to do these things. Grandmum got bedridden for a year and then passed away in 2011. Since then I have had countless meals at The Taj, mostly with foreign business visitors, but every time I go there, I feel a pang of guilt for not having brought her here.
May be that’s why people make bucket lists. But what about silly little things that you want to do like a haircut or meal in a fancy restaurant, will these also go in the bucket list? Or are these just wishful thinking thoughts? If we write down every little thing that we want to do at least once in a lifetime, the bucket list will run into eighteen pages, front and back.
But better to have a long list and work on ticking it off than be filled with disappointment for the things we didn’t do or didn’t remember to do at the right time.
P.s : I later met Sapna Bhavnani at a Feminist Rani conference and had stardust sprinkled on me.
Wishes are equivalent to curly hair. These wishes do come back to us taking turns & turns & turns…
Loved your style of writing🌻
I went to college with Sapna in America and have remained friends with her ever since, 28 years now, and am also saddened to hear she closed her salon, as my big dream has need to finally travel to India for a visit and have her do my hair. I am not just a friend, I am a proud admirer of all she has become, and hearing of Mad-O-Wot’s closing felt like a stab to the heart. Perhaps we will both get lucky and once the COVID-crisis ends, she will reopen someplace and we can both fulfil our dreams of having her fix our hair.