A deep blue, plastic bottle of coconut oil sits on top of the showcase in this living room.
It looks more a prized trophy than a mere piece of toiletry. In the other room, Reshma Kamble is rocking her 15-day-old boy on her lap. The day he was delivered, two nurses at the maternity hospital in Kalyan had done something curious. As Kamble lay on the stretcher after the operation, they had slyly undone her dense hair bun, exchanged wide-eyed glances during the seemingly unending process and then struggled to tie it back up.
While her mother recalls this non-medical procedure with mild surprise, 25-yearold Kamble simply laughs at the memory. As someone whose hair is a foot-and-ahalf longer than her, Kamble, who grew up in Kalyan is used to such spontaneous invasions of her privacy. “Many people refuse to believe it is real,” says the shy Kamble, about her 6-ft-10-inch long tresses that were recently even attested by a doctor. The certificate has helped her find a place in the Limca Book of Records this year, as the woman with the “longest hair” in India.
At 5 ft 4 inches, Kamble has to climb a stool to help her hair touch the floor rather than sweep it. There have even been times when she has stepped on her own hair. An unwritten rule in Kamble’s maternal home in Kalyan is that she would enter the bathroom last. “It takes her over an hour to wash her hair,” says Reshma’s mother, Sunita, whose genes in fact are partly to blame for this delay. Both Sunita, and her sister boasted long hair in their youth but soon lost their treasured inheritance to diabetes and blood pressure.
Kamble though safeguards her long, ancestral gift as fiercely as she does her newborn. It has been twelve years since she last cuther hair.”Ijustwantedto see how long it would grow,” says Kamble. Her elder brother, Rahul Angre still remembers his sister waking up early for school to be able to tie her hair into long plaits that she would later fold into ribbons. “Teachers would stare at her hair even as they spoke, as if in a trance,” says Angre, who used to enjoy pulling Reshma’s hair as a kid and interestingly, today, is a quality officer who certfies products such as shampoos and soap. A favourite prank with Reshma’s friends at Birla college, where she studied Arts, was undoing her clip when she wasn’t looking and running away.
Now, each time she combs her hair in her marital ground floor home in Ahmednagar, an audience forms at the window. Once, in fact, a neighbour peeked, marvelled and guessed aloud that her husband may have fallen for her locks. “But I only happened to get a view of her tresses after marriage,” swears Satish Kamble, a traffic inspector who had just heard of the length of her locks till then. Theirs was an arranged marriage and the traffic inspector only had a passport photograph of his prospective wife before marriage. Even during their wedding, “guests wondered if she was wearing extensions,” says Kamble’s cheerful sister-inlaw Reena.
Frequently, kids at railway stations tug at her hair and inquisitive fellow passengers on the train ask for her secret. For several years, the salwar-kameezclad girl, who has never used a shampoo, conditioner or hair-dryer, has been following a simple ritual. “Once a week, I wash my hair with Shikakai soap and follow up by applying coconut oil,” says Kamble, whose locks drink up over half a bottle each time.
Today, they soak in attention just as deftly as they do oil. Standing in the living room of her Kalyan residence, when Reshma opens the oiled spiral strands of hair anti-clockwise, they take their time falling to the floor as if she were in an ad. Many house guests have been privy to this show of thick, silky and heavy hair that “I have to hold in my hand to reduce the weight on my head,” says Kamble.
The 25-year-old, who was even approached for a shampoo advertisement once, proudly shows off two albums full of pictures of two local competitions for long hair that she won in 2007 and 2009 respectively. In both sets, the crown sits proudly on the head of this clear winner as she stands amid a bevy of ladies whose hair barely reaches their knee. “I am going to continue to grow my hair,” says Kamble, who admires Chinese women for their straight, waterfall-like hair.
While her husband is proud of her achievements, he has his share of fun at her expense though. The couple recently purchased another house on the second floor of the same building that they reside in. When they decide to move in, “I won’t be using the stairs,” he threatens her.
Source : articles dot timesofindia dot indiatimes dot com