Most of us freak out the moment we see that first strand of grey hair. Well, I surely remember that I did as I got them pretty early.From mehendi to hair color to indigo, I’ve tried it all. But now I believe I have started to accept my greys even though I am yet to hit the fab 40 (only a few months away though).

And then there some ladies who love to adorn their greys.Meet our very own community members who have embraced this phase of their lives beautifully.They share why is it that they chose to go the natural way instead of following the masses

SHIVANI KHANNA

Anshu: Please talk a bit about yourself and your journey

Shivani: Hi! My name is Shivani Khanna and I live in Gurgaon, India. I’m a stay home mom of two children in their twenties. The world of food has been a large part of my life. I’m a baker, chocolatier, cheese maker, culinary instructor and a food enthusiast. My passion is to learn new skills. Routine bores me and I need to challenge myself continuously. I get inspired by Masters in their field but also by the little guy, be it in any of my skills set or something totally unrelated.

“If you pursue anything with a passion, you will enjoy it to the fullest”….my motto.

Anshu: Since when have you embraced white/grey hair?

Shivani: I started greying in my mid-thirties. It started with a single streak in the front, a la Indira Gandhi, and now has spread all over.

Anshu: What is your reason behind this decision?

Shivani: I’m not a big fan of beauty treatments. Going natural is just who I am, there was never any question of dying my hair.

Anshu: What is the weirdest or unkind comment that you’ve received because of this?

Shivani: When my white streak became prominent, someone seriously asked me if I dyed my hair white.

Anshu: Any suggestions/advice for those moms who are unsure of embracing grey hair

Shivani: If you have the confidence in yourself and other’s opinions don’t matter, do go natural. It offers freedom from harmful chemicals and unnecessary stress on your hair. In my opinion, ladies with grey hair look elegant and graceful and surprisingly youthful.

Anshu: What would be your look for Diwali?

Shivani: On Diwali, traditional dress like a saree is a must, often in hues of auspicious red.

 

KANIKA SINGH

Anshu: Please talk a bit about yourself and your journey

Kanika: All of 44 years now, my hair have been greying since I was 25. I was well settled working at an MNC and just married. The burgundy hair colour to the shades of Plum to brown was majorly experimented with on my hair. I did not even realize how the years flew by or for that matter my original hair colour. The hairline would peak a silver streak every two weeks….eeks!!

During this time I had my share of sorrow and joy. I had two bonny boys, went through a tumultuous separation and divorce…loosing my self-worth not only personally but professionally. Somewhere deep inside from the ashes rose the Phoenix. I know I have been a people pleaser all my life but it was my time to give due credit to myself, my thoughts, aspirations, and dreams.

I quit my corporate path to discover my own calling. I remember requesting my hairdresser to remove the hair colour he would diligently apply every 2- 3 weeks, just to ascertain how grey was I? We argued, he claimed my natural grey will never suit my youngish looks and dusky skin. He went on to say that if I did not colour, he would not style my hair ever! That was the point of no return literally! I did not show up at the hairdressers for 4 months straight. I had quit my job and reorganized my life, realigned my ambition and what emerged as the new Avatar was a fancy hairdo from a fancy salon at a fancy Mall.

I reincarnated as a Mosaic artist with a short crop, the upper layers of which were more grey and the lower layers darker giving an amazing texture, no frizz, no hair break bouncy hair…. There on I have just loved myself and all my decisions. No looking back… no grey only silver crown that glorifies me

Anshu: Since when have you embraced white/grey hair?

Kanika: I stopped coloring my hair in Feb 2014, so it is 3 years now.

Anshu: What is your reason behind this decision?

Kanika: I was just fed up of being coloured the way people wanted to see me. My hair had lost all its luscious qualities and I hated visiting the parlour for root touch-ups

Anshu: What is the weirdest or unkind comment that you’ve received because of this?

Shivani: My older son did not quite accept my grey’s and would mock me by saying that I look like his grandmother, but I think I have taught him a good lesson in being comfortable in your own skin. Too much vanity around, it is important to know yourself and be comfortable with it.

Anshu: Any suggestions/advice for those moms who are unsure of embracing grey hair

Kanika: Be patient. Be trendy and choose your brighter colours for clothing. Elegance sets you apart.

Anshu: What would be your look for Diwali?

Kanika: I love to twist my hair in all sorts of buns, lots of simple youtube tutorials available… so set yourself free do your own makeover.Let your own light shine with a warm and loving heart this Diwali

Here is a link to the note I wrote.. the day I got my hair done https://www.facebook.com/notes/kanika-singh/my-crowning-glory/10152528511721382/

RAAJIKA SOOD

Anshu: Please talk a bit about yourself and your journey

Raajika: There are so many brilliant, recognized & accomplished women here. In this environment of outstanding talent, I find it difficult to describe me. Life is not about quantity but quality & what you make of it. Being an Air Force brat I have lived and studied in many Public/Convent schools all over India ending with a BA at Lady Shri Ram, Delhi. I have been married for 46 years. Have two children, a daughter, married with a 12-year-old son, the joy of my life and a son. I’ve had a varied career path – interior design, PR, garments, and retail being family businesses.  Now I’m purely a lady of leisure. I enjoy the usual,  being with friends, books, movies, swimming. I have taken up playing bridge & golf. Travelling and photography are my passion.

Anshu: Since when have you embraced white/grey hair?

Raajika: One day in 2004, I decided to stop dying my hair. Keeping my fingers crossed, I upped and went to the parlour to get the dye removed. A gamble,  no woman wants to look awful. I told myself if it didn’t work I could always dye my hair again. Came home from the parlour with orange hair to the horror of my family and friends. After the removal of the dye, one is left with the residual orange colour. No backing down for me. I just got me a funky haircut and waited for the natural growth to take over trimming the orange out as it grew.

Anshu: What is your reason behind this decision?

Raajika: The years of applying dye was beginning to affect the quality of my hair. Also, dyed hair and faces that were showing their age didn’t quite sit well together with me. My great aunt had beautiful silver hair. She was an extremely elegant lady. When I was younger I told myself that’s the look I would emulate when I grew older. I have a bohemian approach to life. Nothing outrageously unconventional but I don’t accept norms blindly nor fit into them. So going grey wasn’t a difficult decision.

Anshu: What is the weirdest or unkind comment that you’ve received because of this?

Raajika: No one has ever said anything really unpleasant but I have been asked several times if my hair is naturally so when told that it is, some tend to look skeptical. No matter what I say people will believe what they choose to believe.

Anshu: Any suggestions/advice for those moms who are unsure of embracing grey hair

Raajika: What you do with regard to your appearance should be about what brings you happiness.
Sometimes family has to be brought in, made to understand and embrace your decision.If you are comfortable in your skin everyone and everything will align itself to that and nothing else matters.

Anshu: What would be your look for Diwali?

Raajika: There has been an explosion of myriad styles and designs on the Indian fashion scene. But nothing has been able to replace the quintessential garment and symbol of the Indian woman, the sari.
An incomparable elegant, traditional ensemble that I find absolutely irreplaceable.

DEEBA RAJPAL

Anshu: Please talk a bit about yourself and your journey

Deeba: I’ve done my honours in Economics from LSR, DU. I joined British Airways after college, and worked 8 years, left as Passenger Services Manager. That taught me a lot and I loved it. Frome meeting Prince Charles to Mother Teresa, Clive Lloyd to Kapil Dev, from watching Eric Clapton live in Wembley, traveling the world, I lived each moment of that journey.Then with free time on hand, I began food blogging as a personal journey. Slowly I was recognized for work I was doing in my space and got a few offers of collaboration. My first big one was working for Marico/Safola Oats, following which I was contacted by Vikas Khanna to style & shoot his cookbook. That took a while to get published and is now on stands {My First Kitchen}.Alongside, I got offers for food styling. Was recommended by a NY based branding firm to help rebrand Teabox 3 years ago. {Styled by me. Shot by Mallikarjun Katkol, Bangalore for Teabox} My blog keeps me quite busy. Now baking, developing recipes, working with brands, styling, and photography keep me busy. I shoot everyday just because I enjoy it so much. Brands I have styled {and shot sometimes} for with include Foodhall, Big Bazaar, Soultree, Geez Gourmet, Coppre, Dorley Kindersley, Olive Tree Trading, Annamaya Andaz Hyatt, Hyatt Delhi, Radisson Dwarka among others.

Anshu: Since when have you embraced white/grey hair?

Deeba: Since the time the first greys appeared, about 6-7 years ago.

Anshu: What is your reason behind this decision?

Deeba: No reason at all other than pure laziness and practicality.I wear grey with pride, also with a little bit of rebellion, which is inherent to my nature. I didn’t really decide. The ‘greys’ appeared and I was too lazy to sit up and take notice.  I got pressurized just once and coloured my hair. Instantly knew that I wasn’t cut out for it. The greys increased from a few too many and I let them be. I am just not a ‘spend time on myself’ person. If I have time, I would rather be tinkering in the kitchen, experiment with baking, shooting with the camera, shopping for props, traveling, playing with the dog, Instagramming etc.

Anshu: What is the weirdest or unkind comment that you’ve received because of this?

Deeba: None to date. I have fortunately always received admiration for it.

Anshu: Any suggestions/advice for those moms who are unsure of embracing grey hair

Deeba: I just think natural is good. Don’t give in to pressure because that is what society is best at. Go grey if you like, don’t if you don’t want to. It’s a very personal decision.

Anshu: What would be your look for Diwali?

Deeba: Nothing special. As inherent, I would rather dress up a platter !!

MALLIKA VASUDEV

Anshu: Please talk a bit about yourself and your journey

Mallika: I’m a 45-year-old stay-home mother of 2 girls. Having said that, I love my circle of friends and meet them frequently for coffee or lunch. Whether dressing up or dressing down, I’m comfortable in my own skin and hair

Anshu: Since when have you embraced white/grey hair?

Mallika:Last 4 or 5 years

Anshu: What is your reason behind this decision?

Mallika: While I’m happy to experiment with colour, I cannot be a slave to it. Once my hair had greyed enough to need regular touch-ups, I decided to go au-naturale.
Anshu: What is the weirdest or unkind comment that you’ve received because of this?
Mallika: No unkind comments at all. But someone once asked me if I had silvered my hair!

Anshu:Any suggestions/advice for those moms who are unsure of embracing grey hair

Mallika: Grey or colour, you need to feel comfortable. Nothing suits a woman more than confidence

Anshu: What would be your look for Diwali?

Mallika: Handloom saree, chunky jewellery, finger-combed grey hair… and a big smile!

 

ANURADHA PRASAD DHAWAN

Anshu: Please talk a bit about yourself and your journey

Anu P.D : My name is  Anuradha P. Dhawan aka Anu P.D. which is the name I chose for myself.

I am an entrepreneur and designer by profession and traveler and explorer at heart. As an army-brat and artist, being a gypsy was a given, as was most definitely, a career choice in applied arts. It has been as interesting or regular a journey as anyone else’s. Happy to say that it has been a good and well-loved life. What I have figured out is that staying on the road over the years is more enriching than even the destination.

Facets of my personality which distressed me were the ones holding the key to my successes– I just learned to tap into them. Health, fitness, optimism, freedom of choice are the main motifs in my life and support me and my circle of influence in times of stress. Whilst I love my family and friends and try to ably fulfill a lot of my responsibilities, I strive to be detached and allow others to find their own center. It’s not always perfect, but with a healthy family environment, love of parents and sisters, the commitment of my husband and adoration of children, it seems that way.

A large family in the form of teams at work, rise to the occasion when required. In my work-life, I am the Co-Director of a group of lifestyle companies– Hospitality, Travel and Design. I have studied Textile and Fashion Design at a couple of good schools which were fertile ground for my idealistic and bohemian mindset. Within Design, i work with textiles, fashion, and products.  I support the cause of Slow and Responsible Fashion, through my fashion-label and aim to create a sustainable brand by addressing Versatile Men and Women with functional lifestyle needs. I have worked with disadvantaged Girls, development of Lesser-abled and with Women’s Self-help groups and marginalized weavers. Some lovely experiences which taught me about the magic of a simple life!I have also had extremely rich and first-hand professional involvements and collaborations with great brands, organisations, government, and media. Every creative person is a communicator. I am going through my life telling and living my story–  my way.

Anshu: Since when have you embraced white/grey hair?

Anu P.D: Embracing grey happened very early in life when I would daydream about how cool it would be to be a senior and have a valued presence of my own. In the last few years, spotting that silver strand came frequently and just around my 50 years on earth celebration, I learnt about the term ‘Age shaming’ — which has always existed, but was never acknowledged as a negative behaviour where someone would be made to feel lesser or insignificant on the basis of white hair/ advanced age/ wrinkles. I realized that too many people spend precious time worrying about grey hair, wrinkles, turkey necks and sagging parts! Since then I have been part of campaigns against Age-shaming.

There is going to be a big cultural shift in the coming years and with an ever-increasing older population, it is only necessary to wake up to the value and wisdom of respected seniors. Lets recalibrate our sense of what looks good. I am happy to be part of something that will eventually impact not just us but indeed everyone on this planet who grows older.

Anshu: What is your reason behind this decision?

Anu P.D: Grey or not — this must be a decision not founded on the fear of relevance in society, for sure. Just because the hormones don’t help, there’s no reason why the brain can’t remain sexy and fertile! Why the body can’t find pleasure! Why the spirit will not dance!I am a supporter of campaigns against ‘Age-shaming’ and believe that you are who you choose to be and not how old you are. A recent campaign by Hindustan Times, in which I participated was called “Grey is the new Sexy” and “Grey has never been so yay”.  Another with the Cosmopolitan magazine was a swimsuit issue feature– “Age no bar”, “Size no bar”, which desexualized swim-wear and championed women who find comfort in their own skin and shape. That was indeed a game-changer for me at 50!Post that, I have collaborated with groups of urban, educated and successful women in their middle years for ‘Fashion Power Walks’ and doing ‘Versatile Women’ photo shoots to show older women as normal and beautiful. I feel its time to realise and celebrate the beauty of time on a woman’s face, hair and body.
Anshu: What is the weirdest or unkind comment that you’ve received because of this?
Anu P.D: Never an unkind comment on my grey head, but yes many curious ones for sure! And I welcome those since they give me an opportunity to create conversations with youngsters about what it is to be older yet alive; with older women, it’s most satisfying when a number of them have more confidence in themselves as a takeaway. It must be a choice. I say to them– use style as a means to tell your story, not shame yourself in any way!Being an attractive and relevant global citizen is more than a name, money, some specifications, and a skin tone — it is my aesthetic is to be confident in my skin and whatever coloured hair. And that is my choice.
Anshu: Any suggestions/advice for those moms who are unsure of embracing grey hair

Anu P.D : All of the above! and you don’t have to worry (must not) about being invisible, irrelevant and unemployable just because of the way you look. Fashion and beauty trends come and go but the style is here to remain.So, when you start to feel the effects of aging, associate with someone older, ignoring the lack of youthfulness. Make friends with people irrespective of age and gender. When your self-esteem crashes against a societal norm, push back against that pre-conditioning and age-shaming. And change the narrative inside your head, so you don’t pass it on to your young ones.

Let’s encourage conversations and positive chatter about age-shaming, similar to the ones that their mothers faced against, with societal norms of working and sexism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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