The wedding crown for the bride is on the table


Anujit Kaur

Runner up, Adults short story category

This is me with my brown hair. It is not afro or silky smooth. It is coarse and split – ACG hair. Dead straight in my teenage years, thinner by the day. Now I let it fall, waify, wavy. It moults. I shed like an animal.

It is all about hair these days: moisturise, thicken, greyed out. I have loved my hair and hated it. I have chopped it all off and grown it to unbelievable lengths. But the one thing I never did was wear it tied and hidden high atop my head.

I never considered my Sikh brothers and sisters who wear their hair like this as a symbol of their faith. It was just hair; something to frame my face and make me look pretty – more feminine – detracting from my thick boyish eyebrows, dark hair and Roman nose.

But today I will take those long waves that have learned to fall so perfectly and pull them together round and round. My crown. Tie and wrap them in lengths of fabric. No so tight, but tight enough that it keeps everything in.

Today, I see my hair for what it is. Like Samson whose strength was in his locks, so is mine. But mine comes in covering it. It says more this way. It tells the world that I am proud of who I am.

My hair, and how I keep it, is me.