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In my part of the world, or at least in the small state of Kerala, I am not sure about the rest of India, having two cowlicks is considered lucky. Cowlicks are found mostly on the crown of the head and sometimes on the front hairline. Genetics is supposed to play a role in its twin appearance. But there you have it, a section of your hair that stands straight up or at an angle at odds with the rest of your hair, if it is twice over, is made out to be something that changes your fortunes for the better.

One of my childhood friends had two cowlicks on the crown of his head and the grown-ups thought he was destined for great things. Anything different from the usual is either ‘lucky’ or ‘unlucky’. Take the case of my Second Born. His eyes were blue-gray when he was born, much to our surprise and delight. One day I was standing outside my home with him in my arms (he was 7-8 months old at the time) when my neighbor’s elderly mother walked over. She got talking about someone or other in her neighborhood whose child also had blue-gray eyes. A perfect child in every way, she said, enumerating his qualities in glowing terms, except for one defect, just like your baby here, she added shaking her head, the color of his eyes was blue. I was too stunned (and young) to give a suitable reply.

But I have infamously digressed.

When I married the L&M, I found that double cowlick was a common feature in his family. He, his brothers, nephews and the lone niece, all had one cowlick on the crown and another on the front hairline. In fact when my First Born arrived, I found he was true to the pattern as well. Not so the Second Born, not at first, not in his younger days. A single cowlick adorned the crown of his head and that was all.

His uncle was not having any of it, “What?!” he joked one day, “No second cowlick? But everyone in our family has two!” A funny retort trembled at the tip of my tongue. “Maybe he is not from your family?” But I also knew that kind of thing might not be taken as lightly as it was meant to be, not when you are a young woman and all around are people waiting for you to make a wrong move so they can eat you alive. So I simply said, “He could take after his mom and her side of the family too?” I mean, it is not as if the paternal side of the family had been granted a cowlick franchise?

Years passed. One fine day about five years back, the hair on my head started misbehaving. All my life they had been so good and easy to care for. Running my hands through them had been enough to style them anytime, every time. I never needed a comb/brush. True story. Suddenly though they had become this unruly bunch of individualistic whatchamacallits and were all over the place making my head look like a lion’s mane on a bad hair day. Enough was enough. Fed up, one fine day I asked the stylist to give me a boy-cut. No more spending time trying to tame disobedient hair with a mind of their own. Gah!

It is after my hair cut that I noticed it. On my front hairline was a prominent cowlick. Imagine that! Unbeknownst to me, all my life I had been a double-cowlicks-lucky-person after all! It is just that long hair had concealed somewhat the presence of the second cowlick. Of course, I was aware that one side of my hair line was different from the other and I parted (had to!) my hair accordingly, but who knew it had been a cowlick lurking underneath that had been the reason? I am rather ignorant about the genetics in this matter, does the father bequeath the cowlick-hair-gene to the sons or the mother? But I bet the other parties are equally ignorant. So I can now safely assert that the sons have inherited the double-cowlicks-gene from their mom. Ha! 😉

© Shail Mohan 2020