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New Tricks!!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Computers are a blessing----agreed.They keep me connected to my SP friends who have become very near and dear to me in such a short span-----not being able to communicate with them makes me restless!!!However to stay connected one needs a Computer----hence the new Laptop with a Tata Photon Connection----ensuring both connectivity and mobility.
The old PC has loads of Sudhir's legal files stored in it----the Hard Disk is pretty full so the PC is a bit slow due to that.I'm going shift all his files into the external Hard Disk to make space but that will take atleast a week. Besides we used to squabble over who'd use it on the weekends----and when.
This was the way out---a new Laptop with a huge Hard Disk----more storage space for my Music----with a Mouse----using that other thing is beyond our comprehension!!!!This was what I thought till he loaded the latest MS Office on this too------ohhhhh now I call that unfair!!!So both of us supposed to share this one too----no way am I going to allow it---besides his Dictation program is loaded on the other PC!!!He's behaving like a spoilt Brat(that's what he is---truly)over the issue of who uses which one.Frankly I don't mind the old one----it's something I'm familiar and comfortable with----but my ego won't let me admit that to him!!!
Familiarising myself with this very hi-fi latest model is making me a bit slow---but only till I get the hang of it----after that The Brat better watch out----I ain't sharing----no way!!!So here I am---learning the new moves to make this one comfortable for myself----it's like an old She Dog(is the actual word allowed here??) learning new tricks!!!

  
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ZANNACHAN 2/24/2010 11:55PM

    I have a love-hate relationship with computers. When the work, I love them, when they don't work I hate them and I turn them over to my husband to deal with emoticon

It's probably a good thing for our marriage that we each have our own computer--we both rely on them heavily to work and we're both likely to work at home or away from the office on a laptop. When we were first married, we only had one computer and it caused all sorts of problems because we both needed to use it at the same time--we ended up borrowing a computer from my parents until we could afford a second computer!

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ATMANI 2/14/2010 8:31PM

    emoticon

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EACHDAYAGIFT 2/14/2010 11:35AM

    I always prefer to let my husband/ kids get the newest tech with all the bells and whistles and I just take the latest "outdated" one, still an upgrade for me. Yes, they could be faster, but I like having my very own computer (I'm not a good sharer!) A couple of years ago we switched to Mac from PC, so now I have a newer one. I share it a little, because I have the printer that has a scanner/ copy machine attached. But mostly it's mine, all mine (insert maniacal laugh)!

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LISANANCY 2/14/2010 9:56AM

    Will you kids please play nice! Having a new toy to play with is fun, isn't it emoticon

Comment edited on: 2/14/2010 9:57:40 AM

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RD03875 2/14/2010 6:04AM

    Good luck with the computer.

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Of Grapes---and Wine Making!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Fruit Wallah came over an hour back---with Papayas,Pomegranates,Musk Melons and---Grapes.The Grapes were truly luscious---mouthwateringly so---Black seedless Grapes.I bought just 500gms.---tomorrow's Shivratri---my fast---- so these will do for Breakfast then.I just popped some in my mouth---the taste reminded me of Daddy---like me he too loved FOOD!!!Each time I eat these Grapes the fun we had growing and making Wine out them---is a memory I just love!!!
Daddy had planted these Black Grape Vines on either side of the Garage and built a Steel Wire Canopy over the Garage roof on which he had trained these Vines---these cuttings were a gift from Le Corbusier-----all the way from France.Jeanneret Uncle and Daddy'd make wine from these each year---it was a crazy event in our house till the Wine turned out okay----sometimes we'd get Vinegar!!!So,these Grapes were very precious to our Dad.Mummy'd stich covers made of Muslin Cloth which would be tied over these bunches----in the naive understanding and the vain hope of protecting these bunches from both the Birds and us children .Once these began ripening,it was our regular practice to climb down onto the Garage roof,open these pouches,stuff our mouths full of the ripening Grapes and retie the pouches in exactly the same manner again!!! All this clandestine activity took place in the afternoons when everyone else was enjoying their siestas.The green Canopy of the Vines was a cool haven in the Summer heat---which was another factor for it being our favourite spot----many are the hours spent and books read there!!!!
Finally the Grapes(the meagre amount that remained) would ripen and the Red letter day for crushing the grapes would dawn----the old Bath Tub would be scrubbed to within an inch of it's life,we'd wash and wipe our feet till the skin shrivelled up---and then there'd be a free for all!!We'd all jump in enthusiastically pumping our feet up and down to crush the Grapes. Daddy'd sing "Allouette" on the top of his voice and we'd join in-----the cacophony would be deafening!!!!Finally the Grapes would be reduced to a pulp and us Wine Crushers to a pleasurably worn out stage------in time for Lunch. Mummy and Daddy'd go forward to the next stage while we'd retire for the afternoon---after a sumptous Lunch!!
Today I wish I'd paid more attention to the onward process---specially when I see those luscious Bunches-----I still remember the taste of the Wine---yummy!!!However this was one of our favourite activities---just before the Summer ended---we drank the older Wine every Christmas---the newer bottles would be labelled and salted away for the years to come!!!

  
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ATMANI 2/12/2010 10:50AM

    I was reminded of Lucy crushing the grapes in one of the 'I love Lucy" episodes.

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LISANANCY 2/11/2010 11:05PM

    Oh, what a wonderful memory. So many of us would have liked to do that. I especially like how clever you were to get your grapes and the tie them back up. Just like a kid emoticon

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EACHDAYAGIFT 2/11/2010 2:59PM

    That blog made me just smile from beginning to end. What a happy, colorful memory. I could just picture it all, and had a moment of summer on this cold winter day. Wish I had some grapes, now! emoticon
Ann

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ZANNACHAN 2/11/2010 3:22AM

    Oh, cool! Not very many people make their own wine these days, though I know people who brew their own beer and mead (an alcoholic beverage similar to wine, only fermenting honey instead of grapes). Wine is a lot of work. I remember talking to this guy who was doing a wine making demo using an old fashion hand press--though I don't believe he stomped on the grapes a la I Love Lucy. Pretty fascinating--what a neat memory to have.

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Progress!!!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

My dear friend Zanna put it beautifully in her comment on my Blog yesterday---Progress is a mixed blessing!!!
She spoke about the exchange of Cultures,Food and Clothing---here I'd say that copying a Dress Code or Culture is just that---people pick only things that appeal to them---each to his/her own----personally.This opens up new horizons and opportunities as well as Economic booms.I like the way the World is coming closer together----in the last 40-50 years the World has progressed very rapidly.Today even without leaving their own Countries-----Business Deals are finalised and Executives hold Multi National Conferences the World over---such is the power of Science!!!
It is the Food aspect that is worrying---the Fast Food Syndrome---a burgeoning terror the World over.What actually began as convenience foods soon progressed to being the basis of the feeding habits in many households---due to necessity and convenience----agreed but these have today reached alarming proportions.India has it's own different Food Cultures based on regional diversity---we adopted the different Foods from the regional areas----this by itself was not very difficult because basically this was an exchange of similar Foods---regional styles only mixed our basic Ingredients in different proportions.The base Ingredients did not differ therefore this did not create a different or alien culture---just melded the one that already existed into one label---"Indian"!!! In the fast Food Indian style one can name popular Items like Batata Vadas(deep fried Potato Balls),Samosas(deep fried Potato stuffed Flour Parcels) and Kachories(deep fried Lentil stuffed Flour Balls)---to name the highest Calorie items.These though unhealthy, use the Ingredients and Spices used in our daily Diets.
It is the Mc Donald,Dominoes,Pizza Express and KFC Culture which is the one which is worrying most parents.This Food is not based on what we are used to in our daily diets----agreed that they try to adapt to Indian tastes---but basically these concepts are strange and foreign to us as Indians.Our young people find the new tastes appealing and gravitate towards these in droves.For instance---they'll eat Pizza or Pasta smothered in Cheese but won't enjoy the healthier options that Western Food has to offer!!!The West is today trying to right the wrongs created by these Food habits and are actively promoting the healthier options among their own younger Generation by spreading awareness about healthy eating----they also are laying greater emphasis on drinking Water rather than Colas.On the other hand our youth is getting habituated into replacing Water with Colas---eating Burgers and Fries----all the things that their parents did not get earlier as they were not easily accessible.It is today considered being "hep" and "with it" to frequent these places and eat there.The healthier options are ignored totally!!!
The "Idiot Box" or TV too is becoming indispensable-----all social activities are geared around not missing favourite Programs!!!!Viewing your favourite Channels and Soaps is a tiring activity------makes you hungry------so you nibble on unhealthy Foods at unhealthy hours----I pity the parents of today---luckily my two grew up before we reached this stage!!!!Children are becoming addicted to TV---reading is slowly losing it's charm specially in Mumbai---there are so many things to watch---who wants to read????Luckily small Towns and Villages suffer from load shedding----at fixed hours each day---Thank the Lord those kids still read----no Electricity---no TV!!!

  
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ATMANI 2/10/2010 7:35AM

    emoticon

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SRITHI97 2/10/2010 7:07AM

    very true, interesting blog.

Comment edited on: 2/10/2010 7:15:04 AM

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ZANNACHAN 2/9/2010 1:54PM

    Thank you!

Progress is definitely a mixed blessings--none of these problems are simple.

But I dare say parenting has always been challenging--just the nature of those challenges change. There are new risks, but also new opportunities.

But even today, at least in the US, despite television, children still read for pleasure. Studies have shown that children who see parents reading for pleasure--reading magazines, books, whatever-are much more likely to enjoy reading themselves. Children who aren't exposed to adults reading are less likely to read. I know that even from personal experience--children will model the behavior of adults in their lives.

So don't give up on reading just yet. Just make sure to encourage reading in the lives of children you know--give them books, read to your grandkids when they are young, etc.

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LISANANCY 2/9/2010 8:25AM

    Fast Food Terror. Interesting. I am noticing that kids here in the states are (high school) are looking at the foods as a choice. Schools are removing the snack machines full of junk. Some steps but at least it is some progress. Also, I now have friends that are vegans. Something that was never popular is gaining some progress. Maybe there is still hope emoticon

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HEMAVL 2/9/2010 3:41AM

    Your posts are very interesting. emoticon

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ANGEL0507 2/9/2010 2:18AM

    i do agree with you, life quality is much better in our towns and villages rather than the metros we live in..... people hardly get sick there and they have hard time understanding why we are so fragile and have grown so "fat" .....every time i go to my village in haryana, i wish we could stay there for all the fresh air,water and food which we can never get in our cities.
people are so simple and their needs are so minimal still they are so happy and giving!! and look at us we need everything and still want more..and in the process ruin everything that is b'ful around us along with our health. emoticon

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B28680 2/9/2010 2:05AM

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My Musical Morning

Monday, February 08, 2010

Early this morning I woke up feeling unreal---there were the plaintive notes of a beautifully played Flute floating in the atmosphere---mingling with the daily Bird Song!!!The notes rose and fell with such beautiful cadence that I didn't realise how wet my eyes were till I felt the need to wipe them!!!
I just lay still and let those magical notes just wash over me in rapture-----since childhood I love the sound of the flute---but in the early dawn----the effect is simply magical!!!Then the sounds of the Flute were joined by a melliflous Tenor---singing a beautiful Bhajan---Indian name for a hymn.This got me out of bed---curiosity about who was singing in the lane behind our Complex?There I saw an impossible sight---2 Vasudeos---- in Saffron robes with their traditional Peacock Feather headgears---one playing the Flute---the other singing an Ode to God---strolling down the lane----- totally oblivious of their surroundings!!!Vasudeos are Mendicants---- these are a regular feature in the villages and small towns.They sing in praise of God at Dawn------wandering from house to house singing and accepting alms---they never ask---just take whatever they're given.The Bhajans they sing are from the rich collection of Poetic Verses known as "Abhangs"("Dohas" in Hindi) in Maharashtra----these were composed and written by our Saints and some go as far back as 700-800 years.What was unusual today was the appearance of these two in the city-----in this cosmopolitan environment they wouldn't have got Alms---which actually they were not asking for anyway.I stood there in the darkness of the early Dawn watching from behind the shadow of the curtains-------straining my ears to catch the last notes of their heavenly Music as slowly they faded into the distance.
This opened a cascade of Memories as I lay down again----in the old days in Kolhapur----- Akka, my Grandma would keep some Flour in a sack---to give the Vasudeo on his rounds everyday.This flour would be ground on a Grinding Mill made of Stone.This was called a "Zaatey" in Marathi or "Chakki"in Hindi------these were two round heavy Stones set in the floor around a wooden hook.These were turned by the help of a wooden handle which used to fit in the upper stone---these would be regularly dressed to a rough texture to grind the grain fine.This activity took place in a small room---each day fresh flour would be ground for the daily Bread-----two women would spread a clean cloth on the ground to collect the flour and seated on either side of the Stones would grasp the handle and turn it to grind the Grain needed.The Grain would be trickled in fistfulls into the hole in the centre----and the grating noise would be drowned by the beautiful "Oavees" the women sang---they believed it made their work load lighter!!!These "Oavees" are actually couplets composed by our women Saints and are really beautiful to hear---this activity would take place in the afternoons and my cousins and I would sit on the stairs outside this room------entranced by the beauty of it all!!!
This again brought to mind the rich heritage of our culture which is slowly fading away----are we truly progressing---if yes towards what????We have ruined the Environment and have depleted so many Natural Resources-----what are we leaving behind for our children?Polluted Air----Polluted Water---even the Food we eat is being genetically modified---is this TRULY progress????

  
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SONPARI1 2/9/2010 12:35AM

    what a blissful way to wake up! Such unexpected pleasures bring us joy.Lucky u..Thanks for sharing the wonderful memories.

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ATMANI 2/8/2010 7:28PM

    Simply wonderful to wake up this way. I play abhangs on my casette clock radio; thinking of replacing it with a CD clock radio, but am never getting around doing that...

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ZANNACHAN 2/8/2010 11:23AM

    What a beautiful way to wake up in the morning.

Change can be both good and bad. I recreate history for for fun and because I find the past fascinating, but I would not have wanted to really live even a hundred years ago--certainly if I did not have the luxury of living in one of the upper classes! We've come so far in terms of abundant food supplies, medicine, even things we tend to take for granted like sanitation and clean drinking water. But that doesn't mean that all change is positive, either. But the good news is that we can--and are, slowly--learning from our mistakes. Up until a few years ago, the river in my home town was actually capped off because it was so polluted that it stunk horribly. Thanks to changes in regulations, the river has slowly cleaned up and a few years ago that cap was removed (for safety reasons).

People worry about the world becoming homogeneous, and certainly there is infrastructure now that facilitates that--rapid transport by plains, an increasingly global economy, telephones and the internet (100 years ago I would not be able to talk to you like this, living on the opposite sides of the world as we do), and the mass media. Certainly there are signs of the spread of "Western" culture--McDonalds in Japan, Coke in India, Nike in China. Nor did this all go one way--here we have Chinese food and the influences of "Eastern" practices like yoga. And this isn't all bad--while cultural lines are increasingly blurred, it also promotes understanding and tolerance. It's a lot easier to be prejudiced against a group of people you never interact with.

At the same time, though anthropologists have observed that this homogenization of culture isn't all simple. Cultures may adapt new foods or new practices, but they do so in ways that work for them. So even if they drink coke and wear blue jeans, they are not merely copying practices of the West--they are changing it, making them or own, using those elements that work within their culture and discarding or changing what doesn't work for them. While the pace has become accelerated as the world became smaller, this is essentially the same process that has been around for forever, whenever humans of different cultures came into contact--through trade, through wars, through travel and exploration And while the pace is accelerating, there is also active resistance to that--a need for people to identify themselves culturally in contrast to others (what makes you Indian, Chinese, Mexican, or US American? Or even sub groups within that--Punjabi, Mandarin, Yucatecan, Southern?) So there are cultural forces at work that resist change, too.

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EACHDAYAGIFT 2/8/2010 10:22AM

    I too am torn about "progress". Sometimes I feel I should have been born at an earlier, slower paced time. Then I think what I would be without, all the time I'd have to spend doing by hand what machines do for me, quickly and efficiently, living a much shorter life, possibly dying from childbirth or losing a child to diseases we have vaccines for now. So I guess I'm still glad for the progress. I do have the option to slow my own pace by saying no to things. Everything in life comes with good and bad aspects, it seems. Including me!!

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LISANANCY 2/8/2010 8:51AM

    What a wonderful story. How lucky you are to still have this around you. You are now the keeper of the heritage. emoticon

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PUDLECRAZY 2/8/2010 6:22AM

    Don't let your rich heritage slip away! As we become more 'global' I worry that we will also become more homogeneous. I have been enjoying your blogs and what you bring to our awareness.

Chris

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My Red Tikka(Dot)

Sunday, February 07, 2010

I just posted my parents photograph on my Photos page---Daddy's so besotted and Mummy's embarrassed---I chanced to see a comment on my Red Tikka/Bindi(Red dot)on my forehead on a photograph of Sudhir and me posted there.
This tikka used to be the bone of contention between Sudhir and me till we settled it to each other's satisfaction a few years back.I love the big round Dot---and I used to draw it on my forehead with my ring finger---using this finger is considered auspiscious.As the Sindoor would come off during the night I'd make a similar tikka under it with Nail Paint----I hate my forehead without it----so I ensured that my forehead was never bare.Atya(my Ma-in-Law) caught me out one day and gave me a severe talking to and made me promise never to do that again---to which I meekly agreed.She introduced me to the method of applying a liquid base and dusting the Sindoor on top of the base---this kept the tikka stuck on the forehead for 24 hours at the longest!!I started using this method as it solved my problem but usng this method was time consuming and long.
There was however one huge drawback---I liked a perfect circle---the base had to be applied with a thin stick---this resulted in different sized tikkas every day!!Sometimes it would be okay but most times it would stretch all the way from my hairline to my eyebrows---that's what Sudhir hated the most!!!In my trying to form a perfect round----the size was becoming a headache for him!!!
Around this time we started getting ready Bindies in various sizes with a sticky substance on the base to keep it in place.One fine day on the way home he bought a size he liked---which I promptly rejected---it was too small according to me!!!The squabbling started in earnest---what I liked he didn't and I hated the ones he liked!!So day by day, by trial and error we finally found a size we both could live with---and the issue was finally resolved!!!
I'm superstitious about some things---my Tikka,my Mangalsutra( translated means"Auspiscious Thread")around my neck and my Toe Rings on the second toes on my feet.While changing my Mangal Sutra I first wear the one I want and then only remove the earlier one---I never leave my neck bare!!!My Toe Rings were my pride and joy---4 thick Silver rings----these weighed 200 Gms.-----2 in each foot !!!We call this "Soubhagya Chinha"or "Signs of Good Fortune" and wear these as these show our status as happily married women.The Toe Rings have had to be removed----last year after my Angioplasty---on Doctor's orders but I hope to still be wearing the other two things when I say "Bye Bye" to this Life----"Akhanda Soubhagyawati"!!!This means that should that happen I'll go out in style bedecked like a Queen with Sudhir performing all the last rites for me!!!
That is my daily prayer---may The Almighty see fit to grant it!!!

  
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NIMISHAJHA88 2/11/2010 2:47AM

  Hey Komal...Ur a fantastic writer with great wit n humor, n have a keen sense of observation ....I cud almost see u applying ur tikka with utmost patience to form the perfect round....When i was younger I wud make bindis of all designs on my forehead...from a snake,to a scorpion, to an anchor, to the plain old under-rated lil' black bindi....I used to wear my mom's bindis all the time,once in a while i wud apply sindoor,wear her heels,jhumkas n saree and pretend to be the coy bride n touch everyone's feet....n everyone wud have a great laugh...After i got married,our busy lives just don't make time for all that,except when there's a party....The sindoor n sticker bindis are so artificial these days that ur scalp/forehead wud keep itching after applying it....My red pola bangle with gold encrustation is all i wear as a sign of being married....

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ANGEL0507 2/8/2010 4:34AM

    lolz...nice story about tikka...we call it "bindi"...i like it too but can't use for long as it keeps my head heavy till the time i don't remove it .......i always thought i would be all dolled up after marriage but being a minimilistic before marriage paid its price and the only things i can bear which shows that i am married are the gold bangels apart from the rings in my hands whih i always wore. though i do buy things and they look so beautiful in my drawers but hardly grace me.. emoticon

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HEMAVL 2/7/2010 8:11PM

    emoticon

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SAASHA17 2/7/2010 3:22PM

    Hey Komal,

I love Sindoor..Hope I get to wear it soon...In the south , we dont put it in the hair in front but i always loved it...I am growing my hair so i cud do that when i get married...and i love maatis and black beads...:)...

Manasa

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ATMANI 2/7/2010 2:16PM

    emoticon

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ZANNACHAN 2/7/2010 11:34AM

    Thanks for sharing! And I agree with EACHDAYAGIFT--what a great metaphor for married life!

I love your pictures. Your parents are a very attractive couple and look so happy together. I realized that you had other pictures I hadn't seen yet--you are a lovely woman and have a lot of great pictures of you and Sudhir and your kids!

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LISANANCY 2/7/2010 9:08AM

    I hope you will continue to write more about your culture. I am also glad you got to work things out with the hubby. Very interesting. emoticon

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EACHDAYAGIFT 2/7/2010 8:44AM

    This made me laugh. All your creative ideas to make your Tikka last, and the negotiations to settle on a size you could both live with... what a metaphor for married life! I laughed at the part where, in the quest for a perfect circle, the Tikka got bigger and bigger. It made me think of the times my compulsive nature has led me to try to cut my own hair because I want it done now, and how hard could it be? The hair gets shorter and shorter as you keep trying to even it up! I still do it now and then, but have learned to aim for "feathery, fringe" effect rather than a straight line. Gives the hairstylist more to work with when she later refines my haircut!

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