Kala Kola Klub

Posted on June 22, 2008
Filed Under >Mast Qalandar, Humor, People
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Mast Qalandar

Kala Kola Hair TonicWhat is common between President Pervez Musharraf, Imran Khan, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry?” Even a schoolboy knows the answer: They are all members of the Kala Kola Klub.

So writes Khalid Hasan in a delightful column last week in Daily Times.

Khalid Hasan has a knack of coining interesting names – Kala Kola Klub – which are not only descriptive but also stick. (If you didn’t know, he also coined the name ‘Shortcut’ for you know who.)

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Kala Kola, as most Pakistani would know, is not a beverage as the name might suggest but one of the oldest brands of black hair dyes in Pakistan.

In his column, Khalid Hasan also revealed that Imran Khan not only dyes his hair but also had a hair implant job done lately. No wonder, his hair looks a lot thicker than it did a few years ago. Well, if you thought it was only the Sharif brothers who made good use of their time and money while abroad, think again.

It so happens that most men nowadays, when they reach their 50s or even before, particularly those we see on TV talk shows – the guests as well as the hosts – have their hair dyed. Some have theirs done professionally while most of them do it themselves in the privacy of their homes using whatever in-house help is available.

Let me state upfront, though, that it is none of my business nor should it be anyone else’s if Pervez Musharraf, Imran Khan, Altaf Bhai, Asif Zardari or any other person dyes his hair in whatever color he chooses. It is their hair and their heads – and their money. (I believe hair implants can cost a lot.)

But, as someone said, it’s the idea of one’s leader sitting in a hairdressing salon, wearing one of those flowered waterproof smocks, their heads covered with that gooey stuff – that picture doesn’t quite tie in with the powerful statesman image.

I wonder if it is the proliferation of electronic media that has made these men with dyed hair more visible than they were in the past or is it a growing new trend? Or, is it a bad job of dyeing they generally do that makes them look so conspicuous?

Someone remarked the other day that in spite of faltering economy of the country Kala Kola (or its equivalents) seem to be doing a roaring business in Pakistan and so is the business of salons. This statement may have been made jokingly, but there must be some truth to it for even a serious newspaper like Los Angles Times took note of this “gooey” business in a recent report titled ‘Pakistani men sitting pretty’ filed by its staff reporter, Laura King, from Islamabad. The report talked about the growing number of prominent Pakistani men flocking to salons for dye jobs and other facial and hair treatments.

Pervez Musharraf, because of his high profile, is the most conspicuous member of the Kal Kola Klub. (He is not much seen on TV nowadays.) He dyes his hair very carefully, in two tones, white at the temples and black or brown at the top. Some say, he chooses the shade of his hair depending on the occasion and his mood. If he felt pleased and playful he would dye it a shade of brown, and blow-dry it to give it a tousled look. But when under stress, he would use a darker shade. The grimmer the mood the darker the shade.

A peculiar trait of men is that they are very sensitive about their hair. They would discuss everything among themselves – their clothes, their weight, their ailments, and even their affairs, but rarely their hair. “Unfortunately”, says an expert, “because men are so sensitive about their hair … they can’t ask for advice in the way women do quite openly. Thus, where gray hair is concerned, many men will be tempted to dye it at home, in secret, in a color that they think will work but rarely does. And because men don’t talk about hair, they don’t say anything when another man gets it wrong, and the circle of silence continues.”

Incidentally, this sensitivity about hair is not limited to any particular nationality. It is universal. In 2002 the then German chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, otherwise reported to be quite a laid-back politician, sued a news agency for simply implying that he dyed his hair. A testament from his hairdresser was even read out in court to support him.

The other day, flipping through old magazines while waiting my turn at a barber’s shop here in New York (I had gone for a plain hair cut), I came across an interesting article by a woman writer, a fashion expert, that had some advice and tips that the existing and potential hair dyers may find useful. Here is what it said:

Men can look hotter as they age, and natural white streaks in black hair are very attractive on men. (So, why use a camouflage?)

If you must dye, just make sure it looks natural. Obvious dye jobs that resemble someone slathering their head with black shoe polish are a far bigger turnoff than gray hair. (Have you seen Chaudhry Pervez Elahi lately?). And, by the way, a bad toupee is a deal breaker!

Use a shade very similar to your natural color.

Rub Vaseline along your skin at the hairline and especially your ears and neck. This keeps the dye from staining your skin.

READ THE DIRECTIONS CAREFULLY, which come with the dye, and use the gloves!

34 responses to “Kala Kola Klub”

  1. Ibrahim says:

    aHsn, and what bolt of lightening led you to believe that older people get less bounty (booty) compared to younger once? Your permise is completely wrong, and what Ali Dada wrote is correct. So, what Rasoolullah adviced the old man to do wouldn’t lead him to cheat anyone, except make the enemy think that he was younger to gain psychological advantage (the fights used to one on one, you know).

    Dyeing is a sunnah, the type of sunnah that’s considered Rasoolullah’s (saw) habit…like his style of walking, etc. Doing isbaal (lowering your clothing below ankle) has been specifically prohibited by Rasoolullah and thus is a sunnah that should be followed.

    And, outside of black any color can be used to dye one’s hair/beard. In fact many sahabah, including Uthman, Ali and ibn Umar, had dyed their beards yellow! It was normal to do so at that time. Thus, Ali Dada is right that to dye one’s hair black to look younger and then to deceive somebody is prohibited. Good points Ali.

  2. AHsn says:

    Dear Ali Dada,

    You write: ” He also once instructed an old man who wanted to take part in jehad to dye his white hair to look younger.”
    So, if the old man dyes his beard to hides his age, he becomes an equal partner of younger ones to take the advantage of the bounty of the Jehad. It is simple CHEATING!

    And then you give another opposite stetement: “However, one must be careful not to use hair dye to conceal their age in matters such as asking a woman to marry and so forth.”
    So, what is your advice: (1) Hide and cheat or (2) Hide but not cheat.

  3. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:

    MQ: Qazi Hussain Ahmad and Maulana Fazlur-Rehman wear their Shalwar above ankles. Isn’t that enough? And about Imran Khan. In his pictures why he looks so ‘angry’ all the time.

  4. MQ says:

    Ali Dada, you have given a new twist to the post. I was not aware of this particular “sunnah” of dyeing one’s hair. But if that was so, one wonders, why don’t Qazi Hussain Ahmad and Maulana Fazlur-Rehman, the two great proponents of the sunnah, dye their beards flaming red? Or black?

  5. ahsan says:

    Very true. Kala Kola personifies all the hair dyes in Pakistan. Any leader who still has hangups about his hair should also go for some liposuction and other “enlargment” surgeries. And then we can decide on whom to vote by having their cattle parade on some fashion ramp. What if our female politicians decide for some cosmetic surgery and a few implants here and there.
    Imran Khan had a week old black beard on his face when he came out of jail. I failed to see a single white hair.Was he using Kala Kola in there? Did he actually asked for that?

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