I have to be really honest here. When I was invited to judge the L’Oreal IHA Finale in Goa, I was unsure about whether I should even go. After all, what could I possibly contribute and imbibe (i’m a strong believer in the process of osmosis between energies) from a set of ‘barbers’? Sure enough, as i went straight from the airport into a room full of a significantly large group of ‘hair cutters’ and subsequently sat for 4 hours seeing them snip, colour, wash, straighten etc. etc., i became even more convinced that my initial thought had been well founded and this was a mistake. A couturier in the midst of this lot?
Then came the next day, and as the organisers hustled us into the venue of the Grand Finale followed by the guests entering the large venue, I had a doubt again! … this time about my earlier doubts. An elegant setup awaited us, and as the emcee came on stage with giant LEDs and stunning graphics morphing behind her, the 3.5 hours (which by any standards, is rather long) simply melted away under the spotlight of the intense creativity that followed on stage.
L’Oreal really gave it all they had and besides presenting a fabulous evening in a luxurious hotel, MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE, they gave wings to the dreams of several ‘artists’. That’s precisely when it sheepishly hit me, that for the first time in my life, I had been surrounded by artists and not even realised it. IHA are the Oscars for hair stylists from across the country, the preliminaries go on for a year all over India and are judged by a fantastic jury in each city, and then it all culminates into this one magical evening of (in)credible talent. They come from each and every corner of India, from insignificant small towns to large cities… besides the tools of the trade, they all carry one common dream within them…A dream to excel …A dream to be judged by the best and to be the best… A dream to reach for the stars… A dream to become stars!
This was the stage that set the ball rolling for the chosen ones for future fashion greatness, for being a woman’s (and man’s) best friend for life, for being coveted by celebrities, for possibly even becoming the next Vidal Sassoon. As I watched the nervous and not so nervous walk the ramp, and others create live magic right there on the stage, I felt a sense of gratitude… for being fortunate enough to be there that night and perhaps, for even having played a small role in introducing some future stars to the world.
Many congratulations L’Oreal…IHA is something you should be very proud of and the team that you have nurtured in India is truly exceptional… add to that the brilliance of my dear friend and your choreographer, Anu Ahuja! Thank you for making me a part of your story; the talent that I saw and the presentation that followed was flawless and I, for once, am truly glad that i was proved wrong about my own initial thoughts!
Aseem Kaushik and Team L’Oreal India…Take a bow.
PS* Please excuse the quality of the images this one time; digital zooms and excited fingers often have this effect on Photographs.
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