van Gogh’s Hat

In the summer of 1887, while in Paris, Vincent van Gogh watching himself on a mirror painted five likeness of his self. All five paintings titled ‘Self Portrait with Straw Hat’ hangs at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. All have one thing in common—the straw hat. I’m searching for a similar looking hat. And that’s why this post.
I was never forewarned that this would happen. That becoming farmer, less so a weekend one, would lead to this.

Self Portrait with Straw Hat
Self Portrait with Straw Hat

Friends and family members who meet me after a long gap either fail to recognize me or say unkind words about my appearance. Like what my sister-in-law, meeting me after nearly two years, remarked while laying the table for evening tea. Said she: You’ve really put on weight (which I think was natural considering my age). Have become dark and have a bald patch too.
My brother, elder to me by a year and a half continues to keep his skin colour, thanks to his chauffeur-driven air-conditioned Mercedes Benz which he rides to office unlike me, a die-hard conservationist, preferring the public mode of transport.
It’s true I have tanned considerably due to my weekly exposure to the elements, working in the farm for hours together in sun and otherwise. My attempts to get back my true colours with cucumber and potato peels haven’t helped either.
Year’s back, when I took to farming people did caution me saying, “It’s difficult being a farmer” or “You’re not cut out for it, being an urbanite.”
Sadly, no one briefed me about its occupational hazards. That with very summer I would `gain’ skin colour. Which meant that I would become more bronzed or be plain dark.
Having taken to wearing a baseball cap to protect myself from the sun has not helped. Because you tend to sweat profusely in it. The tell tale sweat marks on it.
The other day even wifey attracted my attention to my complexion. That was the proverbial last straw on the camel’s back. It was a Saturday and while we were having our morning cuppa, stretching her arm she asked me to keep mine beside her. ‘Am I not fairer than you?’ she announced like judge giving a verdict.
A stay-at-home earner, wifey does all her work from home, thanks to Skype, email and mobile. With hardly any outing done: she has become much ‘fairer’. I do grudge her not getting the required Vitamin D but who listens.
I’m looking for the straw hats which farmers in the North Eastern States use and have been visiting the Crafts Melas (including the Kala Ghoda Festival) in search of them. But then I’m looking at the wrong place: who would want a straw hut in a city?
If not a van Gogh straw hat other will do too. Meanwhile, I’m praying: God give me back wheat complexion. Who wants to live with the coffee look?


9 thoughts on “van Gogh’s Hat

  1. While you continue to clutch at straws, won’t a floppy hat (cricket style) do the trick? I am sure it comes free with one of those fair and lovely creams. By the way, the expression is tall, dark and handsome–dark, not wheat.

  2. Had I known your wish in october 2012, I would have at least bought for you, a leaf hat made by tribals for a hundred bucks, at the people’s bio-diversity festival at Hyderabad.

  3. dnyanesh

    I am also a weekend farmer like you.. and experienced a same skin transformation like you…But there are some other advantages working throughout a sunny day in a field ………it burns the the calories along with skin.. and thereby help in reducing cholesterol inside the arteries and veins which other wise needs to be removed by operation , using stents or last option by-pass….. so keep farming and enjoy the advantages

  4. Kamal

    If u have friends in south india u should ask them to send u hats or caps made with dried vetiver grass also called khus. The added benefit is that when sprinkled with water it keeps your head cool no matter what the temperature is.

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