When I first came to Bahrain I often wondered how Arab women, neatly dressed in a hijab, the Muslim headgear), had such a large bunch of hair on their heads. It was not until several years later that I learnt the “truth” – that the “bunch” was not actually hair but a “volumiser” in the form of a rubber band tied around the hair that gave it that “bulky” look!
It was only then that I picked up enough courage to ask a female Arab colleague about how she had a rather large head on a somewhat lithe body! And she spilled the beans, also saying the “pillow”, as she put it, helped keep the hijab in place in addition to giving te head a neater and bigger look.
Over the years, of course, I have learnt a lot more about Arab culture, the way men and women dress, the kinds (and colours) of hijab and the thobe (which Arab men wear) as well as why many men and women wear or do not wear them!
Strangely, however, it wasn’t until a week ago that I actually saw scores of these “buns” for sale at a shop in Muharraq. And then I saw several shops selling those in one of Bahrain’s more traditional quarters known for its culture and heritage!
One never stops learning, does one?