Sunday, June 3, 2012


Like most kids, I always hated getting a haircut. A pair of scissors snipping away was not something an adorable sweet kid like me preferred. But whatodoo, I had to get them cut. I had long curls. Ha! Now don’t imagine nice, lustrous, beautiful curls; mine were dry, wavy and tough to maintain. I had a mop of hair that made a squirrel jump with joy for having found a home. It is also believed that a certain ‘Baba’ might have got inspired by me. My mom tried various traditional methods to straighten it but in vain. Hairclips got lost sometimes; err well, you know how I like exaggerating. 

In those days, I used to be Raju Salon- For Mens shop’s loyal customer. Appa thought hair styling was not something a 4 year old needed and asked a neighbourhood salon owner, Raju, to cut it short so it wouldn’t grow back too quickly. Alas that never worked. During one such visit, Raju uncle tutted sullenly not believing his eyes, he made me sit on an enormous chair and assured Appa, “Saar, ‘Croff’ maaDidini. Innu yenTu tingLu aaraamagiri saaar” (Sir, for the next 8 months birds wouldn’t mistake it for their nest). He probably meant “Crop” but I am not sure. I also vaguely remember him muttering “devre kaapaaDbeku” (God wonly should help!).

Amma decided it was time she took me to a woman’s salon for a proper haircut. I was scared to sit on a chair that was not bitten by rats. Everything was new- there was no Raju uncle, no random old man reading newspaper and no random people watching cricket on TV, which was fitted on the wall, at far end of the shop; presumably a Solidaire or a Dyanora TV set. The ‘beauty parlour’ was neat. The kind lady smiled at me, she had a stylish haircut. Very impressive. “Oh what a lovely texture” exclaimed the parlour lady once I was seated. She then asked Amma “are you sure you want her hair to be cut?” Amma thought she was being sarcastic. I looked around feeling smug. After what seemed like a decade the lady said, “Ah there you are!” The result shocked us. It was exactly how Raju uncle styled my hair. Same-to-same. Of course the only difference was the parlour lady charged more than Raju. 

My tress tales continued to amuse my family. It was quite irritating when my class-mates (mostly boys) in high-school made fun of how I always cut my hair short. You see, all girls in my class had long hair. Perhaps boys felt insecure to see a girl with short hair. Who cares! What do they know about maintenance? Anyway, by the time I reached college I decided to let it grow. I used umpteen numbers of hair clips and hair bands to make it sit. Once I started working, I visited salons that charged unimaginable prices for a haircut (Trivia: such salons are very easy to recognize- they do not let you read the tariff card; they use exotic smelling products; they offer a welcome drink; they have glum looking employees; the owner claims to have worked with some celebrity or the other). But these so called professionals were also unsuccessful. 

After moving out of India, I thought to myself “*sigh* now there is no hope of finding a decent (not so expensive) salon in this strange land”. But recently I took a big step of visiting a salon. I was hesitant. You too would be skeptical if you noticed “Kill” inscribed as one of the words on the salon’s board. But surprise surprise! It turned out to be just right for me. After so many years, phew! I can finally say that my quest for the right hair stylist has come to an end. I feel elated, really. Now I can visit a cool, bubble-gum chewing, tattooed, blue-green-haired stylist who doesn't talk much, nope no gossiping (unlike parlour aunties) and doesn't suggest expensive hair products either. She truly is a magician! I felt she held a wand and not a pair of scissors in her hands while working.
After all Raju uncle’s prayers seem to be working.