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Incidents Short story

My (s)hair of woes!

Inspired by recent posts by Shail’s nest and Tattoo.

Why do (we) South Indians have the stickiest, oiliest, completely lack-of-textur(ish?!) hair in the world? I cringe when I see those familiar thin, curly, sticky little pigtails (rat-tails, if you ask me!). It brings back some uneasy memories… of… of…. why, of me (the school-girl, of course)!!!

A recent visit to the hairdresser left me short…of what…you will soon realise if you are kind enough to read the rest of the post.

I sashayed confidently into the parlour wearing my new sequined kurti from Sona’s boutique. The air-conditioned room was a welcome in itself. But that was the only welcome I received. The girls/hairdressers didn’t bother to even turn in my direction. Even the dazzling sequins didn’t succeed in distracting their attention from the ‘K-soap’ they were watching on TV.

I resigned to meekly asking them for a hair-cut. ‘I’d like a hair-cut…’. They looked at me foggily. Clearing my throat, I repeated myself, this time, more assertively. ‘A HAIR-CUT’. That seemed to work. One of the girls grudgingly stood up, and led me to a nice black leather chair. As I kept my handsome new handbag down, the girl asked me what cut I’d like.

I am not really stingy, but what with the recession and all, I am trying to be penny-wise, these days.

‘Very simple…an ordinary U-cut’, I replied.

The girl was used to clients like me. She got the drift and replied, ‘U-cut is (Rs.)200, straight-cut is (Rs.)150’.

‘Um..Ok..’ I gulped. I was most tempted to ask for ‘A straight-cut please’, but what the heck! I might as well pamper myself, for once. And I didn’t want her to get the better of me!

‘That’s fine’, I croaked, inwardly resenting the extra Rs.50 that I had to shell out now! I could have used that to pay up the ransom that the autorickshaw driver would demand !

I quickly consoled myself, though. Had I been in London, the same would have cost me atleast GBP 35, which is (even with the pathetic exchange rate) Rs. 2618!!!! And all for a fast-thinning bunch of strands.

The girl very slowly removed the cute white hairclip (which by the way, was also sequined!!) I was wearing and left it on the table in front of me. I suppressed a gleeful smile. Finally, a nice hair-cut at an air-conditioned parlour! Yay! Until……I happened to catch her expression in the mirror in front of me.

—-

She shakes her head from side to side.

‘What?’, I wonder.

She parts my hair to make it frame my face. And tilts her head.

I get anxious. ‘Has she found a gaping hole in my skull?’

She disdainfully lifts the hair that barely covers my left ear/cheek and drops it down again. And repeats the same with the other few strands that hang by my right ear.

Anxiety pangs get the better of me. I look up at her beseechingly, like a helpless not-so-little puppy.

She doesn’t seem to thaw! She looks as grim as the steadfast K-Bahu who wallows in self-inflicted misery, and whose reflection now falls in the same mirror in which I see mine !

Finally, the girl breaks the suspense. ‘Madam, your hair is oily’.

‘OK…so ?’

‘So, I can’t cut your hair. It won’t be even!’

‘I don’t mind’, I almost blurt.

‘I can give you a hair-wash and U-cut’, she mysteriously adds.

I helplessly watch on. Waiting for her to utter her golden words.

‘Rs.600’, she adds, almost mockingly.

—–

Needless to say, I returned home. Cut really short. The spirit, I mean !!