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Getting A Haircut In Mumbai On A Lazy Sunday

 

Sunday, June 19, 2011  - 1020 hours

“I’ll be back in an hour,” I left my home saying.
I walked down two blocks from my colony towards a newly inaugurated salon which my friend had recommended.
‘Shri Guru Gobind Saloon – Non A/C’ Yes! That was the name on the billboard (with the typo). The board bore an atrociously hand-painted photo of Hrithik Roshan. I had expected Ranbir Kapoor! I entered the room which was open from adjacent sides; hoping it was a new technique of cross-ventilation. Looking for a vacant seat before the enlarged mirror, I sat on a dilapidated wooden bench soon after cursing my friend. Two vacant seats out of the total four made me fidget.
A middle-aged hairdresser was working on a kid coaxed by a gutkha-chewing person. He definitely was not his father; the way he handled that kid on Father’s Day, grabbled his tiny neck, I could bet! Another hairdresser was shaving beard off a scantily clad oldie. The sight was gruesome & awe-uninspiring. I even had a thought of getting out of that squalid place. But that soon faded when I was called for my turn. 
Reducing my ferociousness & trying to ignite a sense of joy, I walked to the left-most seat where the kid was being dressed. After wiping the seat clean the brown-eyed dresser asked me to sit. Wearing the protective scarf around my neck, he walked to get his accessories disinfected. Gazing at the bitten Apple logo of my iPod, I sat there in patience. Suddenly, my eyes turned around only to feast myself with the worst scene at a salon. The man who was to dress me was teaching one of his co-workers the art of trimming on another person. “What the heck?” my mind whispered to my ear. That previous thought of getting out of the salon started emanating out of my mind as my fingers involuntarily unhooked the scarf. Before I could convince my ego to wait for another minute, my obstinate legs walked me out. For the first time on a lazy Sunday, all my stubborn body parts worked in co-operation. I rushed to prevent that dresser following me & treaded for another nearby salon, where I was a usual customer.

1135 hours
I walked inside ‘Shivam Hair Art’ gazing at the serpentine queue of Fathers with their children. This Father’s Day had gotten into my nerves especially when my Dad was far away in Kuwait. Without bothering to ask when my turn would come up, I walked to another, this time far by, salon hitherto. To my bad luck, the next salon was locked. Wondering where to go next, I glared at the street.

1220 hours
“Sit down, baccha!” a man sat beside me playing with his infant. The kid, with an expensive complexion looked cute enough to get some people to stop & stare in awe. Even I was one of the people including the hairdressers. I sat in patience ignoring the long line of cavemen with their children.
Mr. Shivam, the owner of the salon was talking loudly on phone which helped me feel content. I examined all those branded creams, lotions, talc, even read Hindi newspapers (for the first time) to waste time. Finally, came the turn of the cutie, & his Dad carried him to the seat.
Lost of tussles & altercations between the Father & the hairdresser diverted my concentration from the owner’s cheesy phone talk to the real-time hair-cutting. I could see the kid’s head turning left & right in annoyance.
“Why don’t you sprinkle some water?” Father grilled the dresser.
“I can’t, his hair is so thin. It will give him cold.” He retorted picking up the water-sprinkler.
“I will see to it. You sprinkle some water so that the hair doesn’t get stuck in his eyes.” Father caressed the kid who had now started crying (maybe due to the quarrel).
The angry Father & hairdresser soon turned their faces toward me. They both vied to get a ‘You’re right!’ from me. I had become the magistrate in that hairy case. When the hairdresser talked a point, he looked at me expecting a ‘Touché’ & the Father glared ‘why don’t you say something.’
This went on for a couple of minutes & had gotten again into my nerves. The tussle between them had delayed the time of my turn for which I was waiting like a buffoon.
I stood up in anger & sashayed to the exit when a voice riddled my ears,
“Ruko, yeh lo ho gaya! Ab aapki baari!”

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About the Author: Tejas Nair - Contrapuntist & Conversationalist!