“Why don’t you get a haircut? You look like a chrysanthemum”, all my growing up years I’ve heard my mom echo P.G. Wodehouse.
In fact, the most bewildering part of my childhood was spent trying to figure out why one needs to cut hair. I mean, if hair was supposed to be cut we would have been born without them. You even have “survival guides” in case of bad haircut. I say why CUT your HAIR in the first place?
Have you ever seen a Bear’s mom say to him, “Son its time for a hair cut!!” The hairy giant gets to roam around as scruffily and sloppily as he wants to. But, YOU try to do that and you are lured, hoaxed and even conned into getting a haircut.
One such fateful day ….
“Huh !!”, I woke up with a jerk. I shuddered as I found myself sitting on a huge wooden chair with a red shiny cloth clasping my throat. I looked like a monk in a red cowl.
Was I where I thought I was!?!
Was I where I thought I shouldn’t be!?!
How did Ma manage to get me here?
I tried to remember hard…
Laddoos, yummy laddoos!! Ma had made my favourite laddoos and I had hogged on them, not one, not two but SIX of them!!
While the laddoos sang their sweet lullabies, ma had taken me to Gulshan Chacha’s Beauty Salon!!
“Oh Ho ho!!”
I heard the forebodingly piercing voice of somebody from behind me. I knew in my heart that it must be GULSHAN CHACHA, the person I was dreading. Before I could turn and see his harrowing personality, a giant hand fell on my precious tresses that I so treasured. Lock of my raven-black mane fell on my eyes eclipsing my vision.
“your Baby is very small baby, and look at her hair thick as a hedge. Not at all like yours baby,” said GULSHAN CHACHA.
“Gulshan Chacha, she refuses to let anyone touch her hair and so I decided to get her to you. I know you will do justice to her priced possession just as you used to do to mine when I was a kid,” said Ma with hope.
“Baby to tell you the truth, I do not cut hair any more,” said GULSHAN CHACHA sadly.
I heard GULSHAN CHACHA with a renewed hope.
“I have become old and can’t see that well, but, for you baby, I will cut baby’s hair”.
“What??” hollered I, “now a bat is going to cut my hair. How can destiny be so cruel to me??”
“Shhh, quiet, I don’t want Gulshan Chacha to hear you”, thundered Ma.
I was raised on a barber’s plank. I was mortified. As if getting one’s hair cut wasn’t bad enough, they had planted me on a plank drilling home the fact tat I was tiny for that humongous chair meant for BIG Girls. Gulshan Chacha finally parted the hair curtain from over my eyes. I could smell dry heena on Gulshan Chacha’s hands. Heena smell always made me feel like throwing up. I shut my eyes tight. Even my smelly shoes smelled better than heena. What more could go wrong, I wondered.
Splash!! Out of nowhere a spray of cold water fell on my golden mane which funnelled every last hair down my neck. I felt as wet as an Otter’s pocket and had the urge to swim away, far away from the salon. As I sat there for the inevitable, I could hear the snapping of the scissors.
It grew louder and LOUDER.
Closer and CLOSER.
“Are you ready babu??” asked GULSHAN CHACHA.
Now only if I was Lady gaga, I would have screeched NO WAY!
I opened my eyes in tiny increments and squinted to look at ma, but her impassive countenance betrayed no interest.
The overpowering smell of the dry heena from the hands of GULSHAN CHACHA drew my attention back to him. He was holding my face and smiling. His golden teeth sparkled. In his other hand shone a bright sharp pair of scissors. The sparkling teeth and the sparkling pair of scissors gave me jitters. I twitched and jerked trying to get away from that stench and anything and everything that was going to touch my hair.
“Keep your head still, baby, or I might take your ear off”, said GULSHAN CHACHA as he drew his face closer to mine, “or even worse your eyes,” he said grinding his golden teeth.
GULSHAN CHACHA scared the living daylights out of me. But there was something overpowering his fear, it was the stench of heena. I wanted to push GULSHAN CHACHA away but was afraid if I so much as even twitched, GULSHAN CHACHA would cut off my ears, worse still my eyes.
The nausea in my stomach was rising. I was reaching the retching point. I could feel the six laddoos doing a salsa in my stomach. I could almost taste them on my tongue. My mind was running in circles.
The snapping of the scissors was growing closer. GULSHAN CHACHA was about to chop off my locks, when the stench of dry heena hit me hard. Like a morning glory the six laddoos found their way out.
I felt like a zombie. I was finding it difficult to see clearly through my vomit covered hair which was now covering my eyes.
But I could still hear voices, mixed voices!
‘What have you done’
‘arrey, somebody wash my face’
‘oh ho’ ‘I am sorry chacha’
‘take baby to some other place I am old now’
‘I am so embarrassed ’
I faltered and haltered towards the door and noiselessly slipped out of it. As I closed the door behind me, I looked at the clear sky and saw a kite soar. My heart too soared and my fears swayed away with the kite, for I knew it would be sometime before Ma mustered courage to take me again to a Beauty Salon.
My apologies to you if you are Gulshan Chacha and if you are not – how about Sharing this blog with your friends on Facebook !!
Did you like getting your hair cut as a kid ? How was your experience?