I was in Mumbai on Saturday morning. Woke up to a heavy drizzle and started yearning for some tea – Long Island and iced; but settled for black and honeyed. The neighbor pottered about plucking tulsi leaves and chilies from her balcony plants. I waved a beatific hello; she swished foliage politely and went in. I contemplated the quiet joys of domesticity and decided to get a hair cut. Perhaps there were other thoughts in between contemplation A and decision B, but I forget.
So, after watching Iqbal, I went for a haircut to a L’Oreal ‘tress salon’. Very swanky - black and chrome and everything Rome. (There was a woman in Roman sandals and a floral toga-top, and two men with expressions of sullen betrayal. ‘Et tu, brut?’ hung heavily in the pomade-laden air.)
‘Yes, ma’am?’, asked a pretty, blond girl. If I were casting for Heidi, she’d be my choice for the lead.
‘I want a hair cut’, I answered.
‘Of course. This way, please.’
I was escorted to a nifty, swiveling chair that nobody swivels. And I waited for some lady to come and gently snip and snap and be done with it. But what arrived was a man, in black, with hair that hadn’t seen a comb since the first episode of Full House. And, he looked grumpy. My follicles were fearful.
‘How do you want your hair?’, X-man asked.
‘I’d like it really short’, I squeaked.
‘???’, that’s me, non-verbally.
‘Your face is big. Short hair won’t look good.’
Now, my face is not exactly delicate, but BIG! No, it’s definitely not BIG, sulky-hulky! It’s not! It’s not!
I think he read the agitation in my mind and gently adjusted the mirror. Well, what can I say?
In that darned stylized reflecting surface, my face did look like a Domino’s special.
‘Okay,’, I meekly complied.
Then, Bruno got to work. He removed his skull-ring from the middle finger and stood staring at my nubbin for ten seconds. (Wondering how my BIG head would look on a steel band, I guess.)
‘We have to rinse the hair’, I’m informed.
So we rinse the hair.
Then, he takes a deep breath. And I close my eyes. It has been my experience that when deep breaths are taken at the dentist’s, tailor’s, or hairdresser’s, no good can come of keeping the eyes open.
Ten minutes later, there’s silence.
‘Done’, I’m informed.
Done I am.
My hair looks glossy and shiny like the sea at midnight. There’s a flick that falls partly over my eyes, making them look shy and beckoning. My face looks enchanting – there’s an illusion of cheekbones. The length of my hair grazes my collar-bone, and there’s this hint of drama about the look. I could be Heidi…albeit for an audience that hasn’t read the book.
Sulky-hulky is a genius.
‘This is really nice! Thank you!’, I gush.
He’s putting on his skull ring and ventures a smile.
‘You can make the payment there,’ says Scissorhands. (I did look like Depp-beautified poodle..in a nice way, that is.)
It was raining outside. Thought I’d stop by for some tea – maybe mild and fragrant. But splurged on some that was Long Island and iced instead.