Every few months, I look at the mirror, thinking to myself that I deserve to look better. Since the
anti-wrinkle youth enhancing creams were not helping much, and I was quite bored during the spring break, I decided to get a haircut. Now the problem of getting a haircut is two-fold. First, I am so myopic that I wouldn’t notice an elephant in the room without my glasses. Second, no one chops your hair as if a hungry famine-stricken rat just fed on your hair. When they do it, they “set it” and “style it” in such a way that you don’t realize disaster has struck till you get home and wash your hair. So the other day when I decided I was bored, haircut deprived for 5 months, and two days away from three Bong parties where I needed to show off my beauty, I thought it is a good idea to get a makeover.
While the lady at the salon shampooed my hair, I almost fell asleep, so relaxing it felt. She woke me up and asked me what kind of cut I wanted. I asked her to chop it by a few inches, still holding on to my original hair style that the lady in Shyambazar gave me last year. I should have suspected trouble from the way she sweetly cooed and called me “honey”. Soon my glasses were gone, and all I heard was snip snip. Soon I was half asleep, half awake in la-la-land. The snip snip continued, moving my swivel chair this way and that way. The snip snip was soon followed by a wrrrr wrrr wrrrr. Hot air blew all over my face, waking me up from my slumber. I should have realized, it was the “welcome back to reality, Miss. Rat-ate-you-hair” call. If she turned my chair this way and that way during the haircut, she did it ten times more now. My swivel chair swiveled like Madan Chopra’s chair did in Baazigar while Vicky Malhotra fantasized about his “I-thought-it-sucked-big-time” revenge plan. The little of what was left of my hair flew all over my face. When the wrrr-ing stopped, my glasses were shoved back to me, a mirror held behind my head. Honestly, it was cut so short that it looked like a lawn mower accident. Something looked very wrong about the way I looked, but I could not really point to what it was. My hair was set so well that if you got me some fancy clothes, I’d be ready to parade around the streets of Paris like a fashionista. She must have seen me frown, for she promptly added some “you have lovely, luscious, voluminous hair” type compliments. She even said I looked a lot younger now. I was sold.
I came home happy, went to sleep, and washed my hair the next day. Disaster struck. I looked at myself and couldn’t figure out what kind of cut she had given me. Strands of hair stuck out like bovine horns by my ears. If I parted it left or right, I would have to tilt my head at an angle of 45 degrees in that direction to make sure the hair stayed at the right place. It was so short that I could no longer tie it all up to hide the actual style. From letting my hair down, my hair had let me down. Before the parties, I spent 30 minutes blow drying it and straightening it, which is a record given that I never use such fancy stuff. Yet nothing could salvage the rodent-infested field my head looked like, as if someone had used hand saws instead of scissors. Imagine, a fancy dress, good makeup, and a crop of hay stack on my head; that is exactly what I looked like. Ever since, I decided not to go to parties until my hair grew back. I decided to make use of my caps or dupattas as much as I could. I try oiling it more than I have ever done to make it sit in place, reminding me of the bumpkin with the hair oil factory in Jajau (The inscrutable Americans by Anurag Mathur). When I wake up every morning, I look as if a cyclone hit my head. I look at myself in the bathroom mirror, twist and turn wisps of hair this way and that way, but nothing works. There is nothing more helpless than looking at your newly chopped off hair, knowing that it will take months before you can get rid of the joker look and look your old normal self again. Honestly, Indian salons give a far superior haircut than salons here. So while my hair continues to grow in nanometers every day, I have no option but to pretend that this rodent-fed field of a haircut is the latest in vogue.