Sunday, December 20, 2009

Short or Medium??

Getting my hair cut, is usually a self decision. Although it starts off with Amma very subtly pointing out my not-so-subtle mane growth, it is a self decision.

Some days of resistance and convincing, of the need to be different, or the attempt at a new style, follow, but a look in the mirror convinces me that its time.

After the undertaking, comes the actual visit to the Salon. The Salon, mind you, not any other salon. The search for the Salon is a long, enduring and a challenging journey guaranteed to make you hair stand on end, with its endless traps and trickery. Loud mouthed barbers and unchanged blades are the prime villains among others. This is certainly not for the bald pated.

Now to those who naively question the search for the Salon, like" Pah what’s the big deal in choosing barber and all? It’s the same scissor and same half broken talcum powder box, no?” I curse them to visit Unisex salons and pay exorbitant prices for hair-styling+marriage-fairness-face-pack+ear-cleaning packages for the rest of their condemned lives.

"Kanna, My hair growth is self-regulated and changes with the different characters, i portray. Hope Balakrishnan doesn't mind..."

Its a different mane game altogether. Its needs patience, diligence and a keen eye. From my experience of having it done at 4 different places before settling down to the current one, the following factors should be looked out for:

1) Ambience: Plush interiors with Gillette shaving cream cans on the shelf, translates to one thing alone. The hair dresser is unskilled, so he is banking on the brands to lure you. Beware of such fellows, for you will be charged Rs.20 more than area average to refill the Gillette can, and end up with a bad hair style for your friends to laugh at. This doesn't mean that you visit shady ones with misspelt boards, but try to find a compromise. For example, the place which has a good balance of imitation and genuine products must seal the deal.

2) Magazines/ Newspapers: Although this might sound trivial, it really hits you when you have a dog eared copy of Star Dust of February 1993 with a Ravenous Raveena Tandon on the cover for company, while you wait your turn. A recent edition of the same or a respected newspaper at the very least, (if not The Hindu) should be present.

3) Television: Everybody wants to know how Claudia is faring in Bigg Boss or the formation of Telengana from the idiot box, barbers included. Even though you might enjoy the occasional Dr.Raj songs while getting your hair cut, the attention of the barber is not on you. With small cuts behind the ear and the nape, i stand as testimony against these fellows. Therefore radio is the only contraption of entertainment that he can possess. With Docomo ads being aired every other minute, he will be fully involved in giving you the best hair cut.

4)The after hair-cut "plz-sir-it-will-relax-you" head massage: The snip snap is done. You feel light in the head and the barber starts right away with the massage, without registering your protest. The karate chops land on your scalp with increasing rapidity and angle variation, leaving you to regret the oncoming headache. Its like paying to watch 2012. A sorry state of affairs.... So find the one, who understands your predicament or the one who massages in the true sense of the word.

After these important factors are taken care off and the list of potential hairstylists have come down to a handful, only then can you start insisting upon hygiene, voluntary change of blade for the straight razor etcetera.

 "No Hair Cut, No Cry..."

The salon that I visit, is one of those not-so-flashy ones and yet well-to-do. It’s minimal, with the right balance of products as mentioned before. The owner of the shop is unobtrusive and a gentleman. We exchange pleasantries and local gossip, while he tries hard to come up with a decent hairstyle that suits my odd shaped head. That I chose to go on Tuesday helps, because the superstitious types don't believe in letting their hair down on this inauspicious day. This saves the effort of having to read through his reasonable magazine collection, as I am served straightaway.
I mention "Medium", to the query, “Medium or Short?” and settle down, for him take over. The blade for the straight razor is voluntarily changed, which makes me feel content, on having made the right choice. The haircut is done, so is the customary massage, the sprinkling of powder (whose logo-design seems familiar but not the brand), the brushing of the residual hair and the admiration of the new style at different angles in front of the mirror.

The Salon is an important place in a man’s life. When the mundane things in life like shaving and dyeing one's hair, is being performed by an expert on you, who wouldn't feel pampered? And besides, which other place offers you the thrill of playing around with the elders back home, by threatening to touch something before the bath…??