It's summer in chennai...and the heat waves started as early as Jan.. International Society for Irrelevant Findings and Research located at Germany has come up with the new theory that being subject to intense heat wave can have adverse effect on a person's memory power.. maybe that explains y i have been so dormant in coming up with new posts.
Summer used to be such a nice time in Kerala where i spent my growing years - time for mangoes, watermelons n Jawahar Balabhavans. It used to be the time when year after year my parents discovered how grossly underpaid the primary & secondary school teachers were. Quite a few times, they had tried sending me off to my aunt's place. Then fear of being disowned by close relatives led to an exponential decrease in the duration of stay..
I guess my deep inclination towards scientific experiments had an effect as well. I vaguely remember emptying bottles of tonics, powdered tablets,capsules, talcum powder, chilli powder etc. into the community well to see if the taste of water changes.. At some point of time, when i was much into developing my culinary skills, i had even tried to improve the crunchiness of dosas n chutneys by sprinkling a handful of sand over it. then there was the love for adventure sports - climbing trees, stealing mangoes, cashew nuts (from the neighbour's yard), fishing (neighbour's pond) & picking up fights. I was the uncrowned queen of tummybiting - my success-gauranteed tactic of winning any fights. Thus i grew up - darling of the masses..
Summer was also the time of the annual haircut.. when my mom would mercilessly drag me n my sis to a barber shop (not even a decent beauty parlor until we were about 12 or so) n ask the guy at the counter for "two Boycut please". I used to close my eyes, tears running down my chubby cheeks while the barber snipped off my cowslips n tresses. All those hindi film heroines with long tresses that the heros never get tired of caressing will flick through my mind adding to the agony. once my sis had seriously tried running away from home after such a hair cut. (i gave her my 5 bucks for the bus fare..) But unfortunately, the plan was discovered & the 5 rupee note confiscated.
Parents are so fickle minded, i say.. the same stuff they wanted us to do or not do in childhood..they reverse their stand when u reach maturity (ok..reaching maturity is too much to ask for in my case..i'll rephrase that to 'when u are outta childhood'). They wanted me to eat well when i was a kid, now it is "do u know that it is ur 5th laddoo???" even as i just hungrily eye the lone laddoo.. they wanted me to let go off my mom's pallu n talk to people when in a gathering. now they explain the neccesity of giving other's some time to atleast respond... Being a couch potato & not going out to play with friends was frowned up...the same way they frown on me spending too much time with friends now... same is the case with length of hair. When it used to be ubiquituous 'boy cut' during my primary school years ; the emphasis is now on 'grow as long as you can' hair. This to the extent that my mom complains of having high BP when i talk of getting my hair trimmed...parents..parents..tsk.tsk.. When do i figure them out?
One way i get around this is to change the style of the cut without changing the length much.. Hardly a difference to the casual observer (which includes a vast majority of the male population). But this time it was a different story altogether..
I am sitting in the parlor chair all caped up while the chingee looking hairdresser sprays what smells like pesticide on my hair. I have explained to her the absolute importance of retaining the length n she replies in a language which i believe resembles English. The operation starts. each n every strand of my hair is combed, re-combed, compared against other strands, cut, combed, re-combed and cut again. the process lasts for about 1 hr. i dont know if i had dozed off in the midst, coz the next thing i remember is she telling me "so how do u like it?".. i see in the mirror that she held out very expectantly towards me - the same style that i had before - albeit in a miniature form. she had happily chopped off 4 inches of my oiled-groomed-shampooed-conditioned effort. "Nice" - i say thru clenched teeth..
I just wanna get outta there.. I run to the counter, ask for the bill.. the lady at the counter asks me "do u like the hair cut?".. i say "bill please".. she says "Oh..u look really nice in that"..i am almost in tears. The bill comes to 500 bucks.. no comments..
Back in college... i fish for compliments.. i leave my hair open, swish it around like a horse's tail when it trots...nobody notices.. finally someone asks me "Oh.. you have colored ur hair.??"
I think i will have BP tablets with me the next time i go home to see my mom.