Hair Promise

The joy I experience , eating in road side dhabas, hair cut in barber shops , travelling in buses, in ordinary class in trains once in a while, is beyond one , I get in my comfort zone.  One friend thinks, I am a man of poor taste who will not grow.

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I am in Mandi, to be more precise in Kamand, Himachal on a few weeks stay with my daughter and her family. The rain drenched green hilly picturesque terrain, which gets illuminated by the sun, caressed by pure white clouds is a  spectacular sight  and delight to the heart.

IIT campus, where I am staying is situated in the midst of this phenomenal surroundings and to stroll around at leisure is a blessing.

I had many reminders from my well wishers, for a hair cut . Looking for excuses to postpone a haircut is a practice right from  childhood.. It is still on. Once in the barber shop, I am fine, it is the inertia of the decision that I have to put up with.

If there is an urge for hair cut, it must be Tuesday.

And on that day the barbers have a holiday and the shop is closed. The project gets postponed and  the next date waits. Meanwhile it grow s and grows, making the onlookers uncomfortable.. I did not have any attractive hairstyle (though in childhood, a hopeless attempt of Devanand style),  it was that a lot of them was there capping my head. For  a long time, it was black in colour, when most among my contemporaries had greyed and others lost most of it. A lady friend once could not hold on and asked me upfront  ” which dye, do you use ?”. I hesitated , looked at  her husband’s head and  told her its Godrej. She looked quite relieved.  A lie to make someone happy is a good karma.

My brother-in-law, Gopi says, when you grow old you have to dye (pun intended).


I have taken  my hair on my head for granted and realise its value, when I hear comments from friends and relatives, who had to part with some or most of them. The Sun can almost boil the head, rinsing of  the kerchief  to remove the sweat , rain can play bongo till it hurts, other’s looking for their reflections on some one else’s bald head, bang the head and get a popup, cannot hide a cut and keep batting the question “what happened “ and so on.

Once in the barber shop, even waiting for your turn can be fun, earlier times there were  radio or news paper, today some of them have TV. You need not be part of the conversation, listening itself can get you happy returns of the day. The topic, right from cricket, to corruption to anything is possible. The trigger can be the radio, these days TV, news paper or someone sitting on the bench, who has simply dropped in to say hi to the barber. There may be two or three chairs in action, serving.

I walked up to the village nearby, decided to get the hair cut. Saw a shop, with a board in hindi and one line in English which said Hari Cut. I thought of my friend, Hari Kumar’s hair style. Well, his style did not call for branding like a Dhoni or Ronaldinho style. That was a flash, its a spelling mistake for hair, no big deal, here people do not care for English and it makes no difference to his business. You know, what, the shop is closed. No wonder,  I had the urge for hair cut, it is Tuesday.

However, I walked up the next day, 3 kilo meters and it was open .A two seater, both the chairs had  work in progress, they greet me with a smile and points towards a bench. I interrupted their conversation for 5 seconds and they continued.

They were talking in a local lingo, it’s called mandiyali.
I keep watching the hair falling and resting in piece, in one of the chairs  and my mind travels into a hairy world, googles hair industry.
Hair style, hair do,  hair weave, hair colouring, wigs, and what nots, hair industry is a trillion dollar stuff.

I am sure the hair promise industry, with the help of growth oils and creams, must be handling billions.

Remembered a talk session of Sadhguru, where a lady asks him , why do Sadhus grow hair and beard. His reply was why do you remove them. It’s nature’s gift, why should you cut them, it is there for a purpose like all other parts.

A thought ,  what about our nails on our hands and feet ?

My turn , the barber beats the chair with a towel  three times and turns it quarter  circle and tells me with a smile, come. I loved it.

His boss tells me, he is new, knows his job.

I said, I have no issues and allowed him to do his internship on my head, with nothing to lose, except my hair.
This time, I did not understand their conversation because of the lingo, until towards the end, a guy walks in and in Hariyanvi language asks his barber friend, I heard adhaar card will affect our private parts ( that particular word in English ). Ke h private part (what is private part).
The barber friend could not tell him.
I took the opportunity to pitch in. It is privacy, in Hindi, it is gopiniyatha. You have to worry only if you have any secrets. Government can know your bank balance,  property details and track all your activities. Don’t involve in any shady deals, no problem.
Shall I give you a massage, he asked me after the haircut. Ok, I said. What oil, navrathna or mustard ? Looked up and around, did not know what to say, when the boss ordered, navrathan. He worked on my head, hands ,shoulder and neck. At the end, I asked him how much ? He said  seventy rupees. I gave him a hundred, thanked him and told him to keep the change. He was charging me for the haircut and massage, missed on the joy part.
I flew back home, feeling light.

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Grateful for the love and respect received so far. Inspire, motivate and enable anybody to achieve their limitless limits-that is my goal for the rest of my life. Worked in MECON, Mphasis, Cofounder KelpHR,

Categories Uncategorized15 Comments

15 thoughts on “Hair Promise”

  1. Very well written. Hari Kumar ka hairstyle is pure not letting people decide on his behalf. Barber – uncle short kardoon? Hari Kumar becomes Galib n says ” Jo Mar Raha hai usse maarna nahi chahiye, Jo Mar Raha hai usse maarna nahi chahiye, AUR Jo gir Raha hai usse kaatna nahi chahiye. Upar SE trim karo not more than 10 mins I will spend. Fata fat khatam karo” what is this syndrome called?

  2. I think I must change my name to HAIRI Kumar…
    My almost 40 yes of affair with Beard would justify that…
    Yes my Hair style is so natural after all I cut once in an year or so…
    I have never understood why at all any one should cut the Hair, well I stopped looking for an answer ever since I started “growing” beard n started trimming regularly… (Thank you PHILIPS)
    There is another reason for my not harassing my Hair…
    Jo Mar Raha Hai Use Maarna Kya Jaroori Hai…….
    Jo Gir Raha Hai Use Kaatna Kya Jaroori Hai…….
    BTW, Cheers to your Himalayan Hairy Adventure…

    1. Ur love affair with Pune always made me feel this Man will be the next Osho. Anyways now you have new competetion Sadguru. Superb talks, writing and looks….:) 🙂

  3. I always fancied the army cut. Trim an short. Nothing too fancy. But the barbershop’s I’ve visited so far never complied to my request. They just don’t get my idea. ~~~~ Hairy Harried Harry

  4. Dear Menon,
    Nice witty stuff which is your real strong area. I was reminded of the first Asterix comics we enjoyed where the druid gives the Romans a potion for hair growth. The dialogues are superb. I checked up the soft copy I had.
    Hope you remember this issue which had Caligula Minus as the spy and Chrismus Bonus as the Roman General. The following lines are just to brush up your memories.
    “The Gauls have caught us by short hairs”
    “Let’s talk. Not split any hairs”
    “They will beard us in our own tent.”
    “This talk will bristle with difficulties.”
    “Keep your hair on.”
    “Getafix is sometimes hare brained.”
    “All those hairs in the soup…… and so on.”
    Thank you for giving me nostalgic memories of mecon days and also my missing hair.

    1. Believe it, while writing this, Ihad the druid’s image and the roman’s tripping over their beard and I was wondering how to bring in some of the stuffs in the pthe. You have completed the blog post for me

  5. Read the article. Great. It prompted me to write a few of my thoughts.
    Personally, I too hate going to barber shop. There are at least a few times I went to the place intentionally on a Tuesday (here in Kerala, all of them close for their weekly off) so that it gets postponed by a day.
    I also remember the barbers in Vasant Vihar Purvi Marg without shop, where I really loved to go, sit on his broken chair, facing a tree on which he has fixed a mirror, while he does the merciless act. There was on guy outside the IGNOU gate who inspired me almost always when I went past the place, but never went to him.
    I also remember the free haircut we students used to enjoy at the college of hair dressers in Toulouse, where on every Wednesday they used to have practicals. Of course, we had to book in advance, when it clicked sometimes, and I had a great hair cut in style, at the hands of student barbers under supervision of their professors.

    1. Believe it, while writing this, Ihad the druid’s image and the roman’s tripping over their beard and I was wondering how to bring in some of the stuffs in the pthe. You have completed the blog post for me

  6. Dear Menon,
    You have tingled my scalp with your
    “hairware”. Gradually, your writing style is approaching that of R.K. Narayan.

    Here is So, my reflection.

    In 60’s, “Hair cutting saloons” were glamorous places for both young and old people. The reasons were:
    1. They had large mirrors 6’x3’ on opposite sides of the wall. This helps one to see infinite number of front and back images. At home, the size reduces to inches. One can enjoy his beauty wholly.
    2. 10 to 15 magazines to read which you cannot afford at home.
    3. The exotic talcum powders, the barber uses to dust your hair before and after the cut.
    4. Heavily cushioned revolving arm chair with head and foot rest.
    5. The “lori” you hear while the cutting is on.
    6. Finally, the healing shoulder, back and scalp massage followed by careful but sudden “head twist”.
    What a great combo offer. No doubt, I waited for the Sunday every month in my childhood.

    In 1970, I had the opportunity to meet G.D. Naidu, an industrialist of Coimbatore. During a long discussion, he explained how much money we are wasting in our lifetime by going to hair cutting saloons regularly. The next 20 years, I never had a haircut outside. It was at home by self.

    Now, I rarely have haircut as the area of my face increased. It takes hardly 3 minutes.

    Expecting more such stories from you,


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