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.
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.