Illusions are meant to be shattered

On Halloween, I decided to tone down the scariness and get myself a haircut. I have been blessed by hair that is absolutely unmanageable when longer than 2 inches, which has been compared by my aunt to a nylon floor mat. And she was being nice. So getting a haircut is a chore that is not very tolerant to the usual procrastination.

And thus I found myself walking to the hair cutting place just outside campus at 5:30 on Friday. Weekends being sacrosanct in the land of the free, no self respecting establishment would be open. But the fact that it was after 5 in the evening made it quite possible that my long walk would be for nothing and I would have to plod my way back with the mop on my head intact.

Things turned out better than I hoped. The last time I had been there, they had been planning a renovation and it was complete. Very nice indeed. Apparently, in a bid to actually pay for those renovations, they had decided to keep the place open on weekends too (and raised prices by a dollar, but then who hasn't). But better than that, they were open till 6, which meant that I could potentially go home light headed and free. The problem was the two people in the chairs and the two people waiting their turn. But the guy told me not to worry, they'll close after finishing with me. So I waited my turn outside and spent that half hour in a most pleasant manner, something I had almost forgotten. But that is not where the tale is headed.

I must reveal at this point that the reason most guys go this certain place outside campus is the prospect of having Danielle run her fingers gently through your hair, which has its attractions. Sharply contrasting with the on-campus hairdresser where you face a Rastafarian guy attacking you with clippers while bhangra music plays in the background (I kid you not). Men who have never paid more than Rs. 20 for a haircut and are morally against all forms of tips have returned with gelled spiky hair, misty eyes and wallets a couple of dollars lighter than the necessary 15. The reason why Chandler mouthed 'Oh my God!' when Kathy was trimming his hair becomes crystal clear as the shampoo is gently but firmly massaged into your hair.

Among one of my many social failings is a total lack of the ability to make small talk with random people. This was no different. I sat there in stony silence while she went to work. Then out of the blue ....

D: So, you heading out to any Halloween party?

A: (surprised) Nah. No parties. Have work to do.

D: You are doing Electrical Engineering, aren't you?

A: (barely masking :-o) You remember me?

D: Of course I do.

A: (smug look coupled with usual loss of words)

(couple of minutes pass by)

A: How about you?

D: huh?

A: Are you going to any party?

D: Oh no... I'm going to stay at home, put out candy for the neighborhood kids.

A: Oh.

D: My son and his dad are going though. He's dressed as the Hulk.

A: Oh.

(cue sounds of shattering glass or, like in recent bollywood fare - a flush)

A: (forced smile)

The forced smile stayed in place even as I shelled out the 2 dollars tip and trudged home with a heavy, broken heart.


Malavika said...

In typical southie sound "ayyyyyayyo,paaapam"

Akshay said...


mak said...

i know exactly what you mean...
for the same 'oh my god' experience, i shelled out 25 Euro (even with the inhouse discount) at a Freisure downstairs (Dolby is located in KP of Nbg, thats why the high prices). but was worth every penny...err... euro cent!
only thing that differs is, for me, striking up a conversation is easy. it has been an yr, 6 haircuts, and we still talk about me being new to the town. time orientation is not her forte i guess. yes, she is a blond.

Akshay said...

Well, you were always smooth with the ladies, no doubt about that.

But its good that you go so frequently ... because at the current rate of deforestation, who knows when will it be the last .. :P

mak said...

maybe she did not actually remember you... since you said you had to work, she assumed that you must be leading the sad life of a student of electrical engg!

there... i spoiled your smug as well!

Akshay said...


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