Hair today, gone tomorrow!

Hair today, gone tomorrow!

Representative image.

Recently, I watched two movies that dealt with the travails of young men with balding pates-- “Ujda Chaman” and its original Kannada version “Ondu Motteya Kathe”.

Luckily for me, even in my advanced years, I require to take my mandatory visits to my favourite haircutting salon every two months. It is something I have been looking forward to for decades as interaction with one’s barber is an enlightening and information-filled experience. In fact, even Dagwood Bumstead is shown having a love-hate relationship with his barber.

As a youngster in Mysore, our neighbourhood barber, Shivaram, claimed that he used to be the Palace barber earlier. Whether it was true or not was hard to tell but the royal gossip he dished out was entertaining. Unfortunately, my hair was cut by his son as I had not yet reached a status of eminence to be handled by the senior man.

My school-boy days in Delhi were different. The barber, a refugee from Burma of yore, would come home. A chair would be kept out in our back lawn and my mother would give one old white bedsheet to be used to cover me. For the grand sum of eight annas (50 paise), under instructions from my father and sulking protest from me, the barber would let himself go with his clipper and scissors. Many years later I actually understood the term “looked like a plucked chicken”.

As my financial status moved up and seduced by the enticing advertisements, I fell prey to what is referred to as value-added services at a salon. A small beginning was made with a head massage (using the same strong-smelling oil promoted by The AB and Govinda). Later, I graduated to a steam face massage and finally to a facial. Obviously, the bill cut a big hole in my pocket.

I continued with this extravaganza after my retirement. However, with the sinking returns from my investments and with general economic slowdown I had to be more pragmatic on “non-essential” expenditure. That is when I realised that I was not the only one. I did a survey at various salons and came out with a report grandiosely titled “The Salon Index: Why economists need to study hair-cutting salons’ performance to judge the economy of a country.”

Today, I am in a psychologically comfortable zone. Most of my gang members look like the typical grandfathers shown in TV commercials: pleasant looking, sitting on a bench in a park…but mostly bald! I, of course, gloat about my necessary visits to my favourite hair cutting salon. A hirsute brownie point!