Salon Salvation


One of life’s many mundane tasks is going to a beauty salon. And by task I mean an ordeal. You have to allot a specific part of your weekend, book an appointment and be mentally prepared. If you don’t do this, you have to be ready to look like a primate that you were meant to be. I would say it is my family and my real friends who have been with me through all my eyebrow stages -through thick and thin. (Source: Pinterest)

But a visit to the beauty parlor can inspire observations both outside and inside. While waiting for my turn, or during my haircut I can channelize my thoughts to something sublime and productive. I sometimes make a to-do list or just be in a statuesque state. As for outside observations, they are aplenty.

My first memory of a haircut dates back to when I was of the age of 5 or 6. I remember my haircut was “boycut” and I got it done at the salon my dad visited. This old memory is still etched in my mind because it involves certain amount of gore – cut, blood and bandages! It was a Sunday evening, and my dad and I went to the salon. He was on a constant lookout, on the way, he kept reminding me to follow the barber ‘s instructions and to be careful, else I will get cut. You see the overprotective father that he is, he foresaw an incident and maintained a relentless flow of commands during the process. Obviously, like always that had the opposite effect on me, I got more nervous and instead of being more cautious, I kept fidgeting and writhing. I was not able to bow down my head completely, the barber had to push it down. Snip! Fidget! Snip!  and slash! there was the cut! The barber had cut himself! While the barber assured us it was nothing and washed his hands and applied a bandage, I breathed a sigh of relief that it wasn’t me who had got cut. Though outwardly I apologized.

Well, getting a haircut still inspires tension. I remember on one of my much later visit, a hairdresser had reprimanded me, commanding to be still and sit upright.

Then they are these other beauticians who master the balancing act of threading and talking. I remember how with the thread in her mouth she will ask my mom, How is your kid’s school going on? Has she joined tuition? How are the classes? What happened to the maid? How are you planning the vacation?

Then there are those who act preachy and advise on what to use for betterment of my hair, my skin, my face, well my very whole being!

You would think I would like those who do not speak at all or speak in a foreign language. No ways! I remember the horror! When I was in Mysore, the beautician and I had to talk in mime language. She didn’t understand Hindi and English and I didn’t understand Kannanda. It was stressful, how would I communicate if I cannot sustain the temperature of the wax she uses!  And it did occur during the course of my visit, I really appreciate that there are other forms of communication that a human understands.

It’s not always that I dislike the chatter. There was a beautician who had an inspiring story of how she worked on her own to build the salon after her husband expired, yet another where the woman had to stand on her own after estrangement with her family. Stories of women earning to support their family.

The beauty salons in India are present in both forms unorganized and organised. The organised will guarantee a well scheduled appointment and add an experience bit – by experience I mean make the whole ordeal more relaxing and more pampering. These are usually where you have to shell out three to five times of what you would have coughed up otherwise. While the unorganized ones have all the stories and memories.













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