This time, it was called Aaina and not Affinity.

It was not in a mall, but on a terrace.

The walls were hot pink, and the mirrors, art-deco-ish.

There were no men around, except for the owner pottering around anxiously, sometimes near the lift on the ground floor, sometimes on the terrace.

There was minimum fuss and minimum talking, only the serious business of waxing armpits, threading mustaches, cleaning toe nails, goop-pasting faces and chopping hair all in the same, smallish room.

Mamata, who was around my age, did not look at me disapprovingly, but was eager to win my approval.

She did not pick up my hair and sniff condescendingly.

She did not suggest any new styles.

She said all I needed was a trim.

She said my hair was dry because of the colouring, why did I not oil it? She did not recommend any branded products.

She did not really know how to cut hair, not in the latest fashion, she bobbed around my face, with approximations of length measures.

She broke the hand mirror before she could show me the back of my head, and giggled as she picked up the pieces.

She said, “You have a nice face. If you have a nice face, any haircut looks nice on you.”

I did not get the best haircut I’ve ever had, but I came away feeling pleased.

It’s hair, it will grow.