hair today, more tomorrow

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.


    • Thank you, Kate. I love getting my haircut. It is so relaxing. This one was a little funny though, but after a proper blow dry, it seems OK.๐Ÿ™‚

  1. To echo your hairstylist, yes, Banno, you should really oil your hair – I’m remembering this lovely 17-year-old telling a beauty columnist, all she did was use almond oil on her hair – ample, long choti she had. I don’t know how you’ll find the time, but you must – you may have to make a `deep hair conditioning’ appointment once every two weeks, perhaps?

    Speaking of my `crowning glory’, it’s forgotten to grow after a donation in 2007. It did well after the ’06 giveaway and was an incentive to take real good care of it so I could donate it for as long as possible. Now I don’t know any more. But yes, I do use almond oil and do the once-a-week sesame oil hair wash, so do my girls.

    • Desi-at-large, I must get back to oiling my hair. I don’t know why I abandoned the practice. All those years my mother put in oiling our hair regularly.๐Ÿ™‚

      What do you mean by donation? Do you give away your hair? To whom?

      And what is a sesame oil hair wash?

      • Oh, there’s an organization called `Locks of Love’ in the US, which makes wigs and hairpieces for cancer patients (little children, especially). My girls donated too, but I sensed they loved their long hair and wanted to keep it for as long as possible, so I don’t ask them, they have to come tell me that they’re ready to do so.
        Warm sesame oil in a little pan (enough for hair and what’s left, use on skin) – tiny pinch of salt, black pepper and jeera powder – oil hair and let sit for 20 minutes at least – wash off with decent shampoo (my mother used kanji and shikakai powder to get the oil off my hair in those days and I would use a bit of shampoo after that, just to make sure). Aritha, soaked in warm water overnight is hair magic, but it’s a lot of hard work – if you could get a hairstylist to wash your oiled hair with aritha, you’ve got it made! Yes, and please oil hair, like mother did for you. I mucked around a bit with Brylcreem, Keo Karpin, Livonia? – no point.

        • That is a lovely idea, ‘Locks of Love’. Wish they had something similar here.

          The sesame oil hair wash sounds good, will definitely try it out.

          Yes, I guess, it has to be back to hair oil.๐Ÿ™‚

  2. This sounds so pleasant – a far cry from the experts with their constant criticisms of one’s hair/hands/feet/flab etc. And yes, hair will grow๐Ÿ™‚

    • Dipali, I know, it’s just so silly the way most beauty salons make you pay a whole lot of money, and yet you come out feeling so bad about yourself. Even if a part of you knows it’s all a spiel to sell products or treatments, you still feel self-conscious.

  3. Oh Banno.. that is exactly how I feel about small salons. The big ones make me feel really conscious. I always come back with loads of advice on how I should treat my hair better and yes, that I should use a sunscreen, I feel the cosmetic companies pay them a commission. You are right, hair grows back – ghar ki kheti!

    • Violet, most service industries these days seem to make you shell out money to make you feel bad about yourself. Weird. My hairdresser of years, Ali, who has sadly shifted to Uganda, told us that the salons really make their money on the products they sell. Haircuts and hair treatments are only fringe earnings.

      Anyway, my hair usually looks just about the same whatever anyone does to it, so I don’t get bothered too much.๐Ÿ™‚

  4. its hair, it will grow, is my mantra as well. have used it many a times when i ended up getting a disaster hair cut or treatment. i am uncomfortable in fancy salons….id rather get my haircut in a similar place. for a long time, i went to a barber who charge Rs. 10 for a chop with sideburns and all. loved it until i became an adult and things got complicated๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Sukanya, I think we’ve all grown up with barber hair cuts. I know my parents were horrified at the prices when I started going to a ‘proper’ salon.๐Ÿ™‚

  5. My favorite salon experience ever was in India (forgive me if I’ve posted this before), when I asked for my hair to be straightened in Pune and they used a Black & Decker steam iron to do it๐Ÿ™‚ Was extremely straight for days after that!!!!

  6. I started to read your post and I was thinking why didn’t she asked our favorite hairdresser? Until I realized that you were in Bangalore and not in Mumbai. I won’t come on purpose to Mumbai, but surely, I shall have my hair cut there. Meanwhile, I’ll let it grow like you.

  7. Lovely post! Love your style. Any sane newspaper editor would offer you a column!

    “โ€œYou have a nice face. If you have a nice face, any haircut looks nice on you.โ€”
    That is what I tell myself after I cut my hair and discover still some long hair on my head

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