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Monday 12 December 2011

A haircut and a close shave


A regular haircut is an ordinary affair for most men but it wasn't for me. As a young boy, the first time I got to visit a salon alone and returned home all excited, my mother disapproved. She thought the barber had done a poor job and I was forced to go back to the salon to get my hair re-done. Being a mama’s boy, I obliged.
As I grew older, I realised that I had got used to the habit of keeping very short hair. So much so that it started resembling an `Army' haircut. 
But worse was in store. After attending an interview for a Bank in a city in Kerala, I ventured out in the evening and asked an auto driver to take me to the place where smuggled goods are sold. I wanted to buy a Sony walkman, which in the early nineties was a much sought after gadget for all music lovers. 
The driver knew Hindi and we started chatting. I had no idea which part of the city he took me to. Finally, the journey ended and the driver pointing out to an ‘adda’ (location) said “udhar aapko mil jayega (this is the place where you will get it).”
As I approached and entered the shady structure, that looked like one of Ram Gopal Varma's locations, I adjusted my short hair, that I assumed would have got messed up with all the wind, travelling in the autorickshaw. 
To my shock, in a matter of few minutes, the inmates had held me captive. They spoke and understood only Malayalam and the only thing I understood from sign language was that they won't let me go. 
For a moment, I thought they are not letting me go because I didn’t buy any item. But even I did, I wasn't a free man. I finally somehow convinced them to call the autodriver, who was waiting for me. 
A brief conversation between the auto-driver and the inmates was followed by huge bursts of laughter. I became less nervous. The auto-driver put his hand on my shoulder and said “Saab, aapke baal dekh kar yeh tumko police ka aadmi samjha (looking at your hair, they thought you are a policeman.)”
I laughed on my way back to the hotel and gave the small item that I purchased in the shop as a gift to the auto-driver.

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