Monday, July 13, 2009


"My tools leaped, bouncing off the wiry coils of hair," recounted Sanju, my barber, referring to a shaggy head he tackled during the hippie era. "Yet, two hours and two twisted scissors later, I could subdue the shrubbery. But the end of the 'harvest' saw my salon crawling with colonies of dispossessed lice, ticks and bugs besides a baby centipede. He was exaggerating, of course, as is the wont of men of his tribe. But I kept mum letting him get on with my haircut.

"Then came the age of inverted pots," Sanju pressed on, spreading his tonsorial wisdom. "A generation of youth went around with their shaven heads glistening in the sun like leaky oil cans. Once sitting in the balcony of a cinema, I saw the screen images in full reflected over a sea of tonsured heads in the stalls - a kind of 'cranioscope' instead of the CinemaScope." Ignoring Sanju's wild imagination, I just said, "Uh-huh."

I thought of the current crop of cutting-edge-technology kids with their chisel 'n' mallet hairdos. Their hair styles mostly resemble leftovers of a dinner devoured by ravenous moths. A young bloke once told me irreverently that the parallel tracks carved out on the side of his head were for the lice to go on their morning walks!

"But, of all the weird hair styles, the pilot cut of yore was the hairiest," carried on Sanju wistfully. I squirmed in my chair. His allusion to the 'pilot cut' reopened an old wound transporting me to the mid-sixties.

Let me explain what pilot cut is all about. It entailed medium-clipped hair over the rear two thirds of the head blending into a long thick mop in front which was brushed sideways with a short parting. Unfortunately, as a 12-year old lad, my experiment with the pilot cut ended in a 'crop failure'. The then barber of mine, a wily old fox, chopped the hair on the rear of my head down to the scalp leaving a long bushy shock in front. The net effect was I looked like a bald ostrich with a frontal tuft.

But unlike the proverbial ostrich, I did not hide my head in sand till the status quo ante was restored(for being young and uninitiated, I was oblivious to the fact that the barber had created a monstrosity on my top). I attended a wedding where a rough-neck kept stroking my head with a feigned awe as if it were a rare meteorite rock. A thug tugged at my forelock causing me to howl in pain.

Then I felt that someone was playing tabla on my head. It was Sanju starting his customary head massage and waking me up from my trance. "Shall I give your hair the porcupine finish, sir?" he asked, making my hair stand curl. I answered in the negative not daring to shake my head lest he carved a 'lice track' on my head.

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Catachresis said...

Thanks for stopping by and actually posting a comment! Very brave of you lol. I read cat-alytic conversion and am now wondering if you should call your blog Pun Doctor! made me chuckle. Sorry you don't like cats though, but maybe you'd like them better one at a time !!


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