I have always loved evading crowds. Seldom does it work on the roads on the way to the office, but otherwise I hate crowds and will go to the extent of giving an arm and leg to not crowd in a crowd.
And that is exactly the reason why I don’t go for a haircut on weekends. Not only are all the salon chairs full, but all the chairs in the waiting area are too. There are people queuing for a chair in the waiting area behind the people queuing for a chair with the hairdresser.
That day too was a dismal day in my records of evading the crowd. The barbershop/ salon/ saloon/ hairdresser whatever your part of the world calls it, was full. 5 chairs were occupied and all the seats in the waiting area were too. I was the lone one standing. Signalling the crowd on the sofa to scooch a bit, I sat.
To talk about my salon, it is an old world shop which prides in its regular customers. With my 3 year bond with them, they were familiar faces for me and knew what exactly had to be done to my colossal head. This was an old time shop who never ceded to the beats of English songs but would either entice you by playing nostalgic Bollywood songs or would test your patience by playing some dubbed Bollywood movie.
So back to today, everyone who was not on the salon chair was glued on to the 5 inches in front of them, swiping and sliding to get that panache moment, but never getting to it.
The ingress and egress from the barber chairs continued like clockwork, no one cutting the line, everyone was in a hurry yet no one hastened the flow.
And then my turn came. And I was assigned to a new guy- (he was just another guy who had never ever cut my hair)
The haircut and beard trim went fine. My usual routine of head massage and face scrub was the one that was eventful and even today, sends shivers down my spine.
Like a potter moulding clay, his hands went all over my hair. That monstrosity of a human being had squished and squirmed my skull. I could hear my cranial bones pleading to me in anguish while each of his arm movement let out a creak, a squeal and a howl from the head.
After he ensured that oil had seeped as deep as my medulla oblongata, he tried straightening my spine. What started slowly had escalated to full-blown punches. I was in half a mind to sue him for physical torture.
Once that self-imposed torture was over, he started off with my face scrub. He started off with a moderate pace over the contours of my face with a cream. Once the almond scrub was out of the pack, he again started to show his true colours. I could bet my face was two tones fairer by the time he was done. Or was it just a mirage due to the lightheadedness he had gifted me a while ago.
But something wonderful did emerge from this ordeal. My deviated nasal septum, after all the torture it subjected to, became less deviated making my breathing a less laborious affair.
Walking back to the place a month later, breathing better yet shivering a bit, I really did let out a sigh of relief not seeing him. My usual guy did his usual thing and got him usual pay and an unusual tip, all just like clockwork.