Monday, October 06, 2003

Hirsute Pursuits

To use a very bad pun, I had a hair-raising experience at the beauty salon yesterday.

I had gone for my bi-monthly hair trim to this parlour that I’ve been frequenting for 11 years now. R, the lady who runs it, is quite competent and very reasonable too. Since I’m not one to experiment with styles and hues, I ask for the same cut with just a variation or two.

So, yesterday in the middle of the snip routine, we got around to the exorbitant rates that some parlours charge. ‘Can you imagine paying Rs. 800 for just a regular hair trim?’, I asked a little self-righteously. I expected she’d have something to add about the unjustified cost too. On the contrary, I found her springing to the defence of the hair divas. What you don’t realise, she chastised me, is that you’re paying for more than just the ambience and the name.

And that’s when she dropped the bombshell. ‘Take this scissors for instance’, she said halting her efforts at carving my wild curls into a chic bob. My untrained eye saw a pair of metal scissors. ‘This piece alone costs 20,000 rupees’. My jaw plummeted to the hair strewn floor. Twenty thousand, I coughed. Twenty, with three chubby zeroes following it???

Wha-how-whe-…. The questions came out in a rush. She picked a lopped off lock from my shoulder and demonstrated. The hair snipped though it with just a whisper of a crunch. The kind you hear when someone bites delicately into a cucumber sandwich. A regular Fiskars, I presumed, would sound like a cement mixer in comparison. But dulcet sounds aside, I learned there were other reasons to invest in a pair of shears worth 20,000 greenbacks. The cut is a lot smoother because the hair doesn’t recoil into unsightly curls. You can cut hair in a geometrically-precise straight line. It’s ergonomic too, not letting stress build up in the masterly fingers, wrist or arm.

I was still struggling to digest this information about a humble pair of scissors. With a flick of a wrist, she then dropped the second bombshell. ‘Actually, this pair of scissors is nothing compared to the one I’d set my heart on in Paris’, she sighed as she snipped over my ears. Apparently, it was hewn from pure marble and cost, hold your jaw, one lakh rupees. Just holding it, she mooned, was heavenly.

‘There’, she said, as she turned off the blow dryer and fluffed my hair, ‘what do you think?’ It was the same cut I’d had for the past year or so. But now, coming to think of it, there was something different about it.

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