Thursday, December 04, 2008

Hairrible Hair Day

I went for a haircut a couple of days back. It was a parlor suggested by Mudita, my friend. My regular parlor for haircut, AAE is one of the best in the city. But then I wanted to try an alternate parlor too. After a long long deliberation with Mudits, I decided upon going to the SU parlor. It had two floors. The lower floor was for men. The upper floor-about six steps above (thankfully not six feet under) was the women’s parlor. I expected a suave ambience from the kind of locality it was in. But what I saw inside was something akin to a fish market. Six chairs, six clients, six helpers to six beauticians/hairdressers. No attendants were free enough to catch me right at the door to ask me ‘yes ma’am’? Managing to look sufficiently lost (as I certainly am not- maybe I was just pretending I was lost so someone should promptly come to attend to the innocent customer to fleece her of the money in her purse), I looked here and there. They read my intention telepathically; because someone did come; I muttered an innocent, “haircut.” He just gave a small nod. Presently, a senior hair dresser (SH) came. Almost dragged me to the chair. Ok, not really dragged, just gestured me to take that chair. Reluctantly I sat there. Put the book I was carrying and the purse on the glass top in front of me.

On purpose, I threw a sudden glance at the hair brushes lying on the side counter. I jumped up on the chair. The SH (and he was with a small paunch you know, and an overconfident demeanor) jumped up thinking I had seen a snake. “What happened?” Making a very pathetic face, I looked back, “You won’t… u-u-use these (pointing at the brushes) on me, will you?” Unmoved, he said, “Of course, I will. Why? What’s wrong with these?” Same innocent sorry face of mine, now aided by my blinking eyes, “Come on, there are hair in these brushes, and dead skin, and they are dirty.” Now there WERE four/five strands of hair each in all three of the brushes lying there meant to be used on me. “Medem, is time toh aise ho hongey” (Madam, at this time of the day, you will get these only). Did I tell you that it was 5:30 p.m.? I wanted to ask him if I should have come at 5:30 a.m. to be privileged enough to have clean brushes used on my hair. Reading my mind, he looked at me as if I was weird. He actually checked my head carefully for any antennae sticking out. ( I saw him in the mirror checking it out) Not finding any, he dismissed me as just another cleanliness freak and started to start with the job.

Now I got rid of the wretched demeanor of mine, and went into the essentially Durga mode, “What the hell do you mean this time of the day? I will have nothing of these sorts.” “Aapki marzi,” he said in a go- to-hell tone. I actually got up from the chair, meaning to go out. He didn’t imagine a woman could be so stupid to go out just for a petty reason like a dirty hair brush. I said, “fine.” We all know, fine in a woman’s terminology means, “dekh loongi” (I will see you). Not that I wanted to see him anytime later. Now he was a little appeasing, “Arey madam, sit, I will cut your hair, and meantime they will clean the brushes.” “Yeah Motu, now you are talking in my lingo,” I thought; but said, “Okay, get them cleaned first.” Giving up on me, he yelled to an attendant (who I know will ultimately grow to be like him-pot bellied and apathetic to the customers’ need of clean brushes). The boy came, SH told him to go clean two wooden brushes. Duly obeying, the fellow brought two clean brushes. The SH asked him contemptuously to show them to me. I know he actually wanted to shove these ‘clean’ brushes into my face. Not reacting, I checked the brushes. I again found a few strands of hair sticking out. And he rubbed the brushes together. A lot of dead skin fell off those ‘clean’ brushes. YUCK. I was totally put off. And I blurted, “Sorry, I don’t want a haircut”. Now the SH was genuinely irritated. But at the same time, he was not willing to let go of me. The fact that I was carrying Indira Gandhi’s biography with me didn’t help my cause at all. He possibly thought I was one hell of a Nari Mukti types. Or worse, I was perhaps a Press correspondent on a sting operation to catch hold of all dirty hair brushes in his parlor. He told the boy to clean, CLEAN, really clean the brush. And I was suddenly worried about the haircut now. He might snip snap, snip snap allllll my locks and do a Mr. Bean on me. But then the die was cast. Upon instructing the boy to go clean the brushes with dettol (I could sense the sarcasm in his voice), he started his job. Before that, he brought a well scrubbed and clean Dark Pink comb. Usually I like to mentally go to sleep while the job is being done. Today, I couldn’t afford to. I kept my eyes open. He did look antagonistically at me. I wanted to think that he was doing a fine job. He took 10 minutes in re-doing my steps and he was done. DONE. And I was left gaping. “Ho gaya?” “Yes medem ho gaya,” he was already pissed off. So glad to get rid of me he was. Meantime the boy brought those two wooden brushes. I doubt the parlor had seen those two brushes in the color that I saw them in, ever since they were bought. I had a look at them, said “yes,” and three people who were attending to me heaved three separate sighs of relief. I swear, I could hear their distinct sighs. The SH was thinking, “Medem ko pasand aa gaya, brushes ka janam saphal ho gaya.”

I wanted to do a Pappu Dance on my minor victory. Now my head won’t catch any infection and lice (ab ismar mein kaun nikaalta meri juyein?). And then they used those clean clean brushes on my hair. I had originally planned to get a straightening job done after a blow dry. But now I was scared because I had upset too many people. What if they scald my scalp in retaliation? Lene ke dene par jayeinge. I heard SH speak, “Medem-straight or outward curls?” I said without batting my eyelids, “Outward curls.” And thought, Motu, at least you won’t get to threaten me with that hot straightening irons stuff. The three of them then worked on giving me outwards curls, with that big hair dryer and those two brushes of ‘mine’. But they did have their revenge for sure. Pulled my hair once and pulled my hair twice and pretended it was by mistake. I, too, had to do my bit by pretending that it didn’t make any difference to me. Why give them that morbid pleasure of knowing they had given me pain? I wanted to open my Indira Gandhi to forget this pulling at my hair, and intimidate them a little in the process, but with the pulls and the whoosh of the dryer, I don’t think I could have, even if I had pretended I could.

SH did a fine job, with two assistants – and my hair looked awesome. I went downstairs to pay up. “Trimming,” he announced to the receptionist madam and she said absentmindedly, “Three hundred.” I took out three hundred-rupee notes and left NO tip behind…I could sense that the SH was lingering behind for that. I was acting mean, but I meant to be mean. The SH, and the two assistants looked out of the glass doors as I went out. I know they were checking if there was any space ship to take me back to Venus. Relieved, they went back. I am sure they wished they had a life size picture of me to hang in the parlor-just to warn the posterity. And I am sure they didn’t wash any brushes for the following entire week in protest. After all, my hair won’t grow back for another 2 months and they know the weird creature is not coming back for two months at least.

But I know I am not going to go there at all. AAE zindabad.

If you think it was not horrible enough, and if you have more hunger for horror, you can devour some Phool Horrors or Pool Horrors.

42 comments:

Jagjit said...

OMFG!! I should have been there. It would have been more entertaining than anything else, I am sure.

"I, too, had to do my bit by pretending that it didn’t make any difference to me." I am trying to visualize your expression.

Wonderful, Loved every bit of it!!!

Leo said...

heheh... :) :)

hairy experience for mampi eh?? :)

lol and rofl trying to picture ur face!! :P

Sangz said...

hey!! i dunno wot u mean by kurtz. i jus googled it... says its a character of a book. i didnt udstd wot u asked me :) could u explain?

Indian Home Maker said...

Gosh you've got guts!
I would have run out of any place fraught with so many dangers :)

chandni said...

LOL!

very brave :D

Ritu said...

Hahahahaha, priceless. You should send Motu a copy of this blog post with your compliments.

BTW, at least you did not have to make Hyderabadi Zafrani Pulao to make your point as in Cheeni Kum

Mithe said...

He He He..so finally you got a haircut of your choice didn't you?:))I will come and see it tomorrow specially!;)

Monika said...

brave girl... i had a good laugh in ages mampi thanks for that really

nidhi said...

he he.... i learn a lot from you :-)

Usha Pisharody said...

You've got guts to stay with it, esp. after those brushes!!!

:d!!

And a great read!!!

Vidya said...

This was funny. I am sure it wasnt all that funny when it happened. Glad the medem stuck to her stance! Good for her!

philip9876 said...

arrey yaar, you are unnecessarily making me worried the next time i have to go for a haircut.

In fact i wanted to go this wkend. Am already having second thoughts thinking of the comb ;)

Pinku said...

hehehe...this is Mampi through and through.....

DeeplyDip said...

lol...these parlours can be quite unhygenic...you did a good job here...SH would be dreading the day you decide to go back to the parlour :)

Mampi said...

Jagz-You? To swap places with SH or To observe the situation? :)

Leo-Oh yes, the face was totally Bhayankar.

IHM-But I tried to run away twice, heheehe.

Chandni-Punjabi women, gutsy women, hehe.

Ritu-I dont think Motu can read this kind of angreji. Abt Zafrani Pulao, thanks, the idea was yumm, hehe.

Mithe-You dint come then??

Monika-I m glad you liked it enough to laugh.

Nidhi-Ab kaa karenge, sikahan toh padega..

Usha-Haha, Strength...

Vidya-yeah, it was scary, horrible.

Liju-Well, I didnt know SH had migrated to S'Pore. ;)

Pinku-Kranti....

DeeplyDip-Oh yes he must be. But he should relax, I am not going there again.

How do we know said...

arre.. u r actually quite nice bcs u stayed on in that parlor.I would never have done that.

Whats more, i would have asked for the Complaint book. On being told that there is none available, i would have asked for the guest book and written abt the episode in my NICEST handwriting. Then gone to Mouthshut.com to complete the public review. Not concealed the name of the parlor like the nice Mampi!
The Other keeps asking me"Tainu ki?" And i keep telling him "That is the difference between you and me. If i have had a bad experience, i dont want it to happen to anyone else."

Balvinder Singh said...

I hope you did not use your Punjabi punches on the poor guy. But well done. And well narrated.

Mama - Mia said...

at least he did a good job! i dream of awesome haircuts!! :p

thanks for the laughs lady!

cheers!

abha

zirelda said...

OMG.... I have never even thought about the brushes...

But then I've had the same guy doing my hair for almost 30 years now. He is like a close friend.

Your experience sounds very intimidating. You are a brave woman. :)

Sneha Divakar said...

too good... i like your writing style!!!

Veena said...

hahahahhaah... laughed my lungs out.. that was too good.. ! :).. want to see you now.. your hair i mean :)

PARRY said...

The experience you went through was very well written. Although it looks funny now but I am sure you dont want that to happen again.

Devaki said...

I have never noticed these things in the parlour - ever! I will from now on. :)

But I did have a similar experience wherein I raised a ruckus for being made to wait a long time when I had an appointment and the monster mutilated my hair!!! Never anger your hairdresser ever!

MAN IN PAINTING said...

lol!
i was just trying to imagine and recreate the whole scene...
loved the whole post...
wishes for another hair cut!
mip

Sindhu said...

Oh man, you're a gutsy person. :) I would have gotten out of that hair salon asap! But you stuck it through, and you got them to dance to your tune. Awesome stuff!

P.S - Glad the haircut turned out well too. :)

P.P.S - Nice blog! My first time here.

Manish Raj said...

Good one Mampi...I have always liked your style of writing..

Carry on..

Mampi said...

HDWK-Nice? Et Moi? I would also like to do all this slander work but I didnt have time enough. I am doing enough damage with my prolific tongue though, hehehe.

Balvinder-Nah! Punches are the last resort.

Abha-No, when the curls wore off, I found that he had had his minor revenge. I need to go get the cut done in another 15 days.

Z-Thank you for the validation of my bravery. But I am very particular about the stuff being used on me by the parlours.

Sneha-Thankyou. Hope to see more of you here on my blog.

Veena-Come over, lets have a party and I will flaunt my hair, hehe.

Parry-Nah never, I will not go to that particular parlour ever, ever, ever.

Devaki-I know most of us dont, that is why they thought I was weird.

MIP-Oh yes, it IS worth imagining and enjoying, and I need alllll the luck for the next.

Sindhu-Thanks, I am glad you approve of my sticking to my guns. Most welcome to my blog and Hope to see you here more often.

Manish-Thanks, I know you like it, but where have you been??? You were missed.

Imp's Mom said...

very brave! u actually stayed and got ur haircut... I would have run away...lol

Afaque said...

lol...
the title of the topic you chose was funny...

Manasa said...

hahah.. He will surely clean each time he trims from now on.. Can't imagine the look on his face :D Well slammed :)

EXSENO said...

I'm going to take a lesson from you and stick up for myself. I probably would have said I'll have to come back I left my money at home and then I would have left.

I never have good luck at a hair dresser's shop. Only one time did someone give me a nice hair style.I can say cut my hair this way and it comes out not even similar to what I asked for.

Himalayan adventurer said...

Very lively narration, but your coining the new work 'Hairrible' is interesting. Tipping has kind of become unnecessary evil. Some trades expect it (short of demanding it) even if they have completely messed up the job. Some experienced people advise to tip beforehand only to get a good service. For example, while being served on a road side dhaba on your highways drives, or staying in a guest house/small hotel in some remote corner of country. It does work.

Mampi said...

Imp's Mom-Yes, I am a circumstantial martyr in this case. Thought of running away, then stuck...

Afaque-Jagjit Suggested part of it.

Manasa-Yeah, I plan to go scare him once again, but this time I will come out without getting anything done, hehe. Hows the idea?

Exseno-Its very rare in my case too that the hair turns out to be as nice as I have visualised, but then I think that the hair will grow back and I have learnt one more lesson.

Himalayan Adventurer- The word was suggested by Jagjit(the first commentator in this post, he writes brilliant posts in his blog). Yes, I normally leave a happy tip at the parlour to 'keep' the goodwill for the next visit also; but I knew I was not going to pay this parlour another visit for sure. Yes, tipping beforehand is also the same gesture of 'creating' goodwill. Amazing what money can do.

Parul said...

Hello hello,

I came by from somewhere and am so glad I did. Have only read the story of the evil hairdresser so far but already the archives beckon. Its late now but will be back tomorrow and with that threat....adios.

Parul

snippetsnscribbles said...

Oh, I notice these things very quickly. Infact, I even see if there is hair lying on the ground that they havent cleaned up! Thankfully my stylist here is a very clean person :) And has her small space clean all the time :)

Good job, Mampi!! They need to be taught cleanliness :)

roop said...

roflmao!!!!
im getting a haircut when i come see u!!
for six bucks!! they put up with all that? haha i can't wait to go out with you in ldh!! it'd be fun.

churningthewordmill said...

wow..im impressed.. i wud hv been tempted to do exactly wat indian homemaker said-run! as it is i dont get along with any hairdresser...
mandira

Rajindarjit said...

Interesting depiction.
Good expression.
Look like a fiction.
Keep it up!
Dhindsa

Mampi said...

Parul-Hello, hello,,,,I was scared after your threat, but I guess you forgot after threatening me, Strange terrorist you were, hehe.

Snippets n Scribbles-Well, in Umreeka etc, people do ask for neat stuff to be used on them, they are yet to learn to ask for it here. That is why I was the odd-person out.
You are lucky your hairdresser is neat.

Roop-If you were not Roop, I would have thrashed you at your "they put up with all that?"
Hell, it is we who put up with all that AND pay them those damned six bucks. We are poor Indians, your six bucks are big money here, Khush?

Mandy-My primary instinct was to run. But then the sense of adventure and the Bhenji Spirit took the better of me, hehe.

Mama-Ahhh! How I wish it were fiction...

~nm said...

Hahahaha....I had to really control my laughter all throughout coz I was reading this at work!!

Simply hilarious!

dipali said...

Laughed my head off, Mamps!

UL said...

i cant believe you saw it through, i would've walked out...big time coward when it comes to my hair..:)