My fraternal twin sister got married to a government worker in Bombay. After the wedding, her husband took me also to Bombay with the hope that I can get a job. We stayed in his one room flat on the second floor of an old building. All residents of the floor had to use common bathrooms. We are originally from Kerala, a very conservative place. There boys and girls have separate sections in bus, movie theatre, and college. You can never find a girl in Kerala with short hair. A barber cutting their hair is unthinkable to them.
My sister is nineteen years old and is good looking. Both of us are shy in nature. One Saturday morning, my sister's husband did not have office. He took both of us to a barbershop where he wanted a haircut. As we entered the place, a hairstylist welcomed us and requested my sister and me to sit in the waiting area. It was the first time we had gone to a barbershop and were slightly embarrassed. Both of us pretended to read magazines as the stylist cut my in-law's hair.
After staying in Bombay for two years, we returned to Kerala for the summer. One Saturday morning, a young lady in our neighborhood, whose husband is an itinerant barber, came to our house. She wanted a small loan for buying groceries. She promised to return it when her husband got home in the evening. My mother borrowed it from my brother-in-law and gave it to her.
Next day, after breakfast, my brother-in-law requested my mother to get the lady's husband so that my sister could get a haircut. Mother hid her feelings. She did not want to offend him. When my mother went out for shopping, he stopped at the barber's house.
He came after two hours. My sister had taken a bath in the river and was dressing when he came to the front of the house. My sister had never gotten a haircut before.
My brother-in-law put a chair in the backyard and made my sister sit on it. She was nervous. My mother and I were watching. My sister was weating sari and blouse. In-law wanted the young barber to cut her hair short. Before that, he requested him to shave her face. He had kept a piece of soap and water nearby. The barber first dry shaved my sister's face. Then he made lather with the soap and applied it all over her face. He wet shaved. In-law suggested that the barber may remove her blouse and shave her armpits. The barber did so with out showing any emotion.
Then the barber cut my sister's hair. After the cut, she had an inch of hair in the front and quarter of an inch elsewhere.
Initially, my sister was reluctant to go in public with her new look. But eventually she loved the attention young men were paying her.