29 year old Mrs. Sinha is sitting in a barbershop, a local cheap one, wearing a yellow bottle green kuta; her mid length hair reaching up to her breast is hanging, behind the chair fluttering. She is staring at her as her husband as he slides his fingers through her thick, black hair pulling it and squeezing it. The barber standing behind him with scissors in hand, suggesting he is ready to butcher it. The husband asks,
“You sure honey? You don’t need to do it dear”
“Yeah, it is essential. You know my hair is getting to less care, I should have it chopped”
“Think again, you have long hair right from school as far as I know”
“It’s okay; I will grow it back after some time, after we settle a little, maybe after 2 to 3 years”
He then turns to barber and told him, “give her a short nice haircut, she want something, which doesn’t need much comb, and if the visits to her can be less frequented” saying this, Mr. Sinha takes a seat in waiting area to see her beloved spouse’s hair being chopped in front of his eyes.
Mrs. Sinha is gently pushed to a comfortable position and then barber collects her hair into a bun, a medium one. The barber then takes out a red cape from a drawer, and covers Anita, as she closed her eyes. Her hair is then open all ready for the show
Mr. Sinha is sad. One of the two thing he saw when he proposed Anita is her hair, then at college, a batch mate of him, long, thick and jet black. He liked the hair first then started liking her too. They got married at 26, even though she has reduced her hair length to shoulder during marriage. His love for her had overcome his love for her hair, but it remained. He convinced Mr. Sinha just after a month to grow her hair again. She started growing it for two years. But the hair has lost its vigor, and it just reached mid back. It all changed few days earlier. Mr. Sinha has opened a new store in city centre leaving his old store at responsibility of his wife. A thirty day continuous store attendance prompted her to have her hair cut, as she couldn’t manage it well. ‘Short’ before haircut was added after a convincing phone call from one of her mother who convinced her that it is better to keep hair short, as cutting them would let her grow it again but if it is ill maintained, she would lose it after a year or two for once and for all.
Mr. Sinha was lost in thought when he heard the sound of blades of scissor clattering. Anita hair is all combed now. The barber had pushes her head a little forward, thus lowering her view below the mirror as her chin touches her chest. The barber has made a pony with his hand getting together all her hair near her shoulder and has places the scissor above it at her nape. The moment has come.
Kaaach..chchchchc.hchchch… the blades came into action, inserting in the mass, disjoining her locks from her head. The pony is too thick to be cut in one chop, so as he thought barber was inserting the scissor from different direction, trying to chop it apart. With every cut, more of her hair becomes free form the pony tails, hanging lose around her neck. After a good number of chop, the hair came lose.
There is smile in barber’s face, there is confusion in Anita’s face, but Mr. Sinha is gloomy. All the length she had acquired is gone, again to shoulders.
The barber then drops the hair in a bin, and reaches a drawer to pull out a different comb. Anita touches her hair at the back, squeezing it, turning her head sideways to get a peek at her back, but the barber is back again. He then again bend her head, and asks Mr. Sinha, “ am clipping the hair at back short, with number two guard, or should I do it with…” Anita intercept at the middle, “do it with clipper, and I want the hair to be shortened much more at the back and at sides too”
The barber asks Mr. Sinha to which he answers, “do it, whatever she ask, use number one or number zero if she wishes” The barber removes the guard without asking, and then switches it on. He pushes it at the back and then told, “Am going with zero”
Chunks of hair fell on the ground as he applies the clipper on her back. More hair rains in front of Mr. Sinha as he continues doing it at the back. Anita was enjoying the moment, the sensation. After a few sorties, barber turns the chair, so that her right side was towards the mirror, and then clipped off the hair from left side till her top of the head. He does the same thing on other side of her head.
Anita’s hair is short at back and sides according to barber. According to Mr. Sinha, Anita has no hair at back and sides. The barber finishes the sides and back and then switches off the clipper, but this is not the end. The barber the starts wetting the areas he just sheared and then starts applying shaving cream. Mr. Sinha doesn’t resist as barber then takes a straight razor and scratch her hair off right from top of her head to back and side, leaving hair only in front. The first scratch reveals the virgin scalp of her wife which he never expected to see when he first met her in college. The white patch continues to increase till it spread throughout her back.
Mr. Sinha said, “Anita, how about shaving the head?” Anita doesn’t replies. Barber after completing with razor combs her remaining hair in front, and stalls there. Mr. Sinha told, “Hey no shaving tomorrow, just give her a pretty haircut, she will have head shave in next visit” Anita takes a deep breath, as a sign of irritation and protest.
The barber then parts her hair in left of head, distributing it in two parts. He levels his scissor at the level of top of ear at left and cut off whatever left below it. To the right he does the same. He then brings all the hair in the front and cuts few strands which reach her eye at her forehead. Anita kept her eyes closed as locks of hair fell on the lap. The barbering was over now.
The barber reaches for another mirror, and shows it to Anita so that she can see her back. As Anita admires her haircut, Mr. Sinha squeezes and rubs his hand on her hair. He said, “I think volume is big” Anita supports him, “yeah, the mop can be reduced I think”
The barber just nods and then again takes a scissor and a comb. He starts doing pick and cut, to remove the volume. He gathers the hair with comb with back brushing and chops off whatever is gathers in the comb. He continues doing this, till he is convinced. Mr. Sinha is also satisfied.
The barber then takes a large brush and started dusting Anita. The floor which was already covered with Anita’s hair is getting more covered as chunks of hair trapped in the cape started dropping to ground. The barber dusts Anita’s face and then carefully opens the knot of cape, and then slides it away.
The barber then applies some powder ad combs Anita’s hair for last time and then turns the chair so that she can get up. As Anita admires her haircut, Mr. Sinha pays the fees and leaves the shop thanking the barber.
10 minutes later
Anita and Mr. Sinha are both in front seat of their car. Mr. Sinha confessed with difficulty, “I always thought you are beautiful with long hair, spread around your head, but, but I discovered today this hairstyle is much more beautiful and…”