Have you ever wondered why more often than not you go for an haircut on a Sunday? One fine day, while getting ready for work out of nowhere you take notice that your hairs need mending. What do you do? You automatically almost in a predefined mechanized chain of reactions triggered by that realization take a mental note and more often than not set aside 1 hour with your barber the coming Sunday. Right? Well if you do that, you must know you are not alone. Coincidence ??
No not exactly my friend. See as an Indian man’s mind has been trained to associate a haircut with a Sunday. Its a natural reflex action almost like doing ‘ummm’ when the waiter brings the hot sizzling sizzler to your table or clicking a mental picture whenever any hot lady passes by. You can’t help it. Believe it of not but your mind has been programmed for life and remains totally unaffected by the otherwise assumed mental growth with age. And like a trained chimp you follow that routine through your life. Not just that you also almost unknowingly imbibe that mechanized habit in your next generation.
Let’s figure out why.
Well let’s for while go back in time to when you were 10-12yrs old. Remember those lazy Sunday afternoons when your dad post being hounded by your mother for the entire morning (like that documentary lion who after being constantly bugged by that odd little fly in his ear is forced to wake up and find a new place to sleep) would hold your hand and walk you to the neighborhood barber shop to execute mom’s concise yet clear instructions, to try & get you back to look like ‘insaan’ (loosely translated as ‘Human’)
Albeit the last comment may well have been just my case. You see yours truly has always a man of his own style. I am a firm believer of ‘Bigger the better’ (no pun intended) and even as a kid, liked growing my hair long, with long locks falling down, covering my ears on the sides and curled at the bottom la’ Rajesh Khanna .. A style my mom never appreciated.
But then lets save more on the style statement of this child prodigy for a different post.
So you see Sunday afternoon barber shop visit is one memory that is etched firmly in every Indian man’s mind :) And its not just about a haircut, its a story of an eternal tussle of - every child’s desire to hold on to his personally grown hair, every mother’s implicit selfish intent to make her husband get out of the house so she can get some peace in her Sunday life and every fathers fantasy to lie lifeless through the Sunday only moving in intervals of 3 hrs to devour hot ‘Bhajia’ & ‘Chai’ that should keep coming his way. This unfolding of events remains consistent irrespective the class of part of country you belong to, with only minor details like ‘Bhajia’ & ‘Chai’ replaced by ‘Masala Idli’ & ‘Filter Coffee’ if you are in south or by … umm i guess you got the point.
So what I was saying was that anywhere in India that you may be in, one fine Sunday as a child you are escorted by your dad (in most instances he being escorted by your mom till she starts trusting your 40yr old dad’s skills to get his 10yr old son a decent hair cut !) to the barber shop. There you sit there on that side bench generally gazing in the direction of the barber ‘Kamlesh' who is engrossed outpouring his acquired creative genius over the years on a unsuspecting specimen sitting in a chair almost in a vegetative state, totally unaware that the man he is trusting his style quotient has his one eye permanently fixated on Madhuri Dixit’s hot ‘Ek, Do, Teen … ‘ number playing on the black&white 14’’ TV screen hung on top left corner.
You on the other hand sit there totally aware of your presence, the surrounding and of the impending doom. Hoping against hope that ‘Kamlesh’ would make a false move & cut the man’s ear - there would be blood & commotion all around - your dad would panic & protect his son by not entrusting the fate of his son’s hairs to a man multitasking with cutting hair, sipping tea, watching Madhuri’s pelvic dance moves and scratching his crouch, all at the same time. End intended result, you would be saved a haircut and get to keep your long la’ Rajesh Khanna hair.
But then a cold mist of water coming from the direction of ‘Kamlesh’ spraying water on his specimen’s head (with a devise that you tweak during Holi to fill water baloons), breaks your chain of thoughts and you see Kamlesh grinning at you through his broken front Pan stained tooth and to see your dad peacefully sitting outside in mild winter sun, engrossed in Sunday Times reading Rajiv Gandhi’s vision to take India to the IT age and at the back of his mind too eager to go back to waiting Rajma Chawal at home and a afternoon nap in the sun on your terrace.
As a child, anything in between that happens that Sunday afternoon makes no difference to your fate, coz the inevitable does happen and irrespective of how your went in or any combination of detailed instruction you or your dad gives to ‘Kamlesh’, you end up coming out of the saloon looking like Jim Carrey in Dumb & Dumber, which was the trade mark hair cut of kids of my age. (Am really surprised to this day as to how moms even identified which one’s their when they came to collect us after school. Sigh!!)
Moral of the story, an average Indian male mind is tuned to go to Sunday the moment it hears Haircut, but then if you are associating all sorts if haircut to Sunday you might be messed up for whole different reasons and it is in larger social interest that we assume the story above has nothing whatsoever to do with that.