This weekend, at long last I went to the salon to get a long pending haircut. The hair stylist was mercifully not one of those chattering kinds (I am pretty poor at doing polite conversation) and I had all the time in the world to think and observe as the stylist went about her job. This stylist was different from the other stylists I have been too - after cutting each side, she would not look at my hair to compare if it was even, instead she would hold the ends with her fingers, stare at the ceiling and feel if it was even or not! Wow, how much experience she must have to achieve that (needless to say, she did a good job and I am happy with my haircut).
As with all my other sudden career aspirations, I suddenly started wondering how it would be to work in a beauty salon. But it was not as if this was so totally out of the blue.
You see, since childhood, me and my sister have found tons of outlets for our creativity in the make-up area - mainly because, on both dad's and mom's sides of the family, we are either the eldest or near to the eldest among all the cousins. So we always had an entire brood of younger cousins at our disposal on whom we could try our "talents".
Since childhood, we have polished lots of nails, applied lipstick to lots of lips, lined a lot of eyes, dressed up lots of "kings" and "queens" - either because the younger cousins asked us to do so or more often, because we felt like experimenting (of course, us being the honorable akkas (big sisters), our younger cousins were only too delighted to be the models - unfortunately, now they are all grown up and don't have quite the same adoration for us any more :-(). Anyways, dressing the cousins up was a good pasttime for us. We were reasonably okay at doing it and as we grew older, we sometimes even helped the "elders" with their make-up and clothes.
However, it was only after reaching the hostel that I discovered my flair with hair (ah, that rhymes :-)). I don't quite remember how it happened but it was during the first semester of my first year in hostel. AD, one of my first year hostel mates, whom I hardly knew, somehow decided that I should cut her hair for her. I was thrilled to get a volunteer for my experiments with hair and agreed immediately.
AD wanted it shorter than her present just-above-the-waist length hair but did not specify just how short. I started off with great enthusiasm. There were five other girls in the room as audience. They all sat on the cots to watch while AD sat on the floor in the center on a bunch of spread out newspapers. I knelt behind her with the scissors.
Initially, the process went off pretty smoothly. But then I realized that one side of AD's hair was slightly shorter than the other. So I chopped off some more hair from the longer side. And, you guessed it, now that side was shorter than the other side. So snip, snip, snip I went on the other side. Oh no, now the other side was shorter than the previously shorter side.
At this point, word had gotten around the hostel first year students that someone was getting their hair cut and that it looked as if it was going to be lots of fun. The number of girls in the audience had now swelled to a dozen. More wanted to come in but there was no space and I was getting distracted with all the attention.
Finally, the doors to the room were closed but people continued to peer in through the windows - I guess everyone was betting about whether AD will have all her hair shorn off or not with my monkey and the pie act or not :-(.
Anyways, the bright spot was, since AD could not see her hair herself, she cheerfully asked me to continue doing what I thought was right. Eventually, when her hair had reached shoulder length, both sides had finally equalled out and I was done. AD marched to the mirror - everyone held their breath to see what her reaction would be to her considerably shortened hair.
AD took one look at herself and went "Oooooooooh, thank you so much - this looks so nice". And actually, it was true - AD has really fine hair and the free flowing shoulder length hair instead of her usual single thin pigtail made her look cute. Ta da - success by accident :-D!
After that, requests poured (okay, a few of them came) in for the miracle hair-stylist ;-) - I once even cut someone's hair using a pair of ultra tiny foldable scissors as we could not find the regular sized ones (ah, the things we did in hostel). After that word got around that I could help with other "make-up stuff" too. So during the final year of undergrad, during college functions, I helped with eye-liners, drawing elaborate free hand bindi patterns etc. - it was fun to experiment on different people :-)!
Sitting at the salon that day brought back all these memories.That's when it struck me - being a beautician would give me a lot of subjects to experiment on and what's more, actually get paid for it - cooool :-)! Is it too late to start learning to be a beauty specialist?
Acknowledgement: Thank you Saranya for acting as the initial catalyst in bringing up the memories :-)!