Monday, December 18, 2006

Hair today gone tomorrow

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 :-)!


The Kid said...

If this is your idea of isolating males... you fail here. :p

I used to be the family brow specialist (threaded/plucked eyebrows) when I was 10 and was usually very busy in the marraiges. I pity all those girls/women who were left to the mercy of a 10 year old!

A few year after that, they did not let me into the ladies dressing room in marraiges :(

Saranya Kishore said...

Hey Nice post Arch!
And ROTFL at the 'monkey and the pie' act with the hair :--D
I am sure you must have done a good job. :--))
My memory of doing something to do with hair cuts is, giving myself a 'front cut', you know what that is, when I was 9, and getting scolded left and right by Mom. :--D

rads said...

we all have our hidden talents eh? Braiding hair Ive heard, cutting is a whole new level. :-)

Kid - plucking eyebrows? :O *speechless*

iamvisheshur said...

all the girls are same everywhere anytime....tht that my sis must be mad when she does that..i no she aint the only 1..
well i too tryed a lot of stuff but i was the model as im the eldest by i think 3-4 yrs then there is another gap of u i was the only 1..wish i had more modles..
the hair cutting part was funny..naatural talentna addu dhan..

Saumya said... guys really think of things that put me in flashback mode! I used to be the make-up gal for all our dance programs. The ones who were nice to me got less make-up. The others - buawaahaahaahaa (evil laugh!) I ensured I smeared as little as possible on self :)

I was the beautician for my sister at her wedding, and my sister got her dues at my wedding! But this is fun!!!

Shilpa said...

LOL....I din't know you were a talented hair-stylist !

radhika said...

nice blog.nice post

Archana Bahuguna said...

Extremely interesting :-D. You really had too much fun ;-) according to me! I think the only thing you missed on is getting paid for that.

Kidding apart, I am sure you must be really good that people let you have freehand on their looks etc ... The only such "fun" I've had is cutting/trimming Inder's hair. But it's not that much fun. I have to convince some friend to let me do this now :-).

And its never too late for anything! ;-)

smiley said...

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!

acha chooo!!! how come u missed the mirror in the ceiling?

good fun u had :)

spark said...

long time no update!

Archana said...

Pratap - hehehe :-)! Did not mean to isolate anyone! Achoo, wonder how the ladies felt about the eli-kaduchufied oopz, beautifully shaped eyebrows :-P!

Saranya - thank you :-)! Ah, you are being nice! LOL - one of my friends gave herself a haircut at 19 - I will never forget the uproar it caused :-D!

Rads - try it, it is good fun. But do it on someone else :-P.

iamvisheshur - See we girls are always looking for means of developing our talents. LOL at "natural talent" - indha nakkal-kku korachal illai!

Saumya - LOL :-D! It is super fun to be makeup artist to other people!!

Shilpa - now you do :-D!

Radhika - thank you :-)!

Archana - much as I would like to be flattered, I think AD did not know better :-P! Good luck with finding a bakri soon :-D - it is good fun!

Smiley - hehehehe - now that you say, I did not look at the ceiling - should do that the next time :-)!

Spark - pudhu post potaachu :-)!