Mostly Thoughtless

Tam Brahm, thank you ma'am

Friday, July 27, 2007


Apart from death by roasting, vasectomy, and a dinner date with Rakhi Sawant, I can think of very few experiences that scare me as much a visit to the barbershop. Since childhood, I have been terrified by barbers. They always seem to have some kind of wicked sneer on their faces when they go about my hair with their big, noisy garden shears. “You just wait, young man,” they'd seem to be saying, “by the time I'm done with you, people from the 60s will be laughing at you.”

When I was a kid, my dad used to take me to this tiny neighbourhood barbershop called 'Malabar Hairdressers'. Speaking of which, have you ever wondered why these people call themselves 'hairDRESSERS'? I mean, they're not adding anything to the hair. They're just cutting off a bit and in fact, leaving less of it than there initially was. Doctors dealing with unfortunate patients who need to have a foot amputated don't go upto them and say, shaking their heads meaningfully, “Mr.Kumar, the infection is spreading fast, I'm afraid you’re going to need a little leg-dressing.”

So anyway, as the name suggests, 'Malabar Hairdressers' was run by a mallu. And that was reason enough for my dad to take me there. He ached to talk to fellow mallus, discuss mallu movies, criticize mallu politicians and generally babble on and on and on in Malayalam, deriving some weird pleasure from it. Sometimes, he'd miss malluness so bad that I'd get a haircut just for the heck of it. “Geetha, I think Vinod needs a haircut. He’s looking like a little rowdy. I'm taking him to Malabar.”, “But Dad, I had one just last week!”, “Never mind, you bleddy punk! Come fast now I say, don't waste my time”, “Nooooooooooooooooooo, mommmmmm, HELPP…”

And so, he'd drag me, kicking and screaming, to the shop, leave me with one of the evil barbers and go on to discuss Mohanlal's latest lungi pattern with the owner. Sometimes, we'd have to wait for my turn, and I'd sit in the waiting couch beside which there was a huge stack of ‘Filmfare’ magazines dating all the way back to the silent movie era. No ‘Outlook’ or ‘India Today’, which would have some pictures of politicians with bad hair. No sir, only ‘Filmfare’, with those handsome Bollywood superstars and their impeccable hair. I would flip through the issues in silent horror, only seeing the barber's subliminal message on every page, “Take a good long look, son. Your hair will NEVER look like theirs. I'll be taking care of that. Ha!”

And then, my turn would finally come. The barber would take out that ominous white cloth and throw it all over me, and knot it tight at the neck, almost suffocating me. The radio would be tuned to that standard barbershop station that played only happy songs all the time. I’d watch the white cloth slowly get filled with my bits and pieces of my hair, tears welling up in my eyes and streaming down my face. I would hear my dad talking to the shop’s owner in the background, and catch a few stray words, probably 'Chaye', 'Mammooty' and 'Gelf' and I’d want to scream. I had a rough childhood.

Today, as a mature adult, I’m pleased to announce that barbershops don't worry me anymore. Now that's not because I've overcome my fear. I'm still terrified of barbershops and I still wake up in a cold sweat when I have nightmares about Malabar. But I've just stopped caring. It doesn’t matter to me anymore when I walk around looking like an ex-con. No, seriously, I know my haircuts will continue to go badly. Every time I step into that saloon, I'm dead certain that I'll come out looking like I just lost a wrestling match with a lawnmower. But I don't give a damn, because if I've learnt anything in the last 23 years, it is that no matter how bad the haircut, I can always, following in the footsteps of the immortal Himesh Reshammiya, wear a cap.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Technical Difficulties

After six years of untiring, dedicated service, my computer finally quit on me last week, after threatening to do so for the last few months. Now it simply refuses to turn itself on and I will be calling my computer technician soon, but not before I have ensured that the problem is not because I have the cord unplugged or something stupid like that. I cannot handle one more "B.Tech I.T-aa? You-aa? Thoo!" look from him anymore.

Anyway, like most bloggers, I too keep coming up with ideas for posts and writing out entire first paragraphs before losing enthu and turning to other more pleasurable pursuits, such as sleep. This happened a lot last year and as a result, I have some perfectly good introductory paragraphs lying around. I had been intending to revisit them to try and and put them up but this latest development has thrown not just a spanner, but the entire toolbox, in the works. So, unless the problem is something that can be fixed, which I highly doubt, the material in question will be lost forever, along with all my quizzes, e-books, music and porn. (Mom, Dad, if you're reading this, don't worry, this is just one of my jokes. He He He He. You know I don't have any music.)

So till my computer gets fixed, there won't be any longish posts because unreasonable as it is, I am actually expected to do some work in office. But I will be trying to put up some of my usually inane observations whenever I observe them. For example, just this morning, I was watching 'The Man with the Golden Gun' on TV when I felt that the villain's midget sidekick looked kinda familiar. What do you think? Separated at birth?