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The Voice of My Hair

"Life's Coping Mechanisms"
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Published 1 month ago

Author's Notes

"Sharing a slice of my life that has become a coping mechanism for me and one that I wasn't very aware of till recently. I wonder what other coping mechanisms do we operate with, unbeknownst to ourselves. Please share yours, would love to know about it"

The other day I stared into the mirror looking at my receding hairline and feeling I could have done with some better genes and some better hair maybe? But then I stopped and shut my eyes... 


One thought led to the other and took me down a rabbit hole of time, back many years, to that barber on my street who used to give me a cut for Rs.11/-. The barber's shop wasn't very big and had room for a tiny bench behind the cutting chair, where his customers patiently waited their turn. Seated on that bench, there were only 2 interesting views to be had: one of the sunlight darting in through the little entry door that spot lit the dance of dust particles in the shop; and the other being the back head of the customer who was getting the haircut. For the customer getting the haircut, however, there was unfortunately not much of an option in terms of views: at best he could stay entertained with the snipping tune of the scissors and the banter of the barber and the bench guys. 


During one such haircut, I remember settling into the barber's chair and feeling the misty spray of the water hitting my hair as he got down to carefully planning my cut. The barber measured my hair and deftly pulled up sections of it and went snipping. All of a sudden I heard the benchie joyfully shout out to the barber - "Emni Chool Kaatar Anondo Tai Onno Rokom Na". Roughly translated, the benchie meant to say that the barber would be enjoying cutting such great hair. The barber kept snipping silently. But I was blushing and craned my neck to try and see the face of the benchie. The barber pulled my head back into position, almost as if telling me that I only have audio rights to this conversation. The benchie continued: "Chooler Quality Ta Daroon! Ak Dom Smooth Ar Silky". The barber kept snipping silently. I tried to look into the mirror in front to catch a glimpse of the benchie's reflection, but knew from experience that it was quite pointless: the mirror was just a little larger than my face and the barber knew that he never needed a mirror for his craft and at Rs.11/- there was no ROI with a larger mirror. Finally the benchie said "Chool Ta Bapok Set Hoyeche. Bah! Bah! Besh! Besh!" The barber let out a subtle "Hmmm". There it was! The admiration followed by the validation! I didn't crane my neck anymore but simply shut my eyes and smiled as the scissors snipped on. 


I don't really remember much more of that episode or how that benchie looked or who he was. But the voice remains with me till this day, of my admirer and the validator. And every time when I stress out over my receding hairline, I shut my eyes for a few seconds and recall the voice of my hair admirer & validator, and then nothing is so bad. I like to think of them as the voice of my hair... 

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