Monday, 24 November 2014

A Wait In the Salon

                               Woman with Beauty Salon vector 05
                                                           Courtesy Google Image

     I waited patiently for someone to attend to my scraggly hair that was growing independently in every perceivable direction. It was quite an enjoyable wait though, observing the hair being streaked, lips contorting to accommodate the thread neatly plucking out those abominable little hair growing in the wrong places. What business does cilia  have on the upper lips? The look of bliss as another surrendered the feet in the warm soapy water to be cleaned, caressed and plumped up. Tired housewives looking for minutes of succour before the brats of all sizes barged back through the front doors. Stressed out working women probably making the most of a day off. Everyone looked relaxed except the aproned, nimble fingered girls working behind the chairs.The air conditioner hummed discreetly along with the soothing music being played. A faint squeak of the front door gently whispered the entry of another customer. A young bright eyed  mother walked in with a chubby and cute eight year old. The mistress of the parlour turned her chemical blond head from a hair styling she was attending to. With a smile plastered on her face she cooed, "Oh! After such a long time! So, how was your trip?" 
" Oh! It was good you know!" the shrill voice of the mother sang along.
" Where did you go? Thailand? " asked the mistress of the parlour taking a few seconds off her work.
" No! No! We went to Kathmandu this time."
" Ya, I have also been to Kathmandu so many times. It is always nice. Did you manage to go to the Temple?" asked the mistress looking over her rimless specs. Her tattooed arms moved expertly over the young girl's hair, snipping away a bit of hair here and there, and gesturing to one of the trainees to offer a glass of water to the young mother and the child, all at the same time.
" The trip was good and we had a good darshan at the Temple. It was only the return that was exasperating!" exclaimed the young mother in a snug pair of jeans and t-shirt, both a size too small. A thick gold chain slung around the neck was clamouring for attention. She tossed her hair back
  A raised eyebrow over green shaded eye lids of the mistress was all the cue she needed to spill the words that she was dying to blurt.
" You know how they are at the immigration. 'Are you bringing back any gold?' 'Please, declare any gold.' Oof! There was no respite! Did we look like smugglers or what?" the young mother declared and looked around carefully without seeming to look around, to see the effect.
 The air conditioner hummed on. The other customers were deeply buried in some old issues of the Stardust or Femina. Some had their ear plugs on. A tattoo machine was inking a rose on a supple arm.  I looked out of the floor length window at the traffic jostling by quietly, enjoying every bit of the conversation.
The young mother continued in a voice one notch higher, " I don't have to bring gold from Kathmandu. I have enough here and no place to keep. Pinky! Stop fidgeting with the dryer and jumping around!" she admonished her child who was looking for something to keep her occupied. And Pinky gave one long mournful look to her mother before going through a door to explore the room beyond. Stretched out on two of the beds were  ladies in their forties and sixties, eyes weighed down with cucumber slices over cotton swabs and faces masked in a ghostly greenish layer, in a desperate bid to bring back the glow of the yesteryears.

"... If I have to buy gold I will bring it from Dubai during that Dubai Shopping festival" the young mother continued her supposed indignant conversation with the immigration officials whom she had left behind at the Nepal border a month back.
" Hmmm, the next time  wear an imitation chain while going to Dubai and wear the real one on your return. That way they will not say anything" suggested the green lidded mistress. " So, what will you get done today?" she finally asked getting down to business.
" Oh! Today let it be only a hair wash and a body polish and massage. It is so difficult to wash and manage the hair at home. People do lose weight with the massage, don't they?" queried the young mother.
" Oh yes, they do! Only you have to be regular with it. If you stop in between, it all comes back, you know!" said the mistress taking a long hard look at the young mother, over her rimless specs, before going back to the last few strokes of blow drying the newly stylised hair.

 The young mother settled herself into a plush chair  next to the floor length window with an old issue of Women's Era. Pulling down her T shirt that kept riding up and stretching out her legs in the too tight jeans she called out " Pinky! Pinky!! Come and let aunty wash your hair and give you a massage!"


  1. slice of life .. errr.. salon Ilakshi .. :) nice piece :)

  2. Hmm - Looks like you women do have interesting times :)

  3. Once, I was seated next to my office rival at the salon. We had both come for a hair cut and blow dry. And then the chase begun, who will look better at the end.

    Dropping in from Indiblogger.

    Visit our blog sometime, The Sinhas at No. 302.

  4. The scenes are so realistically expressed :) The Dubai gold-chain idea is something!
    What pampering at the Salon :)
    The ending is superb!

  5. I could visualize every bit of it, the place the characters everything. I loved the language, would you try your hand at a novel...short stories may be, it would be super Ilakshee.

  6. You have packed quite a lot in the seemingly ordinary tale. The mood and the people of the parlour were credibly evoked.

  7. Thank you, Kokila! I am glad you liked it :)

  8. Oh yes, Suresh! We do have some interesting moments!

  9. Deaf Mamma, welcome to my blog.Don't we all want to look better than the next one!

  10. thanks Anita. That chain idea was indeed a good one!

  11. Shweta, my dear friend, I am overwhelmed by your suggestion! Thank you so much for thinking me capable of it but I have a long way to go!

  12. Those words are manna for me, Umashankar! Thank you!

  13. Haha nice twist at the end,i never guessed it.

  14. Hi

    Salon visits can be interesting eh? But as you have mentioned on a subtle tone, its really hard work for the employees there till a point is reached where they open their own salon....Its trimming threading scrubbing massaging again and again....

  15. Thank you, Jaish! Happy to see you here after quite a while!


Your words keep me going :)