Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Barberic ordeals

Its that dreadful time of the month again. An hour to be wasted in worsening my appearance. A good day and two's abuse to be had for how funny I look. An extra bath to be taken, albeit without a closure, without that feeling of complete cleanliness. An hour's emptiness to bear, looking at other people dreadfully look at themselves in mirrors, and sifting through women's magazines. Oh, its time for a haircut again.

Well hair has never really been my best physical asset. I seemed to have been born with a good wave of it, but somehow over the years it transformed itself into this mad rush of, well, rushes. I was very deservedly called the porcupine- my hair resembling an army of hapless warriors in retreat, some of them attempting to run away, some brave enough to fight, and some others wondering what the fuss was all about. All they needed was an able leader, an insightful hairdresser. And thus became the quest of my life.

Now hairdressers in India are a funny lot. If you judged their haircutting ability by their own coiffeurs, you would never step into any of those salons and volunteer yourself for a hairdo. Unfortunately as a middle-class kid I didn't really have much choice, so I just used to pray, take a deep breath and keep my fingers crossed, hoping that the next free hairdresser would cut me a good deal. It came to the point that on the rare occasions that I found my haircut satisfactory, I politely asked the hairdresser's name, hoping that Id make him my regular- but no luck there too, I always forgot their names, and there never seemed to be around the next time I mustered my courage for a trip. Moving to London only worsened matters- I dabbled with the 4-pound Mr.Topper's for a while, and thats exactly how they treated my hair too- start to finish in 15 minutes! Grudgingly I've moved to Supercuts.

But my dreams have always remained unfulfilled. Month after month, it is the same story- sometimes they cut it so short that my medical-school-attending sister used my skull as a prop for a bone-identifying quiz with her friends, some other times they cut it so uneven that I have had to blame it on the paper-shredder at work. Of course, partly, I am to blame- I have lesser of a clue of what to do with my hair than they did. I still awe at those hairdressees who sit confidently on the high hairdresser's chair as if it were a director's and rattle off orders (I can imagine them shouting "Cut!")- I always preferred to utilize the time to catch up on my afternoon nap. Perhaps was a result of the realization that the result of that ordeal was going to give me some sleepless nights in the days to come.

Which in itself is ironic, since sleep is when our body hair grows the most. So, in the wake of the mishap, I get up from bed every morning, casting a glance at the mirror, hoping to catch the extra hair grown on my scalp. And so it goes, the life cycle of a haircut, the relief at it finally having grown to a respectable level, the week of basking in that joy, and the swift transition that occurs between then to the moment at work when your boss mentions, "Mate, I think you need a haircut". Hair we go again :)

The memoirs of a hopeless romantic

Soon it will be time for the last page of the 2007 calendar to present itself. And soon it will be time for the year-end India trip, the highlights of which, among other things, will be the annual writedowns of my Love life Ltd accounts. They happen as part of a very friendly, social setting called the wedding. Weddings of close female friends, who would have been my love interest at some point of my spectacular love life. Its really becoming a disturbing pattern of late.

There is absolutely nothing more disheartening for a nice guy than a unrequited love's wedding invitation. Why do they have to rub it in? It goes something like this:

Unrequited love: "Suuuummeeeeeeet!!!!! I'm so happy"
Sensible brain: "You sound like you are very much in love and are about to get married to that jerk who was worse than me in every sense. So you are off my development list. No more resources granted. I've gotta rush! Can I talk to you later?"
Nice-guy mouth: "Heyy!! tell me about it!"

Unrequited love: "Im getting married to Un-nice-guy!!!!! I'm so happy!!! I met his parents last week and it was all finalized!"
Sensible brain: "why not me?" "Why not me?"
Nice-guy mouth: "Awesome! I'm so happy for you! When is the D-day?!!?"

Boring monologue follows, and then she proudly proceeds to reveal the most disturbing statistic:

Unrequited love: "You know Sumit, you are the first friend to know!"
Nice-guy mouth: "I'm so honoured! Thanks!"
Sensible brain: "Boo hoo. %&#&*^. That's the most useless thing in the world. Its like telling a cancer patient that he's going to die, and then telling him "You are the first one to know!". No, babe. I'd rather not know. Ever heard of ignorance being bliss?"

Unrequited love: "I soooooo want you to be there! Please please don't ditch me! Listen, I'm not going to marry unless you are attending!"
Sensible brain: "I'd love to attend, darling, but only as the groom. Since you have already chosen someone for that position, I really dont see the point of wasting my time, money and emotional energy by attending your wedding. And seriously, you promise me you won't marry if I don't attend??? Sounds like a plan!"
Nice-guy mouth: "How can I not attend? Ill be there for sure, to witness you in your special moment!"

The phone line's long gone dead, but I'm still absent-mindedly holding the receiver, as if it were transmitting my thoughts back to school when the heart was more hopeful but the record equally abysmal. The annual losses then were revealed mid-year, at another festive occasion called Raksha Bandhan. I hated it every bit- as if the remembrance of having real sisters wasn't painful enough, the fashion among girls of making "muh-bole" brothers made it even more depressing. For some reason I was prime muh-bole material- every girl I liked would reveal her feelings to me in the form of a dirty string to be worn around my wrist, and parried around for the day for everyone to mock me! My mental angst soon had a physical form- I strangely started falling ill every Raksha Bandhan day. Doctors could never find the problem, but I had found the ultimate solution!

So its UL-wedding day. And as I stand there in the wedding hall, devouring yet another generous helping of the mutter paneer (food does work as a good anti-depressant), another machiavellian pattern presents itself to me. Every girl that I pine for, have a crush on, or am romantically involved with, somehow ends up getting married within a year. Of course to someone else. It was most disturbingly proved last year- she wasn't even thinking of marriage when I first met her. "Oh no, I'm really not looking to settle down soon.", I swear she told me. And 12 months later she had married someone she had known for 6 months!

So I'm really thinking of starting a matrimonial witch-craft agency, targetted at desperate parents of nubile women. Your daughter doesn't want to marry? Commitment phobia? Too career-oriented? Cant find the right man? Arrange a meeting with the renowned marriage sorcerer, Sumit Mehta aka Nice Guy! Aka the "hopeless" romantic :)