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The Haircut
by Preeth Ganapathy

‘Give me a haircut,’ my husband told me one fine, sunny morning. ‘Salons are closed because of the lockdown and this is getting unmanageable.’ He pointed to his unruly mop of hair.

I could not, for the life of me, imagine myself ploughing through a mass of hair, causing stray wisps to fall on the ground like confetti. But, I was glad my husband felt that I could don yet another hat. Only, I hoped that he would not need one, after the haircut.

I scoured every nook and cranny of the house to find a pair of scissors and comb, most suited for the assignment. I got right down to business with the lofty aim of being a successful novice hairdresser. My husband sat on a grey plastic chair. I threw a sparkling white towel around his bare shoulders.

’Let it not look like as if a starving rat feasted on my hair while I was asleep,’ he said as if doling out a software requirement.

‘Fret not. You are in safe hands,’ I assured him, just the way my hairdresser did when handling a difficult client. ‘Take a deep breath and enjoy,’ I added for good measure.

I uttered a small prayer as I armed myself with scissors in my right hand and comb in my left.  I felt like a warrior about to enter the battlefield with a bow and arrow. ‘Lift the strands of hair with the comb and cut only the excess,’ my husband offered some last minute words of advice.    

I began snipping the hair at the back of his head. Our toddler son perched atop his stool, watched from the sidelines in uncharacteristic silence. After a few iterations, I was satisfied that the back was trimmed short and directed my energies towards the sides. ‘You have to trim both sides equally short, so they don’t look uneven,’ my husband voiced his opinion.

‘Please don’t tell me how to do it,’ I said with mock irritation. Minutes later, our son, decided that he had had enough of watching the game like a passive observer. He probably thought that he should help his mother and began alighting from the stool.

‘Don’t come down, there are cockroaches all over,’ I said, afraid that he might start sampling the fallen hair on the marble floor.

‘Play with your Spiderman toy in the room,’ my husband said, at the same time.

Our son decided to get back on his stool and we heaved a sigh of relief. He continued to sit there till the end of the messy hair cutting business.

‘There’s more hair on the floor than on my head,’ my husband said, peering into the mirror that I held out in front of him. ’But, great job,’ he said immediately when he sensed that I was about spew invisible fireballs of anger from my nostrils.

At that moment, our son said ,‘Papa looking good,’ - his first full sentence and my joy knew no bounds.