Friday, September 08, 2017

Hairstylists, Those Unsung Magicians

Hairstylists are like the Dark Knight. The heroes we deserve, our silent hair guardians and frizz protectors. Now, there's no need to chase them down and hunt them, thats being a bit dramatic. I'll get straight to the point now, (after my failed attempt at humour), finding a hairstylist who understands you, every inch of your hair and your innumerable "beauty insecurities", is equivalent to finding a pot of gold, at the end of the rainbow.  

A good hairstylist is like Pablo Picasso. They can create magic, faster than you can say abracadabra. You will walk out of their salons looking and feeling like a diva. My tryst with hairstylists started off rather unpleasantly, with my mother calling all the shots. (I don't blame her of course, how can you trust a 4 year old to make sane haircut decisions). To cut a long story short, I was made to look like a boy till I was 12 years old. 

By the time I was 13, I announced to her adamantly, that I wanted the Nick Carter haircut. So off we went, mother and daughter, to the nearest Chinese salon with exotic looking helper girls. I sat optimistically on their plush children's sofa/chair, as one of their hairstylists began to furiously chop off large chunks of my hair. 

In 10...9...8...7 seconds, I began howling like a wounded puppy. My mother sprung up like a Cheetah, from the guest sofa and ran towards me. "I..I...want to look a girl mummmmaaaaaa", I wailed red faced and rather incoherently. She pointed an accusatory finger, at my helpless hairstylist and gave her a verbal thrashing of a lifetime. Before the dumbstruck woman could say anything back to my warrior mommy, she yanked me out of the chair and walked out of the salon in a huff. I kept wailing, throughout the 30 minute car-ride home, as my mother profusely apologised to me.

Fast-forward to 7 years later, we found another Chinese hairstylist. Thankfully, she was amazing. Mum and I visited her every month. Even today, my mother trusts no one else (except Susy aunty of Liu's Beauty Parlour) with her hair.

I relocated to Bombay in 2014 and was in a fix once again. I was clueless about where to go, to cut my hair. I tried all the overly hyped, wallet-ripping, Bollywood-type salons only to discover that I missed Susy aunty more than anyone else in the world. A great hairstyle is everything for me. It builds my confidence and makes me believe I can do anything. Without that, I feel invisible, ugly even.

Slowly and steadily, I discovered two gems. My personal Sweeney Todds! Unfortunately I had to discontinue my sessions with both, as their salons are at the other end of town. I now visit a salon closer to home. The hairstylist is an enterprising young man, who is an animator turned hairstylist. He left his successful animation career, to pursue his passion of being a hairstylist. One of our topics of discussion today, was about short hair. He is an expert in blunt cuts, under-cuts and every imaginable hairstyle designed for women who love short hair. 

We both agreed upon the fact that, Mumbai (supposedly one of the most developed metros in India) is still quite unaccepting of women with short hair. Both, his wife and I, are subject to the most peculiar stares, thanks to our choice of hairstyle. We laughed over the fact, that most of the stares are received from women themselves! If I'm found walking hand-in-hand with my husband in my own apartment complex, I'm stared at. If I colour my hair an elegant burgundy, I'm stared at. If I wear shorts, I'm stared at. If I wear a saree, I'm stared at. 

What exactly are you looking for? Do you want to compliment my hair? The credit goes to my awesome hairstylist. Do you want to compliment me for my choice of clothes? The credit goes to my mother, for teaching me to dress elegantly at all times. Staring just for the heck of staring is really rude and to be brutally honest, very country bumpkinish. Snap out of it. Preferably, now!

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