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Tuesday, October 8, 2019

The Rough Cut!


It was long overdue. The fact of the matter was that there was a problem in that very part of the anatomy that needed the action which therefore had to be postponed indefinitely. Paban’s wife had been complaining a lot; that he looked horribly ruffled, the overgrowth flowing all around uncontrollably and so on. She understood his problem, but looking at him in that state day after day she seemed to forget the unfortunate fact temporarily. Paban often explained to her, ‘Let me recover reasonably well first. Then I’ll definitely complete the task. Rest assured.’ But, as is the way with wives, her taunts, despair continued unabated, Paban accepted.  
Paban also had a somewhat contrasting situation. A few of his friends always appreciated his looks in that state and exclaimed that he really looked very handsome. One of them even took a snap of Paban at a family event, and displayed it proudly justifying his assertion. Paban also liked the way he looked. He showed the photo to his wife, but she remained expressionless. He was not at all surprised by her indifference.

One fine morning Paban felt that finally that long overdue action could well be carried out. So he set out to the nearest salon which was quite well kept and air-conditioned. Yes, it was his heady overgrowth that needed a cut. One of the young boys there made him sit in the empty spongy chair before the mirror and waited for his instructions. Paban told him very clearly that the hair had much overgrown and due to the summer heat he was facing lots of problems apart from losing control in setting it. So he gave strong instructions to make it very short. ‘No need for styles or looks, just make it short.’ The boy confirmed it again, and then set out with his operation. Paban expected the normal scissors to be used as on all earlier occasions. However, before he could foresee any lurking danger the boy lifted the motored hair cutting machine, and applied it on the right side of his head. The machine whirred around his right ear, and he still had no inkling of anything serious. He was rather happy that the machine, used for the first time on his head, didn’t at all scratch at the head skin.

Over with his right-side operation the boy stopped and asked Paban to take a look at the mirror and approve for the operation to be completed. Paban picked up his specs and looked at himself hopefully. He was in for a great shock. He never experienced such a tormenting sight in his entire hair-cutting history.

The machine almost cleaned him up on the right side leaving, perhaps, only the scalp. He was furious; more so because the boy was asking his approval only after completing the horrendous action. He calmed himself the next moment. It was my instruction to make it very short, he thought. How could the poor boy know what ‘shortness’ Paban exactly wanted? Then there was the overwhelming fact; with his right side shamefully bared he couldn’t possibly go for moderation on all other parts of the head. ‘You have totally destroyed me, exposed all my gray hairs too. Why didn’t you use the scissors? In all salons I visit they always use those manual things only. Anyway nothing can be done now, carry on, dear!’ Paban said sadly. The boy justified the faster speed and efficiency of the electronic device.

When Paban returned home his wife was out on some job. Seized with an almost vindictive desire he very tenderly took a selfie showing his head prominently and sent it to her mobile phone. Prompt came her angry reply, ‘Why did you leave that much hair? You should’ve cleaned up completely! You birdy bald!’
As it happened a few days later Paban met his photographer friend concerning some work. His friend immediately expressed his shock and dismay at the sight presented by Paban. ‘How can you do this? No respect for appreciating friends? How heavenly you looked the other day…and now!  My good God!’

Paban always had this dilemma regarding his hair cuts. Some, prominently his wife and mother, never approved his long uncontrollable hair saying the overgrowth hid his beautiful face. While some friends, both male and female, always appreciated his hair, particularly when overgrown. Who is right and who is wrong, is the eternal question in his mind. Once his wife made a caustic remark, ‘Don’t believe your friends. They don’t want you to look smart; they like to keep you as an ordinary nondescript person!’

Till this day Paban doesn’t have an answer.

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