In a month's time, I have a big, fat wedding to attend. One, where I will meet a zillion people I don't know and navigate these unchartered, choppy waters armed only with a smile. I thought a smart haircut would add to the armour and decided to get one.
The only problem was that I had just moved cities and was in a strange place where I had no local, favourite hair-snipper. I began my hunt for a stylist cautiously. I casually asked people I met whether they would recommend anybody. None of them could. They all in fact, looked slightly alarmed and gave vague suggestions, saying that nobody they knew does short hair.
I looked around me and it was true. Every single girl I had met here had hair below her shoulders. The partner was no help either, he just shook his head, his long, flowing tresses swishing side to side, unhelpfully.
Aunty Google gave me a few answers. I closed my eyes and chose one. It was an international chain, which even the fashion blogs recommended. Holding my fear close and praying to the gods of style, I walked into a swanky parlour, gleaming in glass and chrome.
The experience began well. A pregnant lady with the sweetest face, settled me into a gigantic chair, washed, shampooed and conditioned my hair. Then, she actually gave me a head message, while the chair simultaneously ironed out the knots in my back. Automatically, I seeped into a semi-conscious kind of zone, where every pore of me was so relaxed, I was almost sleep walking.
I floated towards the stylist's throne and sat down with the positivity of a Cheshire cat who had just got an awesome belly rub. To cut this sad story short, the lady butchered my hair. I have no clue what she did but she chopped off any semblance of style and left behind a crude thatch. I now, officially looked like someone who had escaped a prison or a devotee who had made an impulsive offering of hair to a benevolent god.
There was nothing to do. I paid the bill, skipped the tip and walked out. Around me, a large group of ladies wearing hijabs floated by. I enviously thought they don't have to ever worry about bad haircuts.
Every mirror I passed in that mall sunk me into further despair. There was no escape now, I would have to go to the wedding looking like a coconut head with a few strands of brown fibre. Feeling quite sorry for myself, I headed for a therapeutic chocolate ice-cream.
By the time I finished eating two large scoops of cold, creamy yumminess my sadness softened. It got philosophical. At least, a haircut, unlike some other blunders I have made in life, was a mistake, which could be rectified. There was no permanent damage to mind or body. Only the ego was hurt, and I guess, I should feel grateful about that.
‘Still Figuring It Out’ a funny, sad, questioning take on adulthood will appear every Saturday on Asianet Newsable. Arathi Menon is the author of Leaving Home With Half a Fridge, a memoir published by Pan Macmillan. She tweets here. The views expressed here are her own.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:58 PM IST