i'm happy to inform you that now i'm the proud owner of a beard.
therefore the need to go to a barber's shop to have the damned thing trimmed. i try and make it there every sunday. run by goblins, and mostly for them, the place provides a television, a poster with several korean men wearing complicated 80's hairdos and a fat man geting a facial done, sans the cucumbers. this time, a man sitting next to me is geting a mullet. there's a vhs tape with chuck norris and two machine guns on the cover, the reference shot for the desired haircut. and the barber's like a trained professional at it, snipping away at the details and getting them all wrong. jeena marna tere sang is playing on the overhead tv. a man in a moustache and a t-shirt (note bourgeoisie pretensions) takes a swig out of a bottle of whisky and bursts into the next room to rape raveena tandon, hullabaloo follows and an old man inervenes wth a stick and is consequently beaten and thrown off. meanwhile an ape has started his journey towards the house. the drunk gets back to sruggling with raveena tandon as the ape makes an entrance, notices a scorpion walking about the place and throws it into the man's t-shirt. the man collapses into a shelf of utensils, gets covered in flour and gets a pot stuck to his head. the ape meanwhle starts applauding. raveena tandon is suddenly laughing. the man rushes out of the house with no help from his sense of vision on account of having a pot stuck to his head. the neighbours find this strage creature threatening and pounce upon him with pitchforks and lathis. the ape continues applauding.
meanwhle, the barber is done with his trimming and asks me whether i want a massage. there's a stunned silence in the room as he says this, even the actors in the tv have gone quiet. a lined page, torn out from a copy saying 'No Smoking Please!' flutters scotch taped on the wall. now i've heard about this a lot. apparently a man with magical fingers kneads your face and makes your cheeks, neck, nose and ears crack. hearing the crack is a human condition comparable only to that microsecond of bliss after acheving orgasm or taking a piss after great denial. i succumbed. 'shahnaz husain ya champi?', he asked me. doubt. apparently, and i remembered this from a friend's experience, these massage oils are the harbingers of allergy. i murmur my dissent but it's too late, the man is already rubbing some paraffin smelling substance onto my face. my protests go unheeded. i finally make a loud retort. the man, in return, holds my neck and makes it go crack. post the joy, i realise that i can't move, the crack has me paralysed. any attempt to move simultaneously injects a thousand needles into me. i can see the eyes of the man with the facial looking at me. the man behind me is still reading his dainik jagran. the two children next to him are staring at the television. my man is continuing to wax my face. the atmosphere is, by and large, unperturbed by what's happening to me. as soon as he's done murdering my face with the paraffin, he presses this red button on the table in front of me which i had mistaken for a bottle cap. suddenly the life sized anil kapoor poster opens up and four mustanda pehelwans appear out of it. i'm grabbed and held horizontal and carried back into the secret opening. as i see the sunlight fadng, i know it's closing.
i'm taken into this hamam like place, there are these steamy fireplaces around a slab of stone. i'm placed on the slab and my clohes are taken off. i remember that my spectacles are on the shelf in front of where i was getting my hair cut. in the blur that is my state of vision, i see a monstrously fat man, naked and draped in oil. 'no', i manage to scream. but in my state of paralysis, it is little more than a whisper. the man comes running and leaps upon me.
i pass out.
i wake up fully clothed, sitting in the barber's shop. i put my spectacles on and get up to leave. i pull out the 10 odd i pay the barber everytime.
20, he says.