Summer has truly arrived in Chennai, and an appropriate revision of hairstyle was called for. Last evening, finding myself with some time in which I had nothing else to do, I went to the barber. After thinking of various alternatives, I did something I have never done before – had my head shaved!
Having never had a shorn head before, here are a few observations I have been making:
The first thing you notice when you have a shaven head is how airy it is. The joy of feeling the breezes playing about your shaven head has to be felt to be believed!
The second thing is the feel of everything against your head – its totally different without hair! As I stepped out of the barber shop, I tried to put on my cap. It rasped against my head, and refused to settle smoothly against my freshly-shaven scalp. When I feel my head with my hands, the feeling of scalp aginst palm is a new and fresh feeling. The shower is a totally new experience without hair – the spray strikes you and flows from you at completely alien angles. It took a bit of time before I got used to it. This morning, as I was driving to work, every time I leant back against the head-rest, it felt different. Right now, the draught from the air conditioning vent is gently caressing my scalp – I hope I don’t get a cold from it.
The third is people’s reactions to the new look. Vidya immediately declared it a disaster, and has since been letting me know she doesn’t like it and doesn’t approve. The security guards at my housing colony have not been recognising me and have been giving me quizzical looks. On my morning walk, the newspaper guy kept looking at me, until suddenly recognition dawned upon him and he broke into a smile. The car-cleaning guys looked clean through me. Magesh reached for the camera when he saw me, while Murali was non-plussed. The best reaction was from one of Vidya’s colleagues who lives in the same apartment complex as we do. He saw me, smiled at me and kept walking, as though nothing was different about me!
Getting your head shaved is like getting a tattoo – it is a lifestyle choice, only less permanent!