It was 8pm on a Friday when Roshni Rajkumar and her daughter Jahnavi entered Mr Mohammed’s small, pristine barbershop. Roshni was a school teacher, about 35 years of age and had 2 daughters, one of 2 years and one of 10 years. She was about 5 ft6 , slim, gorgeous and had magnificent auburn tresses that reached past her mid back. Her hair was very thick and had a slight wave to it. She didnt spend much time caring for it as she didnt have much time at all, almost all of it consumed by her daughters. Despite her being fed up and not paying much attention to it, it still looked amazing. Her elder daughter Jahnavi was tall for her age and had hair even longer than her mother’s, reaching to her waist. It was jet black and almost rivalled her mother’s in thickness.
Usually these ladies would opt to have their haircuts done in the salon by Jenny, who had been trimming Roshni’s hair for about 12 years now. However, Jahnavi’s week was so hectic; every evening was occupied by either dance practice, soccer practice swimming or some other extra curricular activity. Jahnavi’s unmanageable hair had been hindering her while she participated in these sporting activities so with her consent, Roshni decided to carry her for a much needed haircut. With their busy schedule, she had no idea when next a salon trip would be possible. However, her nephews’ barber was situated 5 minutes away from where Jahnavi did her dance practice. With no other viable option, Roshni decided to carry her dauhgter to Mr. Mohammed’s barbershop.
“Next” called the barber as he dismissed his previous client with a fresh trim. Jahnavi got up on to the big barber chair after being urged on by her mom. The barber smiled and greeted her making sure that the little girl was comfortable on the big leather chair.
“So what are we doing today? Just a trim?” he inquired.
“Actually no. She needs to get rid of that huge mass of hair; its keeping her back. Can you give her a short haircut please…. how about just over her shoulders?
“No problem” said the barber as he placed a piece of tissue around the girl’s neck and caped her with a small black cape, intended mainly for little boys. Her legs were long enough to reach the footrest. Mr. Mohammed pumped up the chair many times, to compensate for her lack of height.
“Lets get started!’ he said grabbing a gleaming, silver pair of shears and a comb.
“So do you have experience cutting girls’ hair?’ asked Roshni inquisitively as Mr. Mohammed spun her daughter around to face the waiting area and began combing her long black mane.
“Not that much. But I give my daughter Arielle and my wife Mylene haircuts in this very shop. Boy do I shear them good. I often give them shorter haircuts so that it would be more manageable. In fact I really enjoy cutting their hair.” Roshni thought that the barber wasn’t ideal, but she took comfort in the fact that he had some experience giving girls short haircuts.
The barber picked his spot and began snipping away. Jahnavi heard the steel blades grating together as they sliced into her hair. She smiled bravely as the barber continued slicing off fourteen-inch strands of her hair, though she didnt really want to part with her locks. He worked slowly, combing and measuring each section before closing the blades. Roshni watched as the barber continued combing and cutting her daughters hair until it was reduced to her shoulders.
“Very nice” she commented as the barber finished combing Jahnavi’s hair into the final long bob hairstyle. Mr. Mohammed removed the cape and Jahnavi got up smiling. She played with her hair a little bit and her satisfaction was evident.
“Okay sweetie lets go!” said Roshni as she pulled out some money from her purse for the barber.
” Wait, aren’t you getting a haircut mommy? Havent you been saying that youre fed up of long hair and want a haircut?”
After a moment, Roshni responded,” Yes but Ill get mine cut in a salon.”
“But why cant you get your hair cut in a barbershop like me. Mr. Mohammed is good at giving girls short haircuts!” she said gesticulating towards her freshly chopped hair.
Mr. Mohammed, broom in hand getting ready to sweep up the massive pile of long black hair on the floor, overheard the conversation and intervened. “It would be my pleasure to cut your hair. Plus its not like I have any clients waiting… I was just about to close my shop for the day!”
Roshni took a moment to consider. She had no idea when her busy schedule would permit her to go to the salon. Also Mr Mohammed was quite a good barber. In addition, when she suggested the idea of her getting her hair cut shorter in the salon in the future to her husband, he seemed quite eager and enthusiastic about it. What did she really have to lose?
Ok she agreed hesitantly, with an unsure smile plastered across her face.
” How short are we going?” asked the barber, Roshni still in the waiting area.
“I want to go pretty short but I dont have a style in mind,” she said.
“How about this. Its my wife and daughter by the way. I gave them both the same haircut last week,” he said as he put down the broom hurriedly, traipsed through the hair covered ground over to Roshni and then produced a picture of his wife on his cell phone. It showed Mylene, caped in this very barbershop, with dark brown hair all over the cape. She was sporting a very short bob (a wedge bob) with a buzzed nape. He showed her another pic of his 22 year old daughter Arielle, in an identical situation, except that the hair on her head and the cape was jet black. Roshni thought it looked very cute.
“Thats perfect!” she exclaimed. She was actually excited. However, her excitement was surpassed by that of the barber, as he grinned widely. He accompanied Roshni back to the big barber chair and sat her down. Her high heels rested on the footrest and her hands gripped the armrests tightly as he produced a strip of tissue and placed the neckstrip around her neck snugly. After pinning up her hair, the barber pulled out a clean white cape and draped it around her body, fastening it around her neck. As he unpinned the long thick, auburn hair and let it lay on the cape, her hair looked astonishing, contrasting with the cape. It was almost a shame that most of this hair was going to be clipped off and on the floor. The barber pumped up the barber chair about 4 clicks and using a big comb, combed out the thick mass of hair, past her shoulders and down her back. Roshni felt a pang of anxiety. She hoped that her husband would like her haircut after all. She had only been to a barbershop once before, when she was young. Her father brought her and buzzed off all her hair in the name of a summer cut. Jahnavi looked on at her mother, caped and in the complete control of the barber. Curiousity engulfed her. She had seen her mother get trimmed at the salon but never had she even thought that she would see her being shorn in the barbershop. The barber ran his fingers through her mom’s hair and played with it a little.
“Wow thats very thick and big. Im going to use the clippers on you; it will make life a lot easier.” he said as he resumed combing Roshni’s gorgeous mane.
“It wont hurt right?”she asked. The barber reassured her, after which she complied. The barber spun the chair around so that she was now facing the waiting area, Jahnavi getting a full view of the shearing her mother was about to receive. Mr. Mohammed pushed her head downward gently so that her chin was nestled on her breasts and her eyes were fixed downwards on her high heel shoes. Roshni Rajkumar was now ready to be barbered. The barber combed out a large section of her hair on the right side of her head, the comb holding the bulk of hair in place. Roshni jumped when she heard the ominous sound of clippers roaring to life behind her. On rare occasions she had witnessed their use in the salon on a client who sought a radically brief style. She knew how much damage they could inflict. Never in a million years did she imagine her own precious locks being cropped with clippers. Using the clippers over comb, the barber quickly passed the machine along the length of the comb. It hungrily devoured her luscious copper coloured locks. Roshni watched as the chunk of hair fell onto the cape and slid off onto the floor.
“Wow” exclaimed Jahnavi, as her eyes lingered on her mother’s butchered hair. Roshni looked up at her daughter but the barber pushed her head back down and continued his work.
For the next few minutes she sat in the barber chair anxiously as the barber repeatedly combed and clipped her tresses off. It was raining hair. Roshni winced everytime a clump of auburn hair slid onto her lap. Mr. Mohammed cleaned up the edges so that they were no longer than the chin.
Now it was time for him to buzz her nape.The barber placed his hand on the top of her head, gently forcing her chin down toward her collar bone. She felt the clippers on her bare neck, and then heard their deepening growl as they marched up the back of her head. Roshni desperately tried thinking of something other than the amount of hair the barber was removing, but the evidence was all around her; there was nowhere in her field of vision that she wouldnt see large clumps of shorn, reddish-brown hair. She closed her eyes and stoically endured the shearing the barber was administering enthusiastically. After many passes of the machine, her nape was now neatly buzzed down to a #2. She opened her eyes when the clippers switched off. The barber smiled and playfully ran his fingers through her freshly clipped hair. Then he vigorously combed her short hair into style.The barber asked for permission to take a picture, then procceeded to do so, capturing Roshni, caped in the barber chair with her short wedge bob haircut and colassal piles of auburn hair all over the cape and floor. Her picture joined Mylene and Arielle as memories of the women who got shorn in the barbershop.
Mr. Mohammed dusted the excess hair of her face and neck, and spun her around to face the mirror. Roshni squealed in delight. She loved her short hair. The barber removed the cape allowing lots more clipped off hair to join the rest of auburn hair on the ground, as well as Jahnavi’ s black hair. After her neckstrip was removed, she dismounted from the barber chair, still grinning.
“What do you think of my new haircut, sweetie?” she asked Jahnavi.
“It looks amazing mom. In fact, can I get my hair cut like that?.”
Before she could reply, Mr. Mohammed agreed and sat Jahnavi down in the chair once again. He caped her, then cut and clipped a whole lot of Jahnavi’s remaining locks until she also had an ultra short bob and buzzed nape. She also had her picture taken before she was uncaped and allowed to reunite with her mother where they spent a minute feeling each other’s shorn napes, Mr.Mohammed proud to have barbered these two ladies. By now the amount of black and auburn hair on the barbershop floor was astonishing. Mr. Mohammed would now have to sweep away these enormous piles of hair, but it was worth it, as he thoroughly enjoyed giving Roshni and Jahnavi haircuts. Roshni thanked the barber profusely and paid him handsomely before she and daughter departed as 2 shorn barbershop girls, and not for the last time.
That evening, Roshni’s husband was very surprised when he saw his 2 barbered ladies enter the house. He absolutely loved the haircut, and boy did he prove that to Roshni in bed that night.