In the barbershop
I knew that the fate of may hair was I the hands of my father and the barber. There wasn’t much left to do after this. I walked to the haircutting chair and sat there. Kamal tied a tissue around my neck tightly and put a cape on me. “Now you’re ready. Let me fix this and clean this mop on your head” said Kamal.
He started sparying water on my hair. He kept sparying until my hair was completely wet. He then massaged that water into my head, swayed my head back and forth. All the memories from my previous haircut were coming back to me. “Sir, what haircut are we giving her today?” He asked my father.
“First I want you to get rid of all this length covering her forehead and ears” my father replied, and Kamal got to work. He picked up his scissors and started chopping off my front hair close to my scalp. I was watching myself in the mirror and watching them fall off. I somehow managed to grow my hair a few inches in such a long time, and they were being cut off of my head in minutes.
Kamal brought his scissors from front to sides to back, cutting all over and leaving me with an allover length of 1 inch. It was a boy cut, so I was looking like a boy. I started crying even though I knew it would make my father very angry, I just couldn’tcontrol it anymore. “Is this short enough sir?” Asked the barber. My father came near me and started ruffling my short hair. “Hmmm… this is longer than the cut you gave her last time, and that cut grew out so quickly. I want something that takes longer to grow back, her final exams are near….shave the back and sides with a 0 gaurd Kamal. It will take a lot of time to grow”
Kamal popped his clippers to life and shave my neck high up. I was crying a lot. To humiliate me even more, he tucked my ear and shaved everything above it. My back and sides were brought to stubble. I cried so hard and almost screamed to my father “this is enough papa. Please let’s just go now.!!!”
“How dare you take that tone with me??” My father said. “Kamal just cut it all off. That will teach her a real lesson. I don’t want to see a single hair on her head!”
I was numb at this point. Kamal took out his straight razor, he changed the blade, he placed the razor on my forehead and looked at my father. My father nodded and gave him a ‘go ahead’ and he started shaving my hair. I looked in the mirror as my naked scalp came out. The razor felt very weird on my head. I could feel the cool air on my head now. Soon enough, I was completely bald. May father came near me and rubbed is hand on my head. He told the barber to shave again with shaving cream.
The barber put the shaving foam on my head and massaged it properly. His fingers were making contact with my newly shaven skin, it was weird. He again took out his straight razor and shaved me completely bald and smooth. He then put some oil on my head and massaged vigorously. It was very humiliating. I couldn’t stop thinking what would happen after this, how will I face everyone.
He was finally done and I was uncaped. All the men in the barbershop were staring at me and some were laughing. “Ladki ko ganja kara diya aapne?” (You balded a girl?) Said a man laughing and smiling”. It was a horrible experience.
We left the barbershop and I was feeling exposed and naked the whole way back home. My mother was shocked but then she said that a bald head will be much easier for me to deal with.
Next day in school, almost everyone was making fun of me. Some of the teachers too were very shocked. My parents didn’t let me wear hats or scarves or anything to cover my head. A shaved head was punishment for not scoring good grades.
Fate was sealed
3 weeks passed and I was in the middle of my exams. It was a preparatory leave and I was sleeping as I had studied the whole night. My father woke me up and said, “I see your hair has grown.” My hair were like bristles of a brush, maybe 1 cm in length and my head was feeling like a sandpaper. My father continued, “we need to make you clean and smooth again, get up and get ready.”
He took me to the barbershop, forced me into the haircutting chair. Kamal was confused, he asked “her hair is really short right now, what do you want me to do?”
“Isko firse takla krdo, sab saaf krdo” (make her bald again, clean everything) my father said. Kamal quickly put water on my head and massaged it into my head properly, took out his straight razor, changed his blade and started shaving again. Minutes later I was shaved smooth and my father was satisfied. “See you in 3 weeks” said Kamal while we were leaving.
After that day, I was shaved bald every 3 weeks for the rest of my school life, my fate was sealed. Whenever my father saw even a little bit of grown hair, he shaved me smooth. I was never allowed to cover my head and always keep my head freshly shaven and smooth. I lived a life of constant humiliation.