Lockdown haircut story

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Lockdown haircut story

Aisha and Ravi meet in the cafeteria for lunch.

“Not again, rice and beans. This is the third time this week.”
“Just eat it. You’ve seen what’s happening outside, right?”
“I know, but eating the same thing every day is exhausting. I can’t stand this routine anymore.”
“The cooks here probably don’t know how to make anything else… My stomach is tired of this food.”
“It’s not just the food… Look at our daily routine: we wake up, come to eat, go back to our rooms, wake up, eat again, maybe take a walk, then eat again… it feels like we’re robots.”
“Seriously, there are so few activities. And this food is so heavy. You’ll gain weight if you keep eating like this.”
“And even if you don’t… it’s not like we’re going anywhere special.”
“You can still have a get-together. Don’t forget, you owe us a celebration for your birthday.”
“Birthday celebration now? We can’t even get a haircut, and you’re talking about a party?”
“True, the situation is so bad that even the girls are starting to look a bit rough.”
“Not all the girls. I don’t know why you’re complaining.”
“Shut up, it’s not that bad. I can manage it.”
“What are you planning to do?”
“I’m thinking… I can’t do it myself… I’ll ask Priya.”
“Are you talking about shaving? If it’s face shaving, just let me know. We do it often.”
“Idiot… I meant threading! Girls shaving… I’m not that clueless.”
“You said…”
“I said threading. Not shaving, for heaven’s sake! You act like you’re clueless.”
“Alright, my mistake.”
“If your beard gets longer, I’ll lend you a band to tie it up.”
“The beard isn’t the problem. My hair feels like it’s turning into a forest.”
“True. Let’s see how long this lasts. Wasn’t there a barber on campus? Where did he go?”
“He disappeared on the first day… smart guy.”
“Oh, so he’s gone? Then you can take my hairband. Who knows how long this will last! Did he say anything before leaving? It’s been quite a while now.”
“No idea. It seems like it’ll be a long time before things get back to normal… Once transportation resumes, I’ll leave. What about you?”
“All my relatives are at my uncle’s place, I’ll have to go there.”
“That’s risky.”
“That’s why I’m worried. For now, let’s just pass the time here. It’s so hot, too.”
“Give me a hairband, I’ll need it soon.”
“Let’s see… no. I’ll give it to you once it’s a bit longer. Maybe in three weeks.”
“Very funny… with your long hair, you can’t tell the difference.”
“Mine has grown a bit too… not much.”
“What do you know? You cut your hair once a year.”
“Who told you that? If that were the case, my hair would be down to my knees.”
“If that’s true, why do people complain so much about the hostel barber but not the salon lady?”
“The salon isn’t allowed, what can she do? She needs machines that she can’t bring here. Girls don’t just get haircuts; they get all sorts of treatments.”
“Anyway, did you plan on getting a haircut now?”
“Is it that long already? See for yourself.”
“How would I know! And even if it is, who will cut it?”
“Have you not seen my hair before? Don’t act silly!”
“Alright, fine; it’s grown quite long. Are you going to cut it now? How much will you cut?”
“Just a trim. What does my barber suggest?”
“The barber is confused… oh my. Don’t just say trim; show me with your hand how much to cut.”
“Wait… let me untie my braid.”
“Running fingers through the braid to separate the hair… is this hair or something else?”

In the evening, Aisha was already waiting at the court.

“I thought you weren’t coming.”
“Why so late? I’ve been waiting here for a while.”
“Sorry… did you bring everything?”

“Why, are these my hairs? You used to pull them… remember?”
“Because I pulled them, they’ve grown well. Tell me how much to cut… quickly. I have to go play afterward.”
“Cut a bit from the bottom. Don’t worry so much! Cut it straight and neatly.”

“Placing his hand near her elbow, should I cut this much?”
“Alright, go ahead… but do it properly.”
“Okay… I’ll hold the comb, and you turn around… I’ll start combing your hair from the front to the back.”
“Comb it well… it feels good.”
“Stand still. Don’t move… combing the hair downwards.”
“How long is it now?”
“If it were a bit longer, it would touch your waist.”
(Ravi combs her hair and picks up the scissors.)
(Aisha notices a couple of girls standing nearby, watching.)
“He places the scissors near her elbow, capturing some hair between the blades…”
“Be careful, Ravi.”
“Don’t move at all…”
“Snip… snip…”
(A lock of hair falls onto the court…)
(Aisha lets out a breath… hearing the sound of cutting.)
“Snip… snip… snip… the cutting continues.”
(A pile of hair gathers on the court, slowly spreading due to the breeze…)
“The length is cut, now let me fix the shape…”
“Oh my… shaping… you’ve become a pro…”
“I trimmed a bit on the left… to shape it up… here, look Aisha, is it okay?”
“I’ll give you my phone… take a picture and show me.”
“Here, look…”

“Wow… you cut so much?”
“You told me to.”
“You said elbow, right? How much did you cut… ugh.”
“There’s always a margin of error, you know, in all experiments… Do you like it?”
“Yeah, it’s fine… it’ll grow back during the lockdown. No worries… thank you, Mr. Barber.”
“Then why worry, you’re not going home to get scolded. If you need another trim, just let me know, I’ll cut it again.”
“Sure. What you did will last a few months without needing another cut.”
“Okay, I’m off to play… you throw away these hair clippings. If they stay here, we’ll both get in trouble.”
“Can you throw them in the dustbin on your way? I’m going over to Priya’s. Please, please, please.”
“You pack them up, I’ll throw them away later. I did the cutting, bye… see you at dinner.”
“Alright, bye…”
(Aisha starts gathering the hair… and runs her hands through her own hair.)

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