I am Sumathi. I live in Madras. I am 21 years old. I am in 2nd year of college. My skin color is light brown and had thick black hair reaching almost my waist till this morning. Today I had all my hair cut off and had my head shaved. Last week, my professor noticed lice in my hair. Over the weekend my mom tried to comb my hair with and clean it. So she struggled with my hair but every time she thought I was clean she saw another one. I myself felt so bad because my head was hurting. She had to pull my hair so much to get the nits out. Then she said I am so tired, Sumi, why don’t you get a haircut.
That way we can get rid of the lice easily. I was happy to get out of my hair being pulled and combed so much so I agreed.
I did not know what she meant by haircut was actually a head shave.
So this morning she took me to the market. Before we went I put a rubber band and made a pony tail out of may hair. When I was doing that I did not know that on my way back I would not even need the rubber band.
There are a couple of barbers in our neighborhood. She took me to the one that has a chair under a tree. He also has a mirror hung by a nail on the tree. She asked him if he cuts girl’s hair. He said he will charge a little extra but will still be cheaper than the other fellow inside the mall. So my mom said to him this is my daughter. We need to get her hair cut. He said very well. He asked me to get up in the chair and threw a large white sheet which he tied around my neck. Then she asked my mother how she wants my hair. My mom asked him to come to the side and whispered something in his ear which I could not hear.
He came back and said to me. Honey have you had a haircut before. I was so nervous I said no. He said we are going to give you a nice haircut, but you must sit down and relax. It won’t hurt a bit. He sprayed water in my hair and it felt like rain drops. When my hair was thoroughly wet he started massaging them with strong hands. Mom stayed there to hold my hand.
The barber took out a shiny razor and wiped it on a leather belt. Then he put a firm hand on my head asking me to bend. My mom was at my side. At that time I felt a light sliding and pulling sensation on my scalp. He started on the top of the crown. My head was so bent forward that I could not see what was he doing. With next few minutes large clumps of my long hair started to fall in my lap. He straightened my neck and came in front to work where my bangs were. My eyes were covered with long hair but I could see a little glimpse in the mirror.
He was shaving my head. I was going to be bald soon. I thought it was my imagination but felt like I was going to cry. With a big sob I asked my mom, Are you getting me shaved bald. My mom squeezed my hand. Baby, it is necessary, because of the lice. Now you be brave and sit tight. It will be over in a few minutes and then I will get you an ice cream.
The barber said Honey is it hurting you? You sit still. I will finish it very soon. He worked fast and soon I saw a large clump of my damp hair slid on my feet. With that I would clearly see myself in the mirror. My bangs were going away and my forehead was getting more prominent as he was shaving more and more hair from the front. Soon I looked like a balding old man with long hair from the sides. By then I was sobbing and crying silently.
He came on my right side and started shaving around my ears. My mom stopped him for a minute to take out the earrings from both of my ears so he could bend them without causing any pain. Throughout she was telling what a good girl I am and that it is OK to get the head shaved and be bald for while, the hair will back grow in no time, etc. etc.
Meanwhile the barber continued his work. After clearing the right side he stopped to spray again on the left side and the nape where I still had the hair and they were getting dry. Then he massaged them more gently this time. I had a chance to see myself again in the mirror. Half bald and half with long hair.
After getting my hair wet again he took his long razor again and started to shave on the left side. The area around my ear was getting cleared and the clumps of damp hair were sliding past my shoulder on the cape. Finally he went to the back of my head and the nape. My head was bent forward again. He combed the hair and shaved them with short strokes stabilizing the skin behind them. Then he took the white sheet away and shook all the hair off.
I could not believe I was bald. Before I could move he placed a towel around my neck, took out some gel out of a tube and with a small brush started making foam on my head adding some water. Once my head was covered with foam he took out his razor again, sharpened it and went all over taking quick strokes starting from the hairline on my forehead backwards, then on my temples, around my ears, holding the skin firmly backwards with the other hand.
By now I had stopped crying because I could not cry any more. When he finished shaving he took the towel and rubbed of any traces of foam on my head. I felt itching sensations and wanted to scratch but my mom was holding my hand. He took out some oil from a bottle and put on my head to sooth it. Finally he said I was done. I got out of the chair. My mom paid him and then she asked me what flavor of ice cream I wanted.
I did not feel like having ice cream so we started to walk home. Then I noticed she had brought a head scarf with her which she gave to me. I wrapped it around my head, so no one could see, but it still seem like I was bald and had no hair. When we got home she wanted me to take a bath so now I am in the shower looking at my shaved head in the large mirror and wondering what will I do when I go back to college tomorrow.