When I heard that our neighbour gave her husband a haircut, I asked my wife if she would cut my hair, and she refused.
That was disappointing, because in times such as this, couples should support each other through, and my hair is not so thick, and anyway, I do not have that much hair to cut.
Speaking of haircuts, there is a poignant scene in the movie, Marriage Story (a movie that had garnered many Oscar nominations), of a happy marriage slowly breaking up even as the couple try to stay together, and the scene is of the wife cutting her husband’s hair.
That movie is from a time before Coronavirus, and this is the present, where going for a haircut seems as equally dangerous as going to a restaurant to have a quiet dinner.
It was fascinating to know what you can get when you have money, even as the rest of the world is locked up at home. There is a concierge service, where a gourmet meal, cooked by a chef, will be delivered to you
Then I found a website that said while the pandemic is slowly wiping out many services, there is huge demand for luxury services for the well-off.
Just like doctors who now do house calls on your smartphone, beauty consultants give you advice right in your living room, on Zoom, and show you how to get the frizz out of your hair or get the glow on your skin.
It was fascinating to know what you can get when you have money, even as the rest of the world is locked up at home. There is a concierge service, where a gourmet meal, cooked by a chef, will be delivered to you.
The unappetising thing about it, at least for me, is the huge cost, because the concierge brings it from some other country in a small plane. “How crazy is that?” I said. “I can get Swiggy to deliver biryani from some hole-in-wall place, at much less”, I thought to myself.
One website is offering salon services such as a manicure and pedicure, and the hairdresser will come to your home fully dressed up in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), like you were an astronaut who had just returned from space and could have dangerous minuscule aliens on your body.
That service seems very popular with men who prefer that the hairdresser come home as many are still scared to go to the barbershop.
I remember the time when a barber would come to our home and we would bring out a chair and plonk it in the backyard and I would be draped up in a bed sheet like a ghost.
In the good old days
The man had a sleek leather bag that held many instruments, and he would not only massage your head with an evil smelling oil, and crank your neck dangerously, but also cut your toe nails, trim your eyebrows and get the wax out from your ears.
(Incidentally, doctors say it is a dangerous thing to do and one can damage the ear drums. You are supposed to let the wax come out on its own).
For some reason you could never get a barber on Tuesdays in many parts of India and then I learnt that Tuesday is supposed to be an auspicious day and you are not supposed to cut your hair or nails.
My hair was very important to me at that time and I always had a small, plastic comb in my back pocket and while waiting for the bus or when I was bored, the only thing to do was to whip out the comb and comb your hair.
(It was the era when nobody had heard of smartphones or the internet, so every teenager carried a comb in the back pocket).
I have now found a site on YouTube that shows how I can cut my own hair.
— Mahmood Saberi is a storyteller and blogger based in Bengaluru, India. Twitter: @mahmood_saberi