Jesse's never had a haircut. While he's generally not a hairy kid, he's beginning to look a little scruffy with the sides growing all over the place. Think Jack Nicholson on a bad hair day. So, you might say that it's a growing concern. And I'm not sure what to do. Do we attempt to trim his hair on our own? Or should I send him to a barber? While Mae and I are sort of leaning towards the latter, I have my reservations too.
(Flashback on Daddy's childhood. Cue to a cute little classical tune - Rondo Alla Turca.)
The year was 1979. I was eight. Mom held my little hand as she led me across the busy Jalan Tupai. "Uncle Barber will give you a nice haircut and you'll look very handsome," referring to the Indian barber that my grandfather and uncles used to visit. I would be the third generation of men who would patronise Kedai Gunting Rajoo. I felt a lump swell up in my little throat and promptly swallowed it. Mom smiled knowingly and gave my sweaty little hand a reassuring squeeze.
Rajoo was a good barber by most people's standard. Here was a guy who enthused over every customer that came into his shop. Yes, he was enthusiastic. And perhaps even a little overly so. Rajoo, like most Indian barbers can work the scissors like a balisong, flicking the blades in rapid succession, closing in on your hair every now and then to actually cut something. Ocassionally, those razor sharp shiny blades come menacingly close to your face like an angry wasp and you wonder if that haircut would be your last.
Rajoo swept off the bits of hair from the gargantuan barber chair. He then picked up a small wooden stool and put in on the seat of the chair. Then the huge hulking bear of a man grabbed me and propped me unceremoniously atop the hazardous pile of furniture. There, he flicked open a clean white sheet and proceeded to wrap it around my frail, skinny body (that was 1979, okay?!). Meanwhile, Mom sat on a plastic chair in the corner.
(Here, the strains of Rondo Alla Turca morphs into that twisted tune from Twilight Zone.)
Little beads of sweat form on my forehead as as sat there staring into the mirror at the large man looming over me. Poised like a orchestra conductor, Rajoo loomed over me - scissors in his right hand and a cheap plastic comb in his right. And then he began.
*Snikkt* *Snikketty-sniketty-snikkt* *Snik-snikikkt-tikkitikkt*
And then it came. *Snikkt* Then silence. And soon after, the blood-curdling screams of an 8-year old. The bastard snagged me in the ear!! Blood trickled down the right side of my face. Mom ran up to me. I hugged her, burying my face in her neck sobbing away at my near-death experience.
Rajoo cleaned up his mess and finished the haircut anyway. But that would have been the last time he ever laid his hands on my hair, or his scissors on my ear. And for the next 9 years, Mom would give me my haircut. Sure, it wasn't the best but where Mom lacked in skill, I made up in charms and good looks. *ahaks*
Jesse's a little fidgety. He's also developed a bit of separation anxiety. Not the best combination for a haircut. *sigh* I guess I will have to sleep on this a little more.
Some years back. The row of shops across Jalan Tupai was gutted in flames. Along with his neighbours, Kedai Gunting Rajoo was burnt to the ground. No, I never knew what became of the man, but with the demise of his shop my demons were finally put to rest. I had finally been released from lifelong fear of losing my ears. Rajoo will never hurt me again. It was over, at last.