The haircut

Time had eroded everything but the memory of his smile…..And of course there were the other things. The way he held the door open as I walked into the saloon holding dad’s hand. The way he pat my shoulders with both his hands as I sat on the seat atop a cushion specially kept for us kids. He would deliberately spray cold water on my ear to make me chuckle and chuckle I did with my eyes closing and neck swaying downward to avoid the water, catching a glimpse of  dad looking up from his newspaper and observing with a smile in the mirror.

He fluttered from table to table, cracking jokes and mouthing the songs playing on the radio. He terrorized me with the razor and mock-threatened to shave off all my hair, gesturing at a bald/ balding person in the saloon.

Even when it was dad’s turn, he kept engaging with me. Punching my newspaper as he walked by to draw a scowl from me. He would then reply with an almost similar scowl and would have me in a split of laughter.

It had been a cocoon and an absolute, the visit to the saloon. Always a Sunday, always in the morning and always a haircut from him. On occasions he would not be in the saloon (sick/ on leave) and I’d complain when I saw him the next time, only to draw the familiar smile.

Now, almost 15 years later, I feel a bit guilty to not have gone to meet him. Say a final goodbye before I moved to Mumbai. I wonder if he waited for a few Sundays, waiting for me and Dad to come. Did he miss me and shrug away the memory with a smile?

He had talked about his family, a home in some faraway place, his favorite singer, actor and (with a blush) his favorite actress. All the details are now forgotten. Time had eroded everything but the memory of his smile…..And of course there were the other things.

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7 thoughts on “The haircut”

  1. Life is made of these memories n mostly of those people who are not ” achievers” in material terms but who love what they do…. and that love touches every soul who comes around them

    Bravo Viren…. For resurrecting fond memories

  2. Awesome !!…I still do the same thing at the saloon…I have a fixed place and a fixed person…next when I go will share contacts with him…👍…small things can change the world…at least the world you look at !!

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