Saturday, December 6, 2008



She is Miss Kim.
She is a Vietnamese.
She is a tonsorial artist in Sunnyvale, California.
Can I call her a Barb-ress—a female barber?
( I must ask my good “Grammar” friend Lawrence in T V M whether there is such a word –Emperor—Empress and so Barber-Barb-ress”).
I went this morning to “Silk Cuts”—a barber shop. A spacious affair—40 feet by 40 feet, well lit and well ventilated.
Only two elevated chairs. I found a lady sitting on one and a young lady attending to her hair.
I waited and found the November 2008 issue of Reader’s Digest. I read one article and hoped another barber will arrive and my chance will arise. But no second barber arrived and I found that the work of that lady customer’s coiffure was over.
In a minute this Barb-ress said,
“HI”, ever so sweetly and announced, “Now, your turn, Sir”.

She must have been 22 years—pleasant smile, in perfect health and in a bob-cut style—brown hair with strains of gold. Attired in jet black denim jeans and t-shirt, she held a scissor in one hand and towel in the other.

I ascended the elevated chair and was covered with a sparkling new overall and this lady asked me how I wanted it done.
“Short, military or level” —I gasped uncomprehendingly and told her calmly, “I have a dozen hairs. I want you to cut half a dozen and remove the growth round my ears”.
She laughed with a tinkle of glass and remarked,
“Hey, You speak Good English. Where are you from?”
“India”, I declared proudly.
“Oh! Poor country— no water!”
Aghast I asked her, “Who told you?”.
“I have seen an Indian film. Lots of ladies walking with pots on heads for miles to get water!”.
I asked her, “Any desert in the film you saw?”.
“Yes, Sir. And so sad I was to see the film”.
“Why?”, I asked.
“The hero falls in love with the heroine—they dance nicely
And they sing nicely. But the girl’s parents don’t allow him to marry her. There is lot of fights and the hero and heroine are killed. I cried at the end”
Perhaps she saw some film like “Rudali” or “ Reshma and Sehra”.

I assured her where I come from—Bombay (she has not heard of Thackeray and Mumbai ) water is plentiful and lovers can marry without trouble.

She did a good job and with every snip of my denuding hair she would use a fast whirling mini-fan with the result that not one loose of piece of hair attached to me!.
No wonder people their get haircuts done on the way to Office or during lunch intervals.

However, I went home and typical Brahmin fashion dipped all the clothes I wore in water and had my Snanam (bath) royally.

My engagement with Miss Kim was not terribly hair-raising but effectively hair-detaching by a Barb-ress!.
“Don’t I look like Paul Newman?”, I asked her.
“No, Sir. More like Tom Cruise!”, she said with a nice smile .

I opened my purse and gave her as instructed by my son-in-law
U.S Dollars 8 plus Tips 2 equal to U S Dollars 10.
That was indeed hair-raising !!.


1 comment:

N J said...

May I suggest Barbie or Barby instead of Barbress.
Another play on the wrd could be superlative usage of Barb Barber Barbest