„Hold the mirror up on the right side Loveleen, I can’t see a thing.” Sharmaji said irritatingly.
“Oh ho, I really don’t understand this ritual of yours every month.” Said Loveleen frustrated.
“Cutting ones hair is a bad thing right?” Sharmaji quizzed.
“No, it isn’t. But trying to save 25 rupees and doing it at home is the issue. And be very careful the scissor is razer sharp.”
“Ok, ok I get that, now will you hold the mirror right so that I can manage the cut well.”
Loveleen kept holding the mirror as Sharmaji adjusted his face looking closely at the mirror in from of him and getting a rear view of his hair as Loveleen held the one behind him.
He was about to get a measure and cut when Loveleen shouted, “Ohhhhhh nooooooo, my dal, its burning….the cooker.” She dashed the mirror on the washbasin and ran to the kitchen.
Sharmaji gave an angry look, “I don’t understand her at all”, and he told himself nodding his head.
He picked up the mirror in one hand and tried to get a look of his locks above his nape and continued.
“OH MY GOD, Loveleen.” He cried out in terror.
Loveleen came back running and so did his younger daughter Gutti.
Loveleen shrieked, “Sharmaji, what have you done?” Gutti tried hard but could not contain her laughter. She immediately picked her phone and clicked him and sent it to her elder sister Pinky on whatapp with a caption, Dad spotted in a new look LOL and two winky smilees.”
“Is it all gone?” Sharmaji was now tensed.
Loveleen held his face examining his hair, “No, a big chunk of it till I can see your skull, hmmmm may be the size of a motichoor laddoo.”
Sharmaji started sweating as he tried feeling the portion of his head where he accidentally grazed a major chunk of his hair.
“You can’t do that with scissors, what did you do?”
“Well, you see this!” He picked up the automatic razor and displayed it to them, the girls had given me on my birthday to get rid of my nose, ears and chest hair….I used that thinking it would be quicker than the scissors, I didn’t in my dream think, it would do this.”
By this time Gutti had run into her room and was literally rolling on the floor with laughter.
“What do we do now Loveleen? Sharmaji moved his head from left to right to get a stock of the damage done.
“Do you want to consider getting rid of it all completely?
“You mean bald…”
“You already have a receding hairline, try it.”
“What try it, my father and your father in law is still alive ok, don’t you ever say try it…”He said utterly frustrated at this suggestion.
Gutti ran to the scene again, trying to maintain a serious face but burst out again as she saw him. Loveleen looked at her with big eyes and she stopped, gulping her chuckle uttered, “Dad I think, Di is not going to like it, I mean it’s her Arangetram (*it is a public graduation performance for a dance form) tomorrow. And you would be called on stage too! You know what I mean?” She somehow managed saying that without laughing.
“How about wearing a wig?” She continued trying to sound serious.
Sharmaji and Loveleen looked at her startled. “His hair is still there, not gone, it’s just the rear right which is bald…well not bald but…” She stopped realizing the panic Sharmaji was in. Sharmaji had just stabilized and was accepting the fact of what had happened.
All three stood looking at each other in the bathroom. “Isn’t it stuffy here.” Gutti said breaking the silence, “Can we at least move out of this place.” Gutti said walking slowly out of the bathroom. Loveleen and Sharmaji followed.
Just then Pinky rushed in, dropped her bag near the door and “Dad, what did you do? I mean it’s my function tomorrow. I have been waiting so long for this day.” She immediately stopped looking at Sharmaji’s embarrassed face.
He turned back to display his doing to Pinky. It was now feeling like what a model feels on the ramp when there is a wardrobe malfunction. Pinky’s jaw dropped at the faux pas she was witnessing. She could visualize her friends mocking and laughing at her.
Half an hour into the drama and things were sinking in. Great ideas came up.
How about putting in some fake hair and sticking it there? – Pinky
Can we just take some brush bristles and cover the big patch? – of course Gutti
The Dhony look, it’s in vogue! – Pinky, trying to make his father look cool and mod.
A cap or a hat, you like Dev Anand, isn’t it, but would that cover the required? – puzzled Loveleen.
Sharmaji closed his eyes and sat there on the sofa. With renewed determination he got up like a soldier who has made up his mind to win the battle or like the way Archimedes would have said “Eureka!”
He went into the bathroom and locked himself for 1.5 hours. The girls roamed up and down in the living room trying to guard their neighbor Leena coming home and Loveleen knocked the door sometimes concerned and sometimes giving a pep talk. Later all were quiet and got back to their chores.
Sharmaji walked confidently to the living room, his demeanor was different. He had colored his hair all black after 10 years. He wore the shirt, trouser and blazer that he was to wear for the function and the biggest change was he rolled a woolen scarf that matched the blazer, hit the patch successfully and overall looked splendid.
There was pin drop silence, he looked at all three of them, finally his confidence was giving in and nervously he said, “What, not ok?”
All three unanimously said, “Sharmaji, you look awesome and so young. Love you.” As all three hugged him altogether.