I was idly leafing through a magazine when I came across this ad “Get your hair done in English”. Sounds funny doesn’t it? Had I read it couple of years ago, I wouldn’t have laughed. I would have cried…tears of relief!!
I need to get my hair trimmed. Its shoulder length now…the longest it has been in 6 years. I am just postponing it out of sheer laziness. Honest. Nothing else. Now I can manage my trip to the coiffeur’s quite well thank you. Once every three months, I get a trim. I go there and tell them I want my hair cut. They ask me to wait and then shampoo, then they ask how do I want it…très court (very short). They cut it, blow dry it, I pay, tip and leave. Five sentences in all, a nice hair cut. That’s it.
The coiffeuse are friendly enough but somehow I can't converse with them or should I try, my French comes out all wrong!! I remember the happy times I spent chattering with Mario, the English speaking Italian with a Japanese wife, my first coiffeur here. He would chatter away while trimming my hair. The first thing he said to me was that the red stuff in my hair (my sindoor...afterall I was newly wedded then) had been shampooed away. I told him not to worry about it, I had loads more. He wanted to know why it was red. Why didn’t I apply various colours? And he finished and said if you don’t like it at home, then send your head back with your husband (A’s office was right next door) and I do something different with it!! Ah Mario. Unfortunately, I had to let Mario go because he made me look just like Amitabh Bacchan!
Once I joined Alliance Française, I summoned enough courage to try out the chic salon next doors, run by E, the slim terribly pale man always in black. I asked him for “quelquechose nouveau” (something new). A had a fright when he saw me. He couldn’t believe I had just paid 225F + tips for a “widow’s hack”. Luckily for me, the hack settled down to a très chic cut in couple of days. I was so pleased with it that I took R there when she came visiting shortly afterwards. Now R who has a head full of thick luxurious tresses was taken with the idea of getting a Parisian hair do. Mr E was very nice with her and tried to speak to her in English and I was served wonderful coffee and ginger biscuits while I waited for her! Half an hour later, she was done. But it didn’t look anything different. She could have got her hair done anywhere. Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Paris or Jhumritalaiya!! But Mr E and his assistants were so nice to us. We smiled and pretended that it was the best thing that could happen to R! And then the nice Mr E asked me if I wanted to try some “maquillage”(make up). I didnt and so he turned toR and she couldn’t manage to say no and agreed to it. It consisted of this pretty young thing applying lipstick on R for 25F. That too didn’t look anything different and she could have done that herself. The two of us managed to keep a straight face while we settled the bill and added the compulsory hefty tip. Once outside, we collapsed and laughed till we had tears running down our cheeks.
"Get your hair done, in English” is not bad grammar but a perfectly reasonable suggestion!