Friday, February 02, 2007


Vasuettan's new thoni

I heard it first from Kannan. While coming back from school one day, we had sneaked into bhaskaran nair’s parambu but couldn’t find one single moovandan worth the effort. Kuttan wanted to show off his stick-throwing skills, but we decided we wait till the next week. I don’t know what made Kannan say it then, but that’s when he did – there is a new thing in Josettan’s hair cutting salon. He had seen it yesterday when he had gone akkare to cut his hair. Even though I did not get much idea what it was, it aroused enough curiosity in me to actually long for that trip akkare for my monthly haircut. Ever since, the thought always failed to escape me whenever amma tries to comb my oil-dripping hair before I leave for school.

Today morning after breakfast Amma told Ramettan to take me akkare for the haircut. I was all excited. Only thing that did dampen it was that we just missed vasuettan’s kadathu-vanchi and had to wait ikkare for another half an hour or so. This, even with all the howling ettan and I tried when we saw the vanchi leaving. I really don’t know why people howl instead of just calling out ‘vasuetta’. Maybe that’s why he left without waiting today too.

I reached Josettans salon to find that he was already cutting another boys hair. Ramettan sat next to me in the waiting bench after exchanging some pleasantries with Josettan and a session in front of the mirror with the new round comb. By now my curiosity was at its peak and I was trying to decide how long it will take before it’s my turn. Apparently, the father of the boy whose hair was being cut was squatting outside the salon, smoking beedi with his cheeks caving in each time he takes a puff. He was holding down his lungi and looking in the direction of the kadavu. I am sure even he is thinking about the white paint on the underside of vasuettan’s new thoni which shows up only when all the people have alighted. Or am I the only one who has noticed?

That’s when I saw it. Josettan took out something from the draw and I instantly recognized it by the description given by Kannan. It looked beautiful. It had a handle of gold and the whole thing was shining. I am sure Josettan had to go to Aluva angadi to buy it. I am also sure it was made in London. He moved it along the back of the disinterested boy’s head and also behind his ears. It worked much like a scissor, but I could not see what exactly it was doing to the hair.

My turn came, and I waited eagerly for him to take it out. But that never happened. When Josettan had gone out briefly, I asked Ramettan to tell Josettan to use it. Ramettan dismissed it without even giving a reply. He just said he is going to the vayanasala above and left. Sometime later the cutting was over, as was the anticipation built over two weeks.
Today I will go to the Kaavu and pray that my hair grows back soon.