Tuesday, 22 July 2008

5 minute reverie at the barber's

It was a lazy Sunday.

I like having my weekly dose of tosai at the nearby eateries, and so on Sunday, AHS and I went to Melawati. It was already way past 9. The place was full, and I was glad for that - somehow I don't like a mamak place to be devoid of customers. After we had our fill of tosai biasa and nescafe tarik, AHS headed to the barber shop a couple of doors away, while I took some negatives for reprinting. Once done (wanted to get size 5R, but it is so expensive now), I walked the short distance to the barber shop, shared with a grocer's.

I'd not been into a barber shop in ages. When I was about 4 or 5, my grandfather (Aki) used to take me to the barber shop for my haircuts. So if you see my photos before I started schooling, you'd see the length of my hair well above my ears. Yup, not a pretty sight, I can tell you; but that was my Aki's idea of looking smart. I remember going to the barber's at the junction of Jalan Dato' Lim Hoe Lek in Kuantan, riding on my Aki's Raleigh bicycle. I must say I sensed a feeling of pride, somehow, when Aki took me around. The barber's was a small setup, and they would always call out a friendly greeting whenever we stepped in.

Aki would always be near, saying soothing words and praising how good I looked afterwards. I didn't like going -- I was afraid my ears would be cut off. But now, the hairdresser can have her time doing my hair.

So last Sunday, when I stepped into the barber's, I felt satisfied -- that it was very old fashioned; similar to those in my childhood days. The shop was narrow, and the door opened to a row of 5 leather chairs facing gleaming, slanting mirrors. The mirrors delighted me. AHS hair was being snipped, and I smiled at him, not wanting to make him move if I said anything in case his ears are cut off. there were 2 other people being attended to; and I walked straight in, to chairs arranged along the wall at the end.

The barbers were very gentle. Somehow that surprised me. My hairdresser isn't as gentle. They moved their hands in graceful ways and gently massaged their clients' necks and shoulders. How I wish my hairdresser would do the same. When AHS was done, paid, and waved at the barber, I felt that it was a beautiful day. So glad.

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