It is established.
From now on, the residents of Dhaka will refer to any event
as Before Habib, or After Habib. He came, he snipped, and he
changed the way many Dhakaites do their double-takes with the
mirrors. You were either lucky enough to be Habibed, or, alright,
I shall not rub it in. And please don't ask me Habib, who? Oh,
you ignoramuses, wake up, and know that he (of copper spikes,
a gracious disposition, and patience of the Almighty) is the
God of Hair Things himself.
Let me get
the facts straight at the outset. I am a type-E person who visits
the beauty parlour only twice a year- both times, to bring some
order to the unbridled growth of hair that's been left unchecked
for the last six months. If parlours are meant for exercises
more complex than that, I plead ignorance. At the other end
of the spectrum are the Type A people who visit it once a week.
Most women with reasonable levels of social, familial, and business
engagements belong to the once a month type-C category.
Cut to the
previous week, when it happened to be my worst bad-hair day.
Unruly un-shampooed hair with split-ends showing on all sides,
grey strands peeping from here and there, tufts falling out
from the elastic bands meant to put them all together in place.
My head hung low, I pored over some magazine sitting next to
a friend of mine who had dragged me along for a special treat
to her hair, the treat being personalised hairstyling by Mr.
Jawed Habib himself.
luminaries had their hair pinned up waiting for the master stylist
to wield his magic scissors. Curiously enough (and something
that even my un-polished mind could see), most women had come
to Habib with their hair already styled! For eyes lacking the
necessary know-how of the glamour world, it may have been difficult
to say whether that style was pre-Habib, or post-Habib, --which
may have irked the creative genius of the stylist. There is
only so much you can do with already beautiful faces and even
more stunning hair-dos. Thus, even as his fingers flew over
the scissors, his eyes furtively glanced around the room for
a real challenge.
the lady over there with oiled hair and a pony-tail", he
up and said nervously, "oh no no, not me, I have come here
with my friend".
you the details of the ensuing deliberations, but soon, much
against my wishes, after having been given a quick shampoo,
I was wheeled in before the hair-guru.
tried my luck, "Irfan, no, no, I don't think it's required".
No response from him.
"Irfan, this is embarrassing…". Still no word from
"Irfan, I am not into styling and all…".
"Are you talking to me?", he finally opened his mouth,
"for if yes, my name is Jawed, not Irfan. And two, yes
I can see that you have scant regard for your hair, which is
why I want to try my hand on you".
silence, there was little I could do to protest after that.
He asked me how I wanted my hair. You wouldn't have pinned me
down like this if I knew the answer to that, I said to myself.
Aloud, I said, "anything that'll subsist on a sub-zero
maintenance". He nodded, and soon I could hear his pair
of scissors at work.
took him a fraction of a jiffy. If there are makeovers in this
wild world, others witnessed it then and there, and I experienced
it first-hand. Once done, the Master beamed, the others present
applauded, I stared at the mirror in disbelief! When The Hubby
came to pick us up later that day, he failed to recognise me.
Only once he was sure that the woman standing before him was
actually me did he make his opinion known. He said my hair (please
note, my hair, not my face, sparing as he is with his complements)
looked like MeenaKumari's or Nanda's, the popular Hindi movie
actresses from the 50s/60s. It was futile getting any further
clarifications as to whether that was reason for me to smile
or sulk. Anyway, I personally thought my mirror was, for once,
saying good things to me, and I felt ecstatic.
these feel-good phases are fleeting in my life, and it took
one dip in the swimming pool, and a cool shower thereafter to
figure that out. Gone were the bounce and the volume that had
been skilfully created. Gone were the chic waves which had given
me such a tremendous high over the previous 24 hours. The carefully
blow-dried inwards-turned curls now faced all directions but
the original one!
with all the zing having fizzled out of the hair-style, all
there's left are these unmanageable strands that droop over
my eyes like a Lhasa-apso's fur; not long enough to be tied
up, not short enough to be non-interfering. Most certainly,
there is no way I'll appear in public before my hair has outgrown