March 09, 2008


Breaking up is always hard, especially when you've been together for years and years. When you've stuck together through thick and thin, ups and downs, highs and lows.

After much introspection, extensive correspondence with leading agony aunts and repeated viewings of Oprah, the decision was made. Enough was enough, and it was time to move on. One clearly needed a new barber.

The lowest of the lows, by all accounts, was the haircut that was administered on the sixteenth of November last year. It was then that the first seeds of doubt were sown in the ol' subconscious. These feelings tend to fester, dear Reader, and these seeds tend to germinate, until drastic measures are taken.

So, after some deliberation, one went to Another Barber (whom we shall refer to as AB) who runs his shop with his son (whom we shall call AB junior). Ten minutes later, it was complete. A trim of impressive quality.

So that, you may have thought, would be that. Except, of course, that it wasn't. Because the Ex-Barber's shop lies strategically en route to almost everything (i.e. office and pub). And so it was the very next morning that one found oneself walking by the Ex-Barbershop. And hence the Ex himself.

Now barbers, as the astute reader may have noticed, are sensitive folks. They're also observant, and they're as sharp as, well, razors. His eyes immediately darted toward the ol' cranium. It dawned on him, gently as a receding hairline, that there had been a Cut. Locks had been hewn, curls had evidently been sheared. And, the end result being rather uniform and admittedly rather dashing, it was clearly not his own work.

He looked at the One in wounded scrutiny, betrayal writ large upon his countenance. How, those eyes seemed to implore, could one have gone elsewhere? Did one not enjoy his earnest banter? Did one object to his ludicrous prices? Or, horror of horrors, had a Lady Barber come between us?

One did what one most often does in these situations. One chose to lie. One turned the ol' laptop-bag around, letting the artfully-positioned Air India tag loom as large as possible. One was what you might call 'outstation', one conveyed through a helpless look. I don't know what 'outstation' means, his eyes beseeched right back. It means one was visiting the Homeland, one ocularly elucidated. And Patel Hair Art charges about a twentienth of what you charge, one added disdainfully. He seemed satisfied at this, for Homeland visits are the One Exception to the Rule of Barber-Loyalty. And that was, in fact, that.

One can't keep lying forever, of course. Eventually he shall realize that he has been, how shall we say, Replaced. Never mind, dear Reader. He will cope.

And the agony aunt types have taught us much. It's like this : if one returns to the Ex-Barber, then one shall be his forever. And, if one never returns to him, then one was never his to begin with. Et cetera.

And one doesn't know how long one will stick with the ABs either. You see, there happens to be a rather fetching Lady Barber just down the road.