Monday, February 18, 2008

Hair cuts, dancers and dressing packages.

One of the first things Sherry did when she got to India was pull a few of my whiskers. What are friends for? I guess I had been a bit remiss. My hair was a bit wild and untamed as well. I had cut it myself a couple of times ( with my folding traveling scissors) but that was beginning to show. Not to many beauty shops along the way. In a small "hill station" in India I did spy a barber shop that was churning out short cuts like an assembly line spits out parts. I peeked in, and before I knew it I was in a chair trying to explain the cut I wanted. I have always spoken a different language than my hair dresser but this was something else. The shop had about four chairs, all occupied, me in one of them, a bench packed full of waiting boys and men, and a small crowd hanging around. I of course, was a spectacle. A woman with short brown hair, blue eyes and white skin. The barbers who were not cutting my hair stopped to chide the guy who was going to. In the mirror in front of me I could see guys behind me leaning on each other left and right so that they could see. Some bench sitters were laughing, all were staring and I was a nervous nellie. The barber started in and I indicated " no more than this please" and crossed my fingers. He worked and worked, the more he worked the more I got nervous. He returned to the back of my head several times, I guess I had butchered it thouroghly. Eventually he handed me a mirror and along with about 25 men in the shop, I took a look. It wasn't bad! One of the bench guys claimed that my chair would be the "girl's chair" from now on. Many other comments were flying around but i had no idea what they were saying. I paid the equivalent of one dollar, posed for pictures, waved many goodbye's. Just a few minutes down the road while Sherry and I were looking for internet, I stuck my head into what I thought was an internet "cafe". Out from behind a wall came this flaming Indian gay guy. He explained that he was a I tech teacher, the computers were school computers and we could not use them. He then proceeded with the ususal line of questions. Where are you from? What's your name? What do you do for work? When I said I was a teacher he threw himself into my arms , hugged me and said in a high, excited lilting voice " We are both teachers!" " I am so happy". And he WAS happy, very happy; and I was SO captive. " Please sit dwon, tell me more, let me show you, meet my students...". I called out for Sherry who was by now wondering where the hell I was. When she came in he repeated the whole process. Hugging, questions, excitement, and "please sit down". As he told us about his life and teaching he mentioned that was also teaching dance. We didn't have to ask, he offered. He jumped from his chair, excused his students, pushed back the furniture and began the recital. ( View the movies Cindy posted) He did several traditional Indian dances complete with singing. It was fantastic. There we were in India, watching a gay man dance and sing, and we were the only audience. When Sherry and I tried to make our exit he sighed and complained, and kept talking. We finally convinced him that we had to go but he insisted on pictures. We took pictures with him; his cheek pressed against ours, then he called his students in and we took more pictures. Upon leaving I asked him for his address and he gave me his land address. ...he didn't have email. The next errand we had to do was to send some stuff home to the U.S. Easy enough; find a box, package the box, address the box, and mail the box. Not in India. You have to "dress" the box as well. Which means taking the box to a tailor to have them make a linen "dress" for the box. Yes linen, complete with wax over the seams. (See photos) We didn't have to look long for a tailor, as we walked down the street a man asked; " Do you need your package dressed?" Must have been the bewildered look on our faces.

3 comments:

cindylist said...

The barbershop sounds a litte bit like going to the beauty school for a "newborn look" haircut!
I'm glad to know what the " dancing Man" video was all about! Great stories - thanks for sharing!

bonycrow said...

yeah, the dancing man video.... i particularly liked his whelps of joy at the end.

Jan said...

Trace,

I did wonder what you were going to do about haircuts. Just didn't see you returning with flowing golden locks...with you periodically shaking your head or flicking you hair in order to maintain a clear field of vision. Tracy's self-service hair care seemed a much more likely option...though won't have missed the barber shop story...

jan