“Appa is looking like a monster!”, a small little voice piped. I craned my neck to spot a delightful, dusky little girl seated in front of one of the mirrored stations at the neighborhood salon. Appa, who I never caught a proper look at, appears to be a large man, face covered with something dreadfully white and head inside one of those round helmet-like contraptions you see in ads from the ’60s.
While I get my head oiled, I watch a cute little drama play out on the opposite side of the mirrors between us. Appa continues to talk to the little girl, aged perhaps four or five, in his booming, patient voice, even as the salon “bhaiyya” does his stuff to Appa. The girl proceeds to call Appa, fondly, a buffalo, a funny cow, a hippo, several types of monsters. Appa buys time with the promise of gems. Some friendly bargaining later, it is agreed that it would be the round packet of gems that comes inside a plastic ball. As time wears on, the little girl frequently asks about when they could go home. Appa bargains for a little more time, the bhaiyya being blamed each time for the delay. And the promise of the visit to the grocery store for the gems is renewed once again!
As I left the salon, I saw another little boy sitting fidgety-fidget in a chair, while his dad got a haircut and a pedicure. Before, at the reception, I had caught an entertaining piece on the obsession for non-wrinkled underarms and a known city clinic had claimed that 60% of their clientelle for underarm botox is men!
This is a new breed of men, and a new breed of fathers. I see mothers being short on their kids in public all the time. There are women who regularly drag their kids with them to the salon and snap at them for being impatient and bored. The men in the salon today, i contrast, were spending quality time with their children, telling them stories, hearing what the kids did at school or in the park, and generally having a rollicking time. While the kids did get edgy, there were no harsh words. At the same time, the dads got the grooming done too, clearly a vital part of their weekend routine! Perhaps the mums were inside one of the closeted rooms getting some grooming done as well, and it was a big family day out at the parlour!
I had a fleeting naughty thought as I sat there though. What happens if one of these 40-something guys is sitting there with cream on their face and head inside space helmet and the smartest, young female team member at work (the kind that men secretly desire and have a strange mentor-cum-admirer-cum-boss relationship with) walks in to see them there! Would he stutter in embarrassment, turn his face away or greet the girl confidently, with a smile on his face? Thought for your Sunday!