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You must be wondering who Imran is and why he is on my blog page. He is definitely not the cricketeer turned politician from our neighbouring country of Pakistan, nor is he the Indian actor, both famous in their own right. The one I speak of is my little known hair stylist who goes by the name Imran.

I have been frequenting a couple of places for my hair-cuts since the last few years, that’s ever since I decided to keep them unruly hairs really short. But the results have not been entirely to my satisfaction. Sometimes I do get a haircut when I hop over to Bangalore to visit the family. Umm… Okay, that’s definitely better. But obviously I cannot catch a flight every time I need a haircut which is like every one or one and a half month, right?

That’s how things stood when I told the Second Born, ‘You know what, I want my hair cut really close on the bottom half of my head leaving a little hair on the top half. But the places I go to, the stylists either discourage me or don’t get what I am saying’ The son then promised me I could get the ‘fade cut’ (that’s what it is called he told me) in Belgrade. But as things would have it, there was just no time.

Back home, I decided to try out a new place that had sprung up closer home. How bad could it be, I thought. Worse come they would make me look like an army recruit with which look I was by now totally familiar and comfortable too. So there I was the day before, climbing the stairs to this new place to wait my turn.

After a while, along came a young man with a cheerful disposition and asked me how I wanted my hair styled. Though he talked to me in Malayalam, his accent revealed he wasn’t from these parts. ‘Hindi?’ I asked him and he nodded. I explained, in Hindi, how I wanted my hair cut, and he got it, just like that. He went about his job with utmost diligence, and soon I saw my preferred style emerging gradually.

In the meantime we got talking. He was from the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, he said. ‘Wow, that’s a long way to come to work as a hair stylist,’ I told him. Apparently an Uncle of his has been working in Kerala for almost twelve years now and insisted that he come over. Kerala is a lovely place to work, he had told the nephew. So he left his job in one of the salons in Delhi, and came down south.

‘Do you like it here?’ I asked him. Of course, was his enthusiastic reply. It is such a beautiful place. He has been here only five months, but by the end of three he was speaking fluently in Malayalam. This he said with obvious pride. A stylist and a linguist too, I was impressed. He gleefully added that his friend who came over at the same time still depended on him to communicate with the locals.

Soon he was done, and was dusting the stray hairs off me. How do you speak Hindi ma’am, he wanted to know. I told him about being an Army wife. I then looked at myself in the mirror and was pleased. Yup, this is what I had wanted all along. I am glad Imran got it in a jiffy where others didn’t or were plain indifferent to try. You bet I will be going back to this new place. Three cheers to Imran!

© Shail Mohan 2022