It seems not so long ago when I had coarse, deep, black, hard hair on my head. They grew at the rate of light and because they were coarse and hard, my hair would look like a bush from a distance. Sometimes if I did not have a haircut, my friends would try to find a crow's nest inside it.
I was not very happy with my hair as I always found the haircuts at various saloons to be horrible. But I never dared to confront my barbers about the bad haircut. Instead when the barbers showed me the back of my head in the mirror that they held smilingly for my approval, I would give them a silent nod and head out of the saloon, grumbling to myself.
Then there were the times when I felt too lazy to go to the barbershop and would dare to take scissors and a comb to cut the hair myself. But while your imagination says what's the big deal with a trim here and a snip there—cutting your own hair in the mirror is a big challenge. When you think you are cutting on this side, the scissors would say I can't cut it this way—instead I am cutting it that way. The end result: a hairstyle that just handled a Kalboishakhi storm all by itself. Then I would walk down the street and go to the barbershop sighing- --help!
But in general I could go on for months without a haircut and look wild in it. I was skinny and my hair was fluffy and you could recognise me from far away as I looked like a matchstick.
Those days are gone. My hair is now thin and most of it is white or grey. My hair does not have the strength to be fluffy. So when it grows longer, it serves as a reminder of waves coming in at random. If there is a hard wind to the north, my hair will form a northward style. If the wind is blowing to the south, I have a southward hairstyle. I wish I could look like a rock star in long hair, not stupid.
So I keep my hair growth under control. For the last 10 years, I have had a fixed barber named Nikhil. If he changes his barbershop, I also change my shop. I go wherever Nikhil goes. He knows my hair and I trust him for a good haircut.
After our prime minister announced a countrywide shutdown from March 26, some people were already wondering, among other things, as to what would happen to their haircuts. The saloons are closed because these are non-essential business.
It did not bug me as I had a haircut just a week before that. I thought there would be a break in the shutdown and I could comfortably have a haircut after two weeks. If the shutdown continued, I foresaw no problem. I could call Nikhil over the phone and he would come to my house and give me a haircut.
Two weeks passed by. My hair is gradually becoming restless. When I wake up, I can't look at my hairstyle. It's squashed from the back and tilted to one side in the front. So I called up Nikhil.
"But, Sir, I am in Narsingdi. We have nothing to do in Dhaka," he said from the other side.
"Do you know anyone in my neighbourhood who can do your job?" I asked.
"No sir. All of them have left for their homes," he said.
I sighed as I put down the phone.
The other day I picked up a pair of scissors and a comb and walked to my wife to ask her if she would help me. But I stopped. Bad idea.
My friend Khaled had done this on his two sons—both of whom ended up crying about a bad job done. They then demanded that they cut his hair. Khaled has been running with his hands on his head ever since. I don't want my wife to destroy my hair and then for me to die from wanting to take revenge. If I must blame someone for my misfortune, it should be me.
So I am going to the toilet, telling myself: just don't overdo it. A few snips will do. You are a senior journalist. Your juniors look at you with respect. Don't make yourself into looking like a joker. I am trying!
Readers, wish me luck with my haircut during the times of coronavirus lockdown.