I know that as a yoga practitioner I shouldn’t be attached to my hair stylist or worry about what my hair might look like a few months into my trip. I accepted that I wouldn’t find a hip Japanese hair stylist in India to cut my hair but I wanted to prepare for the worst. So I waited as long as I possibly could and got my haircut (as short as I ever had it cut) less than 8 hours before I left New York. Almost twelve weeks later (my usual routine gets me to my hair stylist every six weeks or so), I could no longer stand my puffy head of hair. Of course everyone who has just met me here in Chennai thought my hair was short but to me, it was big, heavy, and something had to be done. The time had come to find an Indian salon.
You don’t see many Indian women with short hair. In fact, I think I may have seen less than half a dozen Indian women with short hair in the past two months. Every commercial, print advertisement, and real life Indian women I see have long flowing hair. My driver in Kerala, Glancy, asked me why my hair was so short (well, he asked me specifically about my asymmetrical haircut that he found very odd) and talked to me about how long shiny hair is a sign of beauty and an important physical characteristic Indian men look for in women. There is no shortage of shampoo, conditioner, and various oils to make your hair shiny, long, thick, and smell lovely.
Given this situation, I wasn’t sure whether I’d find a stylist who can work with someone like me at all. For my last haircut, my New York stylist had to use a razor to cut, trim, and shave the hair in the back because I wanted to have it cut so short. Since I had no idea where to go, I enlisted the help of my landlord who, in the past, has lived in the States but is a local resident of Chennai. She suggested a salon just down the street from my apartment and said a haircut there would probably cost about 500 rupees or about $12. She also told me that if I wanted to go her regular salon, I could expect to pay less than half that (150 rupees). I ended up going to the salon down the street and paying 770 rupees (~$17) for a nice haircut. Of course it’s not exactly how I would like it but it’s short, functional, manageable, and well, it’s short. Some of my friends at KYM knew that I was getting my haircut so throughout the day, I had visits from those who wanted to check up on me and check out the haircut. A few told me that they were nervous for me… funny. I was seriously thinking about shaving my head in India, especially if my haircut turned out terrible. For now, my hair is short enough.