[or, Hair Today…Gone Tomorrow]
When the Union Government announced extension of the Covid-19 lockdown till 17th May, I felt a sharp prickling sensation in the back of my neck.
The prickling sensation wasn’t because of fear. It was a familiar and increasingly irritating reminder that my haircut is long overdue— and that now I’ll have to wait at least two weeks more to have one. It’s a hair-raising prospect; especially because for the last 40 years, I have with clockwork regularity gone to the barber every 45 days for a “double fauji bina kanghee wale” job.
I do believe short hair lightens the pressure on the brain. Deliberately shorn hair also helps when my hairline is receding just about as fast as my intelligence and memory.
Anyway: with every passing lockdown day, what remains of my hair grows in about thirty-seven different directions at varying rates in five distinct shades of grey and white. I can’t do a damned thing about it, because barber shops have all been closed, and ‘social distancing’ prevents me from seeking the amateur assistance of a friend who has volunteered to do the job with garden shears.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind enduring this minor discomfort—after all, overgrown hair is such a trivial issue when millions are undergoing such hardship in these difficult times.
But I am chagrined that even as my hair runs riot and my face increasingly resembles that of a depressed and slightly deranged hedgehog, I see a large number of public personalities—political leaders, celebrity journalists and the like—appear with perfectly coiffured hair on TV and online screens every day. In fact, these women and men look exactly as well-groomed as they did in December 2019!
It is obvious to me that these well-groomed public personalities are flouting social distancing norms! Their haircuts are just too good; they can’t be lawnmower jobs done by family or friends. I am convinced that these women and men are covertly availing the services of professional hairdressers, so that they can look suave and well-trimmed while the rest of us watch our own faces disappear under the overgrown undergrowth on our scalps.
Perhaps…but I don’t grudge these fine women and men the privilege of getting their hair groomed while the rest of us can’t. After all, they are respected and popular figures who are doing all they can to boost the morale of the Indian public in these trying times. Naturally, they must look their best.
Still, it’s tempting to know what these public figures might have actually looked like today, if they had not availed the services of hairdressers during the lockdown.
And so, I’ve created projected images – crude, but hopefully indicative – of what a select few politicians and journalists would have looked like today WITHOUT their haircuts. To create these projected images I’ve used the beta version of an Algorithmic Profile Projection software, code-named ‘Tonsure 101’, that is being developed for the Intelligence Bureau by the internationally derided Prof. Iqbal Taklu and his team under a shadowy India-USA security cooperation project that is so secret that it does not find mention in any public or private records, and indeed may not even exist.
I plan to crowd-source bail bond funds in my next post.
Actual look Projected image