I have always sported a short hairdo.When I was a kid Royal Saloooon in Madras, our family barber was paid a visit atleast once in two months along with my uncle and it was oru cutting and vetting - matter over in 5 minutes. One of my aunts started calling me 'Sona' after Jayapradha's character in the film Ninaithaley Inikkum in which she had a short haircut.
In school we had compulsory pinnal which meant oiled hair, centre parting with two (invisible) pinnals and bright parrot green colour ribbons. When I was 12 or so, I started feeling a little awkward at Royal Salooon, being the only woman customer amidst hajaar men and thus started my first visit to the parlour. I walked into a parlour near my place and one of those Chinese / Japanese / Himachal women asked me "Baby, which cut you want?" I vividly remember my answer, "Which cut will suit me, that cut you do!"... he he he. So matter was over in ten minutes.
After that, every haircut was a huge exercise - not at the parlour, but at home. Dad firmly believed that short hair was a strict no-no for tam-brahm maamiyars who had strict 'No entry' boards for baaf- cut marumagals. So I had to sneak in everytime I entered home after the baaf cut. But the smart man that my dad is, he would get to know about the great sin I had committed and hence would stop talking to me for sometime... well... days! All for a simple baaf cut. Surprisingly Amma was quite ok with baaf cuts. She was happy that her daughter(s) did what she couldn't.
During my initial days in Mumbai, I used to walk in to anything that had a 'Parlour' signboard outside. Wasn't too worried about Step cut, stair cut etc. Was more interested in cutting the extra strands of hair that'd come till the neck and irritate the hell out of me especially in summers.
Post 2000- there was a new 'hair' revolution in Mumbai thanks to Dilshad, Adhuna, Nalini Yasmin etc. They are the so-called hair stylists who did the same job as my good Royal Salooon. But the difference with these was....
- Parattai - a local rowdy's character immortalized by Superstar Rajnikant in the film '16 vayadinile' ; Parattai also means a weird hairdo.
- Salooon - My family's term for a Salon
- Vetting - Cutting
- Pinnal - Braid
- Baaf cut - ... is a baaf cut!
- Maamiyar - Mother-in-law
- Marumagal - opposite of the above