x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Desi Girl: A hair do-saster that went from bad to dreadful

I can't remember for the life of me why I had done it, but I had cheated on my stylist and gone to someone else for a hair treatment. We never recovered from the incident. I never forgave myself.

I stumbled across some old pictures recently. Looking at them made me realise something very important: that cheating is never good, especially when it comes to your hairstylist.

I looked at those pictures and the gorgeous hair I had in them. Ibrahim, my hairdresser back then, had been God's gift to me. My own personal Hair Hotline. All I would have to do back then was press a button on my phone and wail: "Ibrahim, my hair is doing something funny" and he would say, "Don't worry habibti, come in one hour. I will take care of it."

He would work his magic and everything would be fine. It didn't hurt that the curly-haired Lebanese hair master was almost as good-looking as the haircuts he gave me.

I instinctively glanced over at the mirror on my desk to look at my hair the way it is now, and sadly, it lacks that Ibrahim factor these days. I wondered what happened? Why did I part ways with Ibrahim all those years ago? Slowly, it came back. It had been my own doing.

I had done something I shouldn't have: I had cheated on Ibrahim. I can't remember for the life of me why I did it, but I had gone to a different stylist. Not for a blow dry, not for highlights, but for a full head of colour. My punishment was hair as dry as hay and the colour of - well - hay, too.

Never before in my entire life had I sat shamefaced in front of a stylist as I did that day when I finally gathered the courage to go back to Ibrahim. He set eyes upon my do-saster and took a deep breath.

"Really, sweetheart, what is this? Look at your hair."

Did I not like him doing my hair, he asked me reproachfully, as his judging fingers roved over my dismal head, lifting and dropping random locks. I could feel the tension, as he pulled his trolley toward the station and started working on my hair. After a little while, he put down the barrel brush he was using to tame a particularly frizzy section. He swivelled the chair around, dropped to his knees and looked me straight in the eye.

"I used to enjoy doing your hair," he said in a grave tone. "Not anymore."

My heart broke into a million pieces.

To his credit, however, Ibrahim finished what he had started. My hair looked decent. Not as good as it used to, but better than when I had walked in.

"Soon, habibti," Ibrahim reassured me. "Soon it will be OK."

And it was. A couple of visits later, it was in better condition. It was looking and feeling healthier. My hair, that is. My relationship with Ibrahim was a whole different story. I don't think we ever recovered from the incident. I don't think he ever forgave me for cheating on him. I never forgave myself.

We had lost the excellent rapport we had. Getting my hair done by him wasn't the same anymore and it was unimaginable for me to get my hair done by someone else at the same salon, so I simply stopped going there. I found new salons and new stylists, but no one could replace Ibrahim and no one could work the magic on my hair like him.

So ladies, no matter how much you are tempted to, don't make the same mistake I did. If you have someone who can take care of your hair, take care of them. The rest will take care of itself.

Ujala Ali Khan lives in Dubai and loves all things desi

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