Revisiting childhood fantasies
In a savouring mock-show, in barber's revolving chair, the barber makes me seated and covers the upper part of my body by a white shroud fastened around my neck to my pleasant comfort. With a sardonic smile, he gives a gaze at me and opens his drawers and takes scissors, combs, razors and other essential apparatuses to get to his job in cutting my hairs.
He orders me to keep the heads slanted downward steadily without any tilting to left or right. He starts cutting my hairs and in the process some dust of hairs flies into my eyes. He brushes my face with care to clean the dust of hairs. I cry in casual fear and pleasant discomfort. The barber calls my grandfather who died long before when I was a child of two years of age in 1950. The grandfather with his non-phenomenal stature comes and stands beside to comfort me on the barber's order. The barber asks the grandfather to fetch some ice-cream from nearby shops to contain me.
After the haircut is finished, the barber pushes the back of the chair to a slanting position to make me lie-down on my back for washing the hairs by shampoos. He runs his soft fingers through my hairs and rubs my scalp with shampoos and washes them by pouring water from a running water tape.
The barber then takes the hair-dryer and switches it on by making a mock vibrating sound emanating from his mouth. When the hairs are all dried up, then the barber gives me a comfortable head-message by his little mellow fingers. He then makes my hairs nicely by combing and dresses me up smartly with washed cloths. He does not forget to spray some talcum powder on my neck and chest and spray perfume on my attire to make me fresh.
Now the barber is to take me with him to attend the Khek Shiyaler biya (marriage ceremony of a friendly fox) who lives in the bush right beside my apartment in surrounding hills and amuses us by howling with his other companions when night falls. Khek Shiyal pandit marries three daughters of the parents in one go. The barber drives me into the bridal party where I find Shiyal pandit with ceremonial bridal sartorial and a handkerchief covering his nose and mouth, is fittingly seated on the stage decorated with leaves and foliages of the trees in the jungle; in cheerful mood. Sparkling fireflies illuminate the premises befitting to the occasion.
Other important guests in the ceremony are Bhulluck, (bear) Ulluck, Bakka (tiger), monkey, squirrel and mongoose and nocturnal birds in place hovering and screaming overhead. After marrying three daughters of parents by a donation in a wet day in drizzles with a river flooding around, Shiyal Pandit now fixes his chores and engages one bride for cooking and the other for eating, while the third one with a broken-heart goes back to her parents' house. The barber facilitates me to have a lavish foods cooked with fresh meat of goats stolen from nearby human habitation by the fox community for the ceremony.
The wedding dinner is followed by musical concert where foxes in group participate by howling in good melody and rhythms In the musical band, frogs inflate their mouths and blow trumpets while, crickets chirp relentlessly to pour in added melodies in the musical soiree breaking the silence of the jungle in dark night. Sooner the party is over; barber brings me back home by driving the car in making mock whizzing sounds gushing from his mouth. After coming back from Shiyal pandit's bridal party in the jungle, I catch cold and cough immensely. The barber at once turns a doctor and examines my heart, lungs and throat by fixing his ears touching my chest to count heartbeats and trace the whizzes in the lungs.
After a diagnosis, the barber-doctor gives me some bitter to taste liquid medicine which instantly I vomit out leaving me in a condition with coughing and coughing with high fever. The barber-doctor gives cold water bag therapy on my head for remission of fever. Understanding wisely, that I am not going to recover by medicines and therapy alone, the barber-doctor now quickly turns a magician and takes resort to the black art and exorcism to treat me by that order. Quickly garbed in magician's robe he asks me to lie down.
After muttering some mantra, mockingly he opens my chest by a magic knife under his spell and applies some tricks under the cover of a veil. After removing the veil by a magic wand, he apparently finds me hale and hearty. To cure possible left over infection inside my throat, the barber-doctor-magician mockingly slits my throat by a sharp magic razor without causing pain and spilling a drop of blood that makes me instantly unconscious and brings me near to death.
Barber-doctor-magician now quickly turns an African Voodoo witch-doctor and utters three times loudly ABRACADABRA with typical voodoo-way gesticulation of limbs and bulging eyes. To my pleasure I regain my conscious with having my slit throat mended by magic power and that makes the Voodoo-man overwhelmed with joy. With pleasure he stages a macabre dance around me singing uncanny Voodoo songs.
In spite of the fact that the barber-doctor-Magician has his formidable power to heal, he is often scared of Rothbard --- the magician who with long frightening pair of wings appears with the background theme music of Swan Lake ballet while in display. By his impeccable feat of wizardry, Rothbard turns beautiful young ladies including prince Siegfried's heartthrob Odette into Swans at day light as features and dramatizes in Tchaikovsky's Swan-Lake ballet. When magician Rothbard appears in his grotesque appearance with fluttering wings in the ballet in display, the barber-doctor-magician runs up and down in fear and hides his face under my sleeve for safety.
The barber-doctor-magician as referred in the above narrative is none other than my second grandson Ilhan (6) who lives with his parents just two levels down below the apartment where I live. He and his elder brother Irzaan (8) visit me every night when he demonstrates his renditions of varied interests. A self proclaimed brave and brilliant, Irzaan (8) who keeps his face mostly buried in video-games and cartoons, casually looks on the long drawn rendition of barber-doctor-magician with impish smiles.
On some occasions, their first cousin Areesha (2) visits from her nearby location and runs up and down without direction with her typical squeaks and shrill sounds well enough to spoil the barber-doctor-magician's shows of the night. In barber-doctor-magician shows performed by the grandsons in different flavours every night, I can intuitively see the childhood fantasy re-visits in new dimension through which I relish equally the joy of life in celestial pleasure.
The writer is a former civil