Had been to the barber today. The good old chef was
in a talkative mood. “Would you like an Indian summer cut this time?” he asked.
“Quite a few Indians are asking for it this summer.” When I declined, he came out with his usual question: “It’s been approximately six weeks since you were here last, isn’t it?”

There was a new girl working there, and he was up to his
usual antics, flattering her with compliments (“How clean the floor looks
now!”) and getting her to blush. It is a recurring pattern. When a girl is new he is at his flirtatious best and gets quite a warm response, but six weeks later I see the same girl ignoring him altogether. It doesn’t seem to discourage him, though. Today he sprayed some water on the plump Turkish lady, who calmly wiped her hand with a towel and
continued talking.

The place was full of old ladies, as usual. I’ve gotten used to them now, but in the beginning I was amazed at the pains these octogenarians went through to decorate the few dozen strands of hair that remained. I tried imagining my eighty-year-old grandma sitting there, with curlers sticking out of her head. Almost made me choke. (Later, I was reminded of Baby Kocchamma whom Rahel found “living her life in reverse”).

* * *

Watched “Seven years in Tibet” in the afternoon. The rugged Tibetan landscape takes your breath away. An encounter between East and West, such as one shown in the movie
(where Brad Pitt’s pride brushes against Buddhist humility and compassion), always has the potential of interesting outcomes. Although at a point one feels that Brad Pitt will be the one who would take home a part of the East with him, it turns out that the Dalai Lama has a lot to learn about the West too, from Brad Pitt. The parts depicting Tibet’s troubled relationship with China, and the eventual Chinese occupation leave you disturbed and feeling sorry for this peace-loving nation. In one scene the Dalai Lama, watching scenes of a revolution being projected on a screen, asks Brad Pitt: “Will people watch Tibet too on the screen someday, and wonder what happened to it?”