தலைக்கு மேல வேலை, when you hear this then the usual understanding is that the person is working very hard. There are times when தலைக்கு மேல வேலை for me means sitting and enjoying the labours of someone working on my head once every 40 odd days.
The humble saloons have been replaced by glitzy parlours and the barbers are called hair stylists these days. There were days when a visit to the saloon was a thrill because of the large turning chairs that for small kids was something close to an amusing ride. The barbers were patient when small kids after the hair cut merrily used their precious chairs as merry go rounds. The barber also was a veritable source of information usually having a few periodicals for his clients and also having his own share of gossips collected from the visitors.
Someone told me that you should give your head to one person only and for many years I had the same person cutting my hair and since he knew what I wanted he never waited for any inputs each time. I miss the good old days. These days things have changed with the advent of unisex parlours my visits are combined with the visits of the others in the family. The staff is also constantly changing so getting a familiar person may be tough unless an appointment is booked. I know one place that declined my appointment as they were fully booked. Another had three levels of trained stylists and their professional charges increased with every level of qualification to eye brow raising levels. My scale for my haircut is what I pay for the friendly neighbourhood hair stylist and how much more could be done to my head I always wonder.
Once I decided to try out a senior stylist in one such place and it was a pretty young woman who cut my hair. I understood why they were called stylists as I saw my hair being bunched up and clipped in all imaginable ways and the stylist wielded her scissors with so much flair swinging the scissors around that it looked more like a performance than a haircut. After the session my hair did look different and nice and I was able to convince myself that the eye brow raising bill complete with service tax was worth it. The stylist showed me how I should comb my hair and I left with a smile.
Alas the smile disappeared when I tried combing my hair later and found that it just did not work. No matter how I tried to replicate what she did my hair stubbornly went back to its old avatar. I went back to my old saloon and normal service resumed because the hair cut may not be as spectacular as the stylists but there is one thing the barber does that is simply unbeatable, the head massage.
Many of the older barbers have added the head massage as an upselling tool and it is something worth trying. I was introduced to the cooling hair oil by one barber earlier and I became a convert for life. The barber uses large amounts of this oil and then proceeds to massage or pummel or mistreat the head. Trained hands can actually give a very relaxing feeling; one barber actually eases out the knots in the back and almost puts me off to sleep. Off late he has added a mechanical device to his repertoire that creates a tingling sensation and makes you feel sleepy faster.
தலைக்கு மேல வேலை may not be a bad thing at times.
P.S. A Gounder classic - a barber and his assistant