In my younger days, a visit to the barber’s – also known as “Hairdressing Salon” inevitably meant a close shave with one of the most sinister-looking tools on this planet.
One look at that Cut-Throat Razor and I could feel lumps in my throat as I stuck my neck out. I did not have much facial hair, but the barber took pains to execute precision scrapes to ensure every single bristle that appeared at the wrong place would be sliced off at its root.
However, at the end of the somewhat hate-and-love session, it was a clean and cool feeling – especially with a dab of aftershave lotion.
These days, these tools have largely been superseded by disposable razors. Yes, with the prevalence of HIV, the old method would have presented itself as a very real close shave with death.
In the old days, perhaps due to lack of knowledge of hygiene of the crowning glory, infestation by lice was quite common. It most commonly affected the ladies, but menfolk were also not spared.
A cousin came back from school one day, scratching her scalp non-stop. By the third day, her sister and her mother were also affected. Things came to a head, when they discovered some tiny whitish creatures clinging onto their hair.
Fortunately, Grandma had a secret weapon, called the Sikat Kutu. She ran the formidable fine-tooth comb through the tresses of all 3 ladies — one swipe after another, and many lice were exposed, dislodged and summarily quashed.
But that was not enough. Kerosene was rubbed onto their hair to make sure there were no living remnants. Other folks even used a very pungent antiseptic white powder.