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“Give me a haircut, will you lovey?”, I pleaded and buried my face in wrinkled afternoon pajamas.

He slid down my back in affirmative glee, his naked butt awakening a field of goosebumps on my neck with its cold smoothness. A cold smoothness like cheeks, pressed against phenly-mopped mosaic floors of my grandma’s house, the only respite from black-outs in the rabid dog days of summer vacations.

Summers at grandma’s meant immersing oneself in a blanket of comic books while distinct odors of jackfruit jams scared my brothers away. Once the sun burnt out, intoxicating fumes of mosquito repellant were released to battle sandalwood incense sticks burning by the gods.

Grandma would sit us in a circle around her, drop the silvery winters of her hair — an angry Ganges released from knotted locks — and hand us her red plastic round comb. We fought for turns to brush her shimmering mane and giggled with delight as she dozed off to the waft of jasmine and coconut oil.

I am my grandma’s daughter when another’s fingers venture down my hair. In a post lunch daze I’m prone to initiating a game of hairdressing with my boys. I tell myself it’s a lesson in gender neutrality or some such shoddy cover for this secret pleasure.

This afternoon it was my youngest who scurried off to get his special salon tools. As I waited to surrender myself to the platefuls of spaghetti I’d inhaled an hour ago, I felt the force of jagged tracks threaten to rip open my scalp.

The perpetrator was a serrated plastic saw with a bright orange handle clasped by chubby hands of the grinning monster I birthed. Encouraged by my pained shriek, he let out a “droom, droom”, to indicate his next plan of attack. I quietly lay down, straddled by a toddler with his drill working its way to my forehead, hopeful that a lobotomy might finally cure me of my madness.

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