Monday, September 20, 2010

The Math Lecturer ...

Haircuts are typically weekend morning ( the earlier the better) chores. Yesterday was an exception though.In an unusual, impulsive act, I decided to go for a haircut at around 8.00 PM.

The hair dresser was new to the place and the owner called him close and instructed .

"Sir is working in the University ...give him a nice stylish haircut" .

I realized it would be a futile exercise trying to explain that the institute I work is legally not a part of the University and so I shifted my thought to something more productive .... the haircut per se . By any definition , mine is certainly not a stylish hair syle. I hence closed my eyesa and started to mentally picture different stylish hairstyles on my head.

The interesting thought process was interrupted by some discussions on differential calculus !!... I almost jumped from the seat preparing to run away. (I have always had this healthy allergy for Math in general and calculus in particular)..

But was'nt I in a saloon ?? ....I opened my eyes and was reassured to find myself still in the saloon ... I saw a pair of hands silently 'cutting away and styling' my hair. Before I could close my eyes again to resume my thoughts on hair styles, I heard the word 'calculus' yet again and was stunned to realize that it was my hair dresser who was uttering it . I had not looked at his face properly till then ...I glared into the mirror and saw a fine face. Politely I asked him what he has studied ...and he said he had a M.Sc in Mathematics and an M.Phil at EVR College (The college was named after the great rationalist leader Periyar E.V.Ramasamy, who had bought that piece of land and donated it to the Government to start the College. My Father had served as Librarian in this college for a large part of his career)....

What the hell was happening to the education system ....

I looked at him ....and he said he was working as a Lecturer in Mathematics in an Engineering college ...softly adding that they were not paying him too well.....

I did not know how to react ... The hair styling was over. The Math Lecturer had done a decent job...I paid and left ...wondering not just if I would take a comb and a pair of scissors to style somebody's hair, but of Periyar and the current day Education Industry, of dignity of labor , of the purpose of education etc etc...


  1. Feels good to see your post after a long gap.

  2. nice post sir!
    i agree with u for fearing "Calculus".
    but a maths prof cutting hair on one side shows his humility in doing any part time job.. and on other side speaks volumes abt our devolving society.