May 9, 2014
I get haircuts (even Ripley does not believe this!)
I was visiting World Bank office in Nairobi, Kenya and I wanted to look civilized. Or else the bank might fund more projects in India to make us “look” civilized. I was staying in YMCA and it was too late to go out to buy a razor to shave my head (yes, I have so much hair that it needs to be razed, not cut!) I decided to get a haircut from the saloon inside YMCA.
After explaining my hairstylist, Esther, about my necessity of getting a haircut, I sat down on the chair. Of course, we have to kill time. A shave and a haircut that takes ten minutes is too long a silence not to be broken.
“Which country are you from?”
“India,” I said, wallowing in my exoticism.
“I love India. I have always wanted to visit India.”
“You should visit India soon then. Most Kenyans I have met want to visit India.”
My haircut was over by then! Esther prepared me for my shave by lathering up my face and neck. When she was about to scrape the stubble off my neck, she asked “What’s your religion?”
A hard question for an atheist to answer even under normal circumstances. With a knife to my neck, I was gambling. “I am born to Hindu parents,” I responded.
“Hindu? What religion is that?”
“It is a religion which gives you the flexibility to live life any way you want. But some of its followers want you to live life only the way they want. Not sure how different it is from Christianity”
“Oh my God! Can you take me to India with you? I want to spread the love of the lord who died for our sins.”
“What sins have you committed, Esther?”
“I cannot think of any right now. But I must have sinned right? Why would then Jesus die for us, if not for our sins?”
Not knowing how to answer her innocent question, I said, “Visiting India is a long process. You need a passport and a visa. May be your church might help you to visit India.”
“Oh? I need passport and visa even to spread the word of God?”