She looks like a shadow, moves like a shadow; it's only when you place your head into her hands and she gently starts washing it, massaging the scalp, and then styling your hair - only then does she look and sound human, a lively female creature full of energy and humor.
Ina (short for Irina) is a Chernobyl survivor.
Yes, Chernobyl- that dreadful region in Ukraine where on 26 April 1986 early morning , the most devastating nuclear disaster of all times occurred. They said the explosion in the nuclear plant, located close to the town of Prypiat at the border with the Belarus republic, was the result of faulty design of one of the reactors and mistakes done by workers.
Almost twenty-four years later, the affected area is still a 'dead zone' with deserted towns and villages, decaying ghost houses and high radiation which will remain high for hundreds if not thousands of years. At first, there was talk of a 30 km 'dead zone' around the plant, but as the years went by , it became clear that it was much larger, 300 km at least.
(I strongly recommend reading about it on the website elenaefimova.com It's a must).
Ina had been exposed to moderate radiation. When she arrived in Israel in 1991 she was diagnosed with two types of cancer. She claims that she's clean now of malignancy due to some unique treatment (combined conventional and alternative means) administered to her by a russian doctor living in Germany and specializing in radiation victims.
Anyway, on the day of my appointment with her, after she had finished 'upgrading' my hair , and I was above to leave the tiny hairdresser 's unit attached to her appartment, I said to Ina the following : "the person who has recommended you, told me that you are too good to be true, and I agree with every word".
"Oh , it's not me , it's my obsessive behaviour about hair", she said in surprising honesty.
It appears that as a result of her long periods of Hair Loss, side-effect of chemotherapic treatments, she has developed an obsessive need to touch and work with women's hair in its live, natural place- on the head. She's very skilled and her hairstyling is considered of high quality. Once a month she volunteers her services as a hairdresser to hospitals and aged people's homes in her area.
On that evening, I attended a festive event. A friend complimented me about the way my hair looked and asked who did it. "I'm afraid it's not Who, it's What - apparently, a 'neurobehavioral' disorder did it" said I , and told her about Ina and her confession.