Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Hair Raising Stories 

I just came back from the barber shop. When it comes to haircuts I believe in brevity - both in size and instructions. "Number 5 on top and number 3 on the sides please." That's all I say. However, we all know that a barber's shop is a place for discourse - it's almost like the modern day equivalent of ancient Greece's philosophers meet where every topic ranging from Polly to Politics is discussed. However, this is the third time I noticed something and it seems too good to be a sheer coincidence - just before finishing my hair cut the barber tells me a slightly emotional story and I get moved and tip him a lil more than I normally would. Like today. We were both quiet till the last few minutes of my hair cut and then he said, "No work for yoo?" "I'm a student," I replied. "Yooo stoodents very cool. I work ten hours every day, seven days every week to earn bread and butter." That's it - I was moved. I recalled a similar story in the same shop from one of my earlier trims where a lady told me that her son studied "Compooter" and is now working in the shop "beecoz Compoooters there eeees no job". Needless to say, the story moved me an scared me simultaneously and I also tipped her well to keep a possible recruiter pleased :)

But my favorite sobby barber story goes back to the land of good ol' Kolkata. Ever since I came to the US my mother is particularly fussy abt the inexperienced meddling with my hair. As a result I'm sent to what is considered Kolkata's premier hair salon. To me it is just as good as my neighborhood shop except for MTV playing in the TV and the few creams they put on my face after the hair cut is done. Yanyway, that's not the point. The guy who was cutting my hair asked me, "Aaap US se ho kya (are you from US)?" I nodded an affirmative yes. "Aaap ki kapde se pataa chala (Guessed it from your clothes)". In my defense I wasn't wearing anything that screamed of my foreign status - except for the fact that I wore shorts to the shop. He then went on to tell me how he has several job offers from Bangkok but none from US. He asked me how much money barbers in US made and I told him some strange amount too. Finally he aimed for the touchdown. "This shop is very big but the owner keeps all the profits. We get paid peanuts. Our main income comes from tips that saabs like you give." Ok! Go ahead and judge me. But it is not everyday that I'm thrown the "saab" bait. I jumped for it and caught the hook by the curve and ten minutes later I came out of the shop after having tipped the guy 1.5 times the tip I normally give.

"Barber dekho. Hazaar bar pheko. Yeh Phekney ke cheez hai humarey dilrooba ..."

P.S. I don't know if things are similar in the highly protected ladies beauty salons. Men are are a strict no no in those places. Though I have to confess that I managed to enter one of those places when I was young. I remember my mother telling the lady "He doesn't understand anything." Ahaa! Ignorance was sooo much fun :)

now then, that was scary, as to how these sneaky barbershop dudes/dudettes gives senitmental sales pitches adnend up peeling off unsuspecting slightly emotional students like u off some cash....lol...do what i do, cut ur hair urself...atleast u have the satisfation of being original.
@sayantani - oh i used to do that - till i realized that i was spending more effort than i wanted to that way. then my ex used to cut my hair but then she started making me put mehendi on her's in return. at the end of the day i realized that the barber did the best job :)
the world truly has all sorts...:)
@me (!) - indeed :)
my my...you've got some hidden talents i see...mehndi artist! Multifaceted arent we? :-)
aha! so finally one of those hilarious ones...

perhaps u shud become a 'booty parlar ' owner.
recently i was in my minimal best in a parlour getting one of those usual things we gals get done at parlours n in walks a man to check some meters n i kept screaming at the women working there "y do u let men inside" n they cooly reply " hez the owner" like as if he isnt a man!!n now i dun even venture in the direction of that parlour!
@bee - oh mehendi is only the start of my skills - ask Ex abt my pedicure and nailpolish abilities :)) (hides in shame)

@swathi - not fair again - how come it never happens that i am in a barber's shop and a hot owner comes in :((
Welocme back.

Me and My brother used to go to the same hair stylist (not anymore). She probes about our family (kids, brother, sister etc.,) during our visit. Once when I was there, I updated on our family developments (my brother got married and back with his new wife and yada yada ). Next day my brother had to visit her for a trim, he repeated the whole story (she asked for it). That evening me and my brother exchanged notes and my bro was so upset saying, if she knew the whole story why did she ask/ listen to me again (I was rofl ing)

This is becoming more than a comment, but Barber's shop is more or less like a shrinks shop - so treat them with respect or they will mess with your head (hair).
Moral of the story
1. when a guy shoves a pair of scissors or a trimmer on ur face he gets wat he wants more often than not
2. we Indians are emotional fools..... dont fret Sagnik we all have been there done that :)
@ratna - :)) see that is why women should date barbers - where else can they get better listeners???

@rohan - that gives me some comfort my friend :)
lol. i laughed when i read this post. you're dead on about it being the equivalent of ancient Greece's philosophers meet. however grumpy you are they're like blah blah. which is fine but then they ask questions: what's your thesis about? i'm thinking you really care? i fucking don't. now i ask them questions, let them do all the talking. only then sometimes i ask them questions which they've already answered in their blah blah. :)
Nah.. baba. It might feel/look like a bad hair day all your life :)
Simple solution (of course this only works if you don't know Tamil) -

Get a haircut in Chennai. Say "medium" before you sit down. That should be all the talking you do :)
@kafka - :)) very true. hey often ask very deep question - "so how is the job scene in your place" and all :))

@ratna - then what would happen to classic like "when hairy met sally"?

@rajesh - i have realized the hard way that the word "small" means different sizes across the World. Never tried medium though!
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