Saturday, September 24, 2005

5 Rs to 12 $ - A hair cut tale

I was sitting in ‘Kathy’s Nails & Hairs’ near to my apartment and letting hair-specialist to work on my hair. As that barber went about his work, my mind began running few years back….

I think its name was ‘Mamata Hair Saloon’, which was few doors away from our house in Harihar. But popularly it was known as ‘Chinnappana Cutting Shop’ after its owner’s name.It was the ‘official’ saloon for me for more than 20 years. Till I finished my Engineering and moved out of Harihar, each of my haircuts was done in that Saloon!

Chinnappa na cutting shop was always crowded on Sunday and that’s when I used to go for hair cut. There used to be ‘Prajaa Vaani’ and ‘Nagara Vaani’ newspapers for waiting customers. By the time, my turn came, I would have finished each & every letter in the newspapers from sports page to reader’s letters!

Then hair cut would start. As they knew exactly what hair cut to do (Why don’t they know about their long-standing elite customer!).They would start hair cut as soon as I sat on the chair without asking what to do. I always had ‘Pilewan Cut’ which in other words meant very short hair.

Initially in the school, I used to be taunted and was made fun of because of this ‘Pilewan Cut’.So I did got ideas to change the hair styles. But that taunting soon died out after I became all teachers’s ‘darling’ in the school and after same taunters had to get some help from me in class!

Strangely enough, I never visited any saloon in entire 2 years when I was in Dharwad for PU and instead used to get haircut whenever I visited Harihar, of course in Chinnappa’s shop! I had seen the hair cut price growing over years starting from 5 Rs to 15 Rs in that shop.

Once I was in Bangalore, the hair saloons became like web sites. Go to whichever you feel like!!

In Laksmipuram, CMH road where I stayed for more than year, there was this hair saloon which I went couple of times.That barber was a full fan of Kamal Hasaan and whatever Kamal tried on scene with his hair, this guy would have tried it himself. Then I moved to Domlur and visited couple of saloons there.The average hair cut cost was 25 Rs.

There was no personal touch to hair cuts anymore, no cinema gossips, and no big political discussions.

When in Chennai for 2 months, had to go for a hair cut and that was one of the funniest hair cutting sessions I had. Barber didn’t know anything other than Tamil & I have to use sign language and only word he understood was ‘short’.The barber was happily watching some songs in some Tamil channel and doing hair cut.I was praying that he would spare my ears !!!

So all those hair-cut experiences had left a typical picture in my mind about saloons.’Hair Saloon’ immediately brought images of some (usually small) shop with lots of mirrors,some fancy chairs,scissors-blades-combs,heavily-talking barbers,radio-tv-newspapers-magazines,hair across the floor...

Hair and time wait for none!

So after coming to Torrance I went in search of a hair saloon.My previous image of barber shop was about to change.Near my apartment there were at least some 6 saloons.I visited each of those saloons find out more about them.I have to hop from saloon to saloon because of hair cut costs and also as few saloons required ‘appointments’!

There were saloons offering hair cut starting from 10$ to 25$ and a price left for anybody's imagination. After doing survey of saloons, finally I choose a saloon which I thought was decent where ‘basic’ hair cut was 12$.

This whole saloon looked very high-tech with plethora of gadgets all across.People were sitting and waiting on a nice couch ,watching TV and going through those cine-magazines.There were people getting done variety of hair-operations.There were people who were getting hair colored. People were getting their nails polished & trimmed. There was a lady who was sitting on a chair with a bowl on her head (I came to know later she is trying to get a curly hair!)

My turn came & barber asked me what I want to go for.
I asked for a basic hair cut. It almost sounded like telling to Dell that I want a PC with a basic configuration !!

The barber shoot his next question ‘What stage 2 or 3? “
Stage?? I was puzzled and asked him to show how stage 3 looks like.He smiled & showed his head.Now that I had a bench mark I opted for stage 2!!!

Next question ‘any shades you want try?’ and pointed to the chart.It was looking like an Asian Paints Color chart with different range of shades for hair.I said no but could not stop cross checking the color, guy next-chair had chosen for his hair. It was rose pink shade!

During haircut session, many gadgets were brought out which I had never seen before.It looked barber hardly used scissors but instead used these gadgets. After working on my hair for a while, he declared that hair cut is done.It wasn’t bad at all..

That was my first cut with saloons in US.
I later came to know that there is a ‘Barber College’ where there are courses for budding barbers.

I was brought back to present when barber told me ‘Is this fine with you?’ I nodded my head, paid 12$ and started walking back to apartment, thinking how nice it would have been if those saloons with those 'Prajaa Vaani-Nagara Vaani' and talking barbers were here. How nice it would be if barbers here would talk like there anything about politics & Cinema??

A hairy wish ???!!!


Broadband Guy said...
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TS said...
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