24 May 2007

Conversation at a barber shop (saloon for you Hollywood types!!)

I am sitting between a guy who is having his hair coloured and a kid who is probably the finickiest customer when it comes to hair styling. The conversation which was in Hindi is translated for those who may have forgotten the language either during transportation to Amkrika or sitting long hours in a coffee shop.

Guy Who Is Getting His Hair Coloured - GWIGHHC (to the owner): Chacha, mujhe aap sab sikhaa dena. (Uncle, Please teach me everything.)

Owner: Tu do teen saal rahegaa, to mard bana doongaa tujhe. (You stay with me for two three years I will make you a man.)

I turn to look at GWIGHHC. I realize he is an employee who is getting his hair coloured, probably related to the owner.

Finicky Kid – FK: Aargh!! Thik se kato. Itna chota nahin!!! (Cut it properly. Not that short!)

GWIGHHC – Mujhe sikna hai. Aage badhna hai.( I want to learn and move ahead in life.)

Owner: Tu do teen saal rahegaa, to mard bana doongaa tujhe. (You stay with me for two three years I will make you a man.)

I look at the Owner. What is he driving at? Am I missing something here?

GWIGHHC – Main Bangalore mein kaam karna chahta hoon. (I want to work in Bangalore.)

Owner: Haan wahan bhi hamari saloon hai. (Yes we have a saloon there.)

GWIGHHC: Wahan bahut paisa hai. Bahar se log jo settle hain, cutting ka bahut paisa dete hain. (There is lot of money there. NRIs pay a lot of money for a hair cut.)

Owner: Arre tujhe koi problem nahi hogi. Bas bol dena Salim ke saath tha. Kuch aur bolne ki zaroorat hi nahi hai. (You will have no problem. Just tell them you were with Salim.)

FK : Itna chota kar diya!!! (You have cut it too short!!)

Owner: Lekin Tu Gurgaon kyun nahin Jataa. Wahan jyaadaa paisa hai… (Why don’t you go to Gurgaon? There is more money there…)

Barber shops are places for interesting conversations. Since I have to remove my specs, I end up concentrating on what people are saying. It was here that I learnt (five days before the results) that Mayawati will win in UP (and you thought CNN IBN got it right) and that Amisha Patel is the most popular actress according to Punjab Kesari readers. (was is the coloured hair that got those punjabis?)

And this is not men’s prerogative. had the chance to listen in on a conversation at a hair stylist for women (don’t ask me how) and conversation was equally bizarre(the real reason why men like short haired women but marry long haired ones). One always gathers nuggets of wisdom that cannot be found anywhere else – coffee shops included. Probably it’s the same sex thing. Isolated in a room you are able to open up and discuss India’s economy and do a spot poll on fastest growing cities. Such conversations begin naturally with manhood issues with an adolescent shouting in the background.

In this visit I finally learnt that India is still Shining (for barbers at least) and the place to be is Gurgaon. Bangalore is passé. But this left me wondering - what about Nagpur? Don't people there get a hair cut?
PS. In case you missed joining the Army join Salim's saloon (East Patel Nagar). In two three years we will make you a man. Promise.

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