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    Ohh Barber, My Barber

    How much do you love your barber? No, I am serious. You may think, of all the people why on earth one would end up loving his/her barber? Sonu Nigam and so as Lasith Malinga don’t love their barbers. Do they? Then why the hell should we, I or they should?

    Well, before more questions ornamented with better adjectives pop up inside your brain, let’s get down that nostalgic memory lane and see if my question carry some worth. Think of those days when the mother ship gives you that unholy option which you just can’t refuse or accept either way. ‘Get a haircut or get the hell out of this house’. Out of compulsion you reluctantly venture out to get that haircut all the while wondering; doesn’t Michel Jackson have a mother or worse, why not all mothers are like that of Michel Jackson’s. In such occasions when the whole world including your own mother look like one big enemy it is our dear barber who comes to our rescue. Invariably wearing the filthiest pair of dress one can wear our barber is always more than just ready to carve a Tom Cruise out of the average Tushar Kapoors of the world. How comfortable we always are to handover our porcupine growth on the skull to be trimmed, mowed and champied by our barber to bring it to some kind of shape. How we are always confident of our barber to deliver the best every time we land up at his place. The proposition and proofs to love one’s barber are so enormous that even Pakistan can’t deny. So here is my tribute to the ever loving barber and everything that is associated with him.
    His Tools: - Not quite sure about others, but my barber for sure carries more number of tools than that Tata Nano factory possibly contains. Every time I see him at his shop he always has at least five of them in his hand and few dozen tucked away in his customized trouser with pockets easily outnumbering the number of seculars in the Congress party. Every time I see him an inherent fear and a long standing wish always gets reincarnated. The wish is to see him someday without any of his tools in his hand and putting on a different pair of outfit, which I would be honest to confess, is only the second wish of mine after the wish of seeing Karunanidhi without his black shades some day. The fear is out of pure love. It always worried me to see my barber visiting the loo with all those gadgets in his hand. A little mishap and my barber is gone for all good money. Honestly, I just can’t imagine my barber changing his profession and moving around local trains to make a living. And boy doesn’t our barber maneuvers his tools with surgeon’s precision to even shame the Chennai Autorickshaw drivers?
    The Ambiance: - For a longtime I believed my barber’s outlet is the Sheesh Mahal thing that our movies talk about. For the life of me I never understand the utility of so many mirrors inside a cabin small enough to even accommodate Nitin Gadkari. Everywhere you look it is you who appears in different angles, showcasing your rapidly thinning out hairline and an ever enthusiastic barber busy with massacring your prized possession. Did anyone notice the magazines our barber shops offer for the waiting customers? My firsthand experience of holding something other than my irritating text books had come in the form of a glossy secondhand magazine with its name been torn apart at my barber shop. That was also my firsthand experience of something now we know by ‘Skimpy Clothing’. I don’t know how but a bikini clad photograph of Monmoon Sen suddenly made me more hygienic. While I was earlier threatened with dire consequences before I agree for a haircut; it suddenly turned into a proactive phenomenon so much so that I requested for a haircut twice a month. I had this journey from Monmoon Sen to Deepika Padukone but yet to get the reason on why the magazine has to be relieved of its name. And yes, can you really forget those Altaf Raza numbers few years earlier and those of Himesh Reshamiya hits not so long?
    The Business Acumen: - ‘What Baba, you have turned so black. Almost charcoal’, were the first words of my barber every time he sees me. What the hell; I always was a charcoal from my birth. Did you ever saw me possessing that Fardeen Khan completion? I always wanted to argue but every time stopped by his second set of words. ‘Too much Cricket in the sun? Hmmm? No?’ It took me sometime before I realized the underneath business idea laced in those affectionate caring words. It took me a good effort to understand the real intentions of his worries for my fading complexion and looks while I see my mom having an entirely different idea and still finds me more handsome than Brad Pit and George Clooney put together. It always was a routine thing. No sooner my barber is done with making a scarecrow out of me he is ready with his set of suggestions to make me look more handsome knowing fully well that it is as impossible as Rajnikanth respecting the laws of Physics. ‘Baba, why don’t you do a facial? It will make you glow like Rajiv Shukla’. Really? Is always my expression. ‘See how darker you look because of these sun tans’, he adds before I could speak. But you did something similar last time and yet people still struggle to figure out anything other than my teeth in me after twilight. Yes, but we didn’t used Nitrox Oxide last time. We will use it this time to give you that Angelina Jolie texture. He always seems to have an answer for it. I still deny as I am aware that there are things in this era of science and technology which are still termed as impossible. A failure at one doesn’t stop him from attempting at another. ‘Look at your hair Baba. The dandruffs are back. Let’s do an herbal treatment this time’. I deliver my staunch NO even though he promises, an average Dadi of any Ekta Kapoor serials might die someday but these dandruffs won’t ever appear on my skull.
    The Discussions: - The only thing that happens inside a barber shop other than haircutting is a hell lot of discussion by the patrons, either while wating or while having that much needed shaving. An encyclopedia of knowledge. The barber shop that is. From Cricket to Crisis; from Politics to Policies. Or even the passionate comparison of the assets of all Bollywood actresses. It always is enriching and full with truckloads of knowledge. Just because he is a Sikh Monteksing Ahluwallia might not be visiting a barber shop or else I am sure he would have gained a vital perspective of our economy and at least a million of ideas to curb the inflation. Even our judges could also benefit from the ideas laid out on various kinds of punishments to appropriately punish the criminals. From Bobbitting the rape accused to stripping the corrupt and spraying Grihasthi Kashmiri Laal Mirchi on their privates, it always an idea out of the box to even shame the Talibans. The discussion usually turns extremely passionate the moment someone pops up Cricket as a topic. None of the cricketers are spared and the techniques are scrutinized so minutely that I am sure Rahul Dravid must have taken the decision to retire after overhearing one such discussion. Even our defense forces have their share of advice readily available. Rather than fighting a proxy war with Pakistan for decades our forces should learn from these guys on how to attack and destroy that filthy country by first carpet bombing every square inch of their land and then hurling at least half a dozen nuclear bombs without any mercy. As if it is not a full-fledged war that is in discussion but going inside your loo and farting your ass out.
    “A Person Who Doesn’t Love His/Her Barber Is Not At All Secular But Communal Like RSS – Digvijay Singh”  


    1. I watched the thinning hair in those mirrors. I heard him sell me impossible solutions. Today I use a trimming device once a fortnight and save my barber the headache of searching for hair on my head and then proceeding to trim it. I do remember my barbers (from fond to horror) including their perverse habit of leaning on me.... and yes, I miss moonmoon sen. She was awesome. Perhaps it was the era and I remember her fondly because that was the only access to the skimpy stuff in those published glossies. Perhaps it was because across time she is far sexier than most... But yes, along with my barber(s), I miss her. I raise my hat to you for the usual perceptive insight with which you brought out this aspect of barber shops (the glossies) which I remember as well from my adolescence.... sigh.

    2. really you made me nostalgic. true every word and also the GRIHASTHI LAL MIRCH mention made me more nostalgic as grihasthi is a brand exclusive to rourkela only....

      thanks for an good timepass article