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Old 3rd March 2008, 17:27   #1
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Default Nostalgia

Saturday - 1900 hours in my parking lot at Chembur. I get down from my car and on the spur of the moment decide to get my hair trimmed.

I walk over to the main road and proceed to the barber's shop, smsing away on my cell phone. Its dark and there are no street lights, only neon reflections from the boards of the different stores lining the road.

I reach the place, A1 Hair Cutting Saloon it says and I walk in and suddenly it hits me.

I am feeling fresh as soon as I walk in. There is a whiff of air that seems so nice to breathe. To my right I can see a whole mirrored wall. I stop and stare at myself. All the seats are occupied and I am asked to wait for 5 minutes.

As I sit down I notice the soft sofa type arrangement for the waiting people is so similar to the ones that we see on the local trains in Mumbai. Similar blue shade and stitched up in rexin. I sit and my eyes wander to the heap of magazines lying there. And I realise that a barber's shop is one place where you will get all the latest film and televison magazines like Filmfare, Cine Blitz et all. I mean these guys get it as soon as it hits the stands. Maybe it is because in the good old days people used to come and check out the magazines for the hair styles of film stars and get themselves a similar hair cut. That tradition continues.

I then look around. A wall on which there is a mirror running across the length, in front of which there are 5 chairs, no wait they are not chairs. Recliners would be an apt word. All occupied with different people, different in looks, different in religion and different in the treatment they are getting. One uncle is getting his hair dyed while another 30 year old guy is getting his goatee perfect. And one young fellow has come for a shave. I watch in fascination.

The uncle getting his hair dyed is asked to wait for the dye to dry and I am asked to step up and take the chair. I get up and drop myself into the chair. Ooh baby its damn comfortable. I sink into it and put my feet on the support that's in front of the chair. I am loving it. The chair has a wheel (like the ones you find on ships) to recline it, on the right side. And it almost reclines to 180 degrees. I relax (no the chair was not reclined 180 degrees) soaking in the atmosphere.

And it was bright. I look up and see 6 tube lights and that full length mirror enhanced that bright feeling. I look at the table in front of me and find it filled with assorted knick knacks. 3-4 different types of combs, a ustra (razor) kept in glass that is filled with a solution of dettol & water, a hard brush that's used to clean hair of your clothes and head, a box full of blades, a flower pot shaped brush that applies shaving cream to your face, a Nivea cold cream box that been filled with powder and the duster that applies the powder on top of it, assortment of different shaving creams (even foams) and after shave lotions (thats where the different fresh air I guess).... " Sahab kya karna hai?" I am shaken out of my fascinated glaze. I explain that I need to trim my hair and tell him how it is to be done.

Out comes a big apron that is tied around my neck and immediately I feel like a baby who is going to be fed with cerelac. While he is doing that I get a chance to observe him in the mirror. A young guy of about 25 with a hair style that faintly reminded me of a certain Amitabh Bachchan. But then any young guy coming from UP to work here has a AB hangover i guess

Then he suggests a few things and we start discussing on how to go about it. Once we arrive to a conclusion, he picks up a pair of scissors and a comb and then looks at my hair. Keeps the scissor back on the table and picks up the most important and most used accessory in the shop - a water sprayer.

He sprays cold water on my hair and combs it to one side. I ask him to spray some on my face. He obliges and the moment the spray hits my face, I am ecstatic. It feels sooooooo damn good and fresh. Then he wipes my face with a tissue and starts working with the scissor on my hair. Snip, snip, snip he goes expertly while I watch in fascination.

After a while he finishes the job and opens the drawer. He picks up that electric shaver used to remove small hair under your collar on the back of the neck. I remember I used to get tickled when I was a kid when that razor was used and now when it's used, I find all hair on body standing and I get that ticklish feeling all over again.

That done, he gets a big mirror and holds it behind my head so that I can see how the job has been done. I turn left, turn right looking carefully and run my hands through my hair. I feel it was good and I tell him. The mirror is kept away and then out comes the hard brush which is used vigorously to wipe away traces of any hair left on my face, clothes or body. Then he uses that flower pot brush to liberally apply some talcum powder on the back of my neck.

Then with a flourish he puts my shirt collar back and asks me whether I want a head massage. I refuse and he seems a bit upset.

I pay him 40 rupees and tip him too, after all I got A1 treatment for that kind of money. He smiles and I smile back. I walk out feeling lighter on my head but much much more fresher than I went in. Who wouldn't , when childhood memories come flooding back ? Pure Nostalgia.

ps - One change I observed was that these days the classic 2 in 1 stereo is no more in vogue. In it's place we have the "all over the place" FM Radio. I missed listening to songs on a cassette on a 2 in 1 stereo player.
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Old 3rd March 2008, 17:44   #2
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Sam, you forgot to log in as yourself.
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Old 3rd March 2008, 17:56   #3
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There is a story teller in all of us... Beautiful one NC. I loved it.
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Old 3rd March 2008, 18:02   #4
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Originally Posted by Bass&Trouble View Post
Sam, you forgot to log in as yourself.
took quite a few seconds to understand...

@NC - nice story. its amazing that I went through the entire story even though it was on hair-cutting
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Old 3rd March 2008, 18:09   #5
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Nice story N_C. What a story that too about a haircut. One question though, was this like the first haircut you went for after like many many years.

Atleast show a pic of the new don. a don of a new era.
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Old 3rd March 2008, 18:19   #6
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One question though, was this like the first haircut you went for after like many many years.

I wanted to ask him the same question before I realized I havent had a haircut anywhere in a long time myself.
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Old 3rd March 2008, 18:21   #7
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Sam, you forgot to log in as yourself.
I was thinking the same. But beautiful written.
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Old 3rd March 2008, 18:23   #8
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I wanted to ask him the same question before I realized I havent had a haircut anywhere in a long time myself.
So does that mean we will get to read another hair raising haircut tale from you?

Nice post NC. I didnt know you had a Yeti in you. You should rename this thread

"A Don's Guide to a proper haircut " And I think the Yeti needs a haircut too.
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Old 3rd March 2008, 18:28   #9
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LOL this reminds me of my experience of a haircut. NC has made it look like its a lot of fun, on the contrary i used to be paranoid.

When you enter the barber's shop you see hair lying all around, not a very pretty sight. The hair is everywhere on the seat, between the pages of the magazines, in that gap between the bench. If you rest your palm on the seat you will have hair of all sorts sticking to it.

Next is the chair, comfortable and nice with the best headrest ever, but somehow I felt like a bakra sitting on it.

Then the barber starts with the spray from the bottle that used to enter the nostrils and make me sneeze like crazy, this used to annoy the barber. Since I don’t have thick hair the excess water used to run down my neck and onto the back and you know how it feels. Next were the frightening sharp scissors, the barber goes snip snip snip with them even before he has touched the hair, 1 snip out of 3 used to cut a bit of hair I don’t know why he used to do it in thin air? Unnecessary waste of energy. The sound reminded me of a butcher sharpening his knife. Then when the deft touches behind the ear went wrong it send a searing pain through your whole body and if you twitched a little bit, rest assured you would get another jab, so the trick was not to move even though you are in pain.

Then he used to twist my head in all directions; down, up, sideways, and some at an angle my neck was never supposed to move.

Then it was the falling hair getting into your eyes, mouth, nostrils and ears. And the ITCH ahh the ITCH, you had to scratch your nose but couldnt because your hands were below the cloth, and you couldn’t dare stop the artist(barber) to clear that irritating strand of hair in the fear that he will jab you again with those scissors.

Then came out the ustra, we used to use the same device in our biology class to cut open frogs. And seeing it in his hand made me realize what the frog must have been thinking. Now if this device touched a dry part of your skin you would get to know about it once some sweat gets onto that region. The rashes used to not heal for over a week.

When the barber styles your hair it looks nice and tidy but after a bath how much ever you may try you cant get it back in the same style.

Then the mirror showing you all sides of the back of your head, I mean what do I do when he shows me the rear of my head, there is only one way the hair is styled on the back of your head, unless you are David Beckham or one of the metrosexuals. You invariably shake your head in the positive, pay him and walk out dreading that you will be back soon.

Last edited by Spitfire : 3rd March 2008 at 18:30.
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Old 3rd March 2008, 18:51   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B&T
Sam, you forgot to log in as yourself.
Sam going to a barber shop? Yeah,right!
@NC:Very detailed and nice.Have you been going to salons for long before you visited this barber shop?
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Old 3rd March 2008, 19:10   #11
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Quote:
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So does that mean we will get to read another hair raising haircut tale from you?
Nope. All my hair raising tales are the matter of utmost secrecy.



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I didnt know you had a Yeti in you.
Neither did I. You think you know people and then this happens.
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Old 3rd March 2008, 19:11   #12
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Love barber shops and i prefer it anyday to the saloons. What a feel and the guys there give you that really nice feeling. Loved getting a head massage and prefer it being done without that stupid machine they have in some places nowadays. And for sure i have never been able to comb my hair the way the barber does it.
Great writeup NC
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Old 4th March 2008, 10:44   #13
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The last time i went in for a chop (read haircut), the guy asked me how long it had been since i last had my hair cut - thats how long it is now. When i was a kid, used to get my hair chopped, as soon as i was able to pull it.

Gautam, nicely narrated. Like you said, it did bring back childhood memories.
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Old 4th March 2008, 11:01   #14
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Oh my god! Gautam, it's fantastic!
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Old 4th March 2008, 11:01   #15
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Quote:
Dippy : I didnt know you had a Yeti in you.
theMAG : Neither did I. You think you know people and then this happens.
Boy, oh Boy. Look What's happening here !
Some one is sure having a lot of fun .. wonder if it is the D-BHPian or the M-BHPian !!
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