Barbers & Their Tricks
I now have very closely cropped hair. Only because my barber didn`t having Rs 10 to give back.
He asked me for Rs 40, for a close enough cut. I handed him a fifty rupees note and waited for him to give back the change. The deft barber – I know for only a few minutes back he had tried to sell medicinal oil from Kerala which would make my hair grow like Jack`s magical beans – looked in his cash box for long before saying he didn`t have Rs 10 to give me. He meant business.
“Now, what?” I asked.
“I can give you a shave.” The barber replied. He had a glint in his eyes, which roughly translated meant “MONEY”.
“No…I don`t want a shave. I had one only this morning. Can you give me a massage?”
“Massage for ten bucks? I didn`t accidentally cut the blood supply to your brains or did I?”
We continued our argument before the barber came up with a classic offer. He said he could compensate by cutting my hair ‘shortest` so that I wouldn`t have to spend money on my haircut for another two months. I agreed because initially I had only requested for ‘shorter`. Now we were going for ‘shortest`.
Before you agree to such a deal with your barber, let me warn you it is a dangerous thing to do. People around you look at you as if you were an anti-social element. The movie directors of the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and the 90s…should be blamed for this. In all movies their villains had to be abnormal and what inexpensive way to stand out than by tonsuring the villain`s head? There was no risk either – the hair would grow back again.
Hair – Part Of The Body That Grows Back
Now, you know why there is such a huge line of devotees in front of Tirupathi`s tonsuring center. I am yet to meet a person who stood in front of Tirupathi (or any other temple) and said: “Wow…am so happy…I am going to sacrifice my right arm today. It was something my mother promised when I was sick and everybody thought I was going to die but I lived on.”
At this juncture, let me state that I believe in God and will soon be having a tonsuring ceremony for my daughter (and might have one for myself too, for I have heard it works out cheaper!).
Scaring Away the Clients of Indian Railways
Right now I am in a train – on my way back from Kerala and thanks to this stereotyping of the villains (remember the bad man ‘Shetty`…who always died in the climax because the hero pulled out a live wire and placed it on his bald/tonsured head)…two young girls (and their pretty mother) have been regarding me with suspicion.
When the Traveling Ticket Examiner came, I heard the mother whisper to the TTE: “Can you move that dangerous looking man to another compartment please? My daughters are scared.”
I dug deeper into my book but continued to eavesdrop. The TTE said: “What? Him? He seems to be only 4 feet tall and you are scared of him?”
“Yeah. I won`t be able to close my eyes if this man (at this time she was pointing at me) is sitting so close to my daughters.”
The TTE seemed to be a determined person. He said: “Do you realize that your younger daughter – the one you say is eight years old – is taller than him?”
I swallowed the insult with a dose of PG Wodehouse (that`s what I was reading) and continued to listen. Luckily there was no more talk of my height. After the TTE left, I smiled at the lady and she smiled back. Looked like the smile I would give a class X bully. I didn`t pursue the case. No man worth his salt can ever get angry on a pretty lady. Even if she is a mother of two.
Nothing much happened thereafter…but I still think the movie directors should try out different types of villains – like the one-handed one, the one-legged one…and the one with no large intestines.
Till then, I pity all the Peters of the World. Wasn`t that the name of all the villains` right hand men? Remember: “Peter, mujhe who chahiye… zinda ya murda.”
*I tried to look really scary while the photographs were snapped. You have to tell me if I succeeded.