Shaandar Hair Cutting Salon!

The name says it all! Its situated among one of the many boulevards that Mulund boasts of.. This street near my place is full of such shops which some small time traders have set up. There are kutchis, Shettys, Guptas and Yadavs among others who have made this street what it is today.. Among all these shops is Shaandar Hair cutting salon

I have been going there since I can remember.. My dad used to take me there.. I always hated my long locks being cut.. I dunno why, but it felt bad...very like someone died.. Maybe it was coz of the tajis* you get the next day at school, or maybe its coz your teacher wanted you to cut your hair short and threatened to tie you a pony tail if you didnt.. Somehow not doing what the grownups want you to do always seemed cool to me (i still find it cool!) By tht logic, cutting your hair was so UNcool..

tajis*- the ritual(?) tht involves slapping the back of the head of the guy whos got a fresh cut. Kids usually stop tht once they get into the 5th grade..Well, most kids do..

So the point is tht my dad used to take me to Shaandar Hair cutting salon every 4-5th Sunday.. I had to come up with like really silly excuses for not having my locks cut and my dad had to come up with like really silly anecdotes to get my dark long locks cut- "You look like a monkey with your falling on your face like tht" (Little did he know tht a few years down the line someone with the very same credentials will rock Bollywood.. yeah SRK! mrgreen)

I have no idea why we went to Shandaar.. Maybe coz it was nearest from home about 5 mins walk and we still took our kinetic..Yeah lazy we were!

So we would get into Mr.Yadav's(tht was his name if I rem correctly) salon. Mr.Yadav is this big paan chewing guy who has the mother of all beer bellies...His teeth were stained but tht didnt seem to embarass him coz he laughed heartily at any silly thing tht his "boys" said in their Bihari accent..

Shaandar cutting was a small place, you walked 6-7 steps inside and you would hit the wall & I am talking first grader steps. Once inside, it felt like a really cool place to be in with the blue coloured plastered walls,mirrors mirrors on the walls, hindi magzines like "sulekha" or something, radio playing songs from the 60s.. Now I, like any other self respecting rap loving, eminem worshiping fan didnt like those songs, but there is something about tht place, you wanna sing along Rajesh Khanna when he goes "mere sapno ki rani kab aayigi tu..chalii aaaa tuu chaliii aaaa..."

Tht place had a weird smell.. The smell of henna, V-John shaving cream, pan parag (or whtever tht is tht he used to chew), Raj ratan red coloured hair oil, pan parag (did i mention tht already?). And thn all these smells amalgamated together to give your olfactory lobe a high of a lifetime..

Mr. Yadav's modus operandi was simple.. Get the sicssors and get snapping.. "Sab Barik kar dena"("Cut it all short"), was all my dad had to say.. and Yadav uncle would dutifully cut my hair short, real short.. But thankfully my hair grew at a rapid pace and there I was again after 6 sundays!

Then I got into the 7th grade, the grade when suddenly your appearence becomes important coz of tht girl you been eyeing and she probably likes you for your cool locks.. You cut your hair and all tht remains of you is, well, uncool.. And they call us "shallow"!

I started going to Shaandar solo, I noticed he had taken dad's "Sab Barik kar dena" very seriously.. It was time I made a few modifications to this statement..
"Uncle, Kaan ke upar ke barik kar dena, baki lamba rakhna"
(Cut the hair around the ears short, and dont touch the others..)
He didnt seem to like this new "kaan ke upar..." thingy. I got this feeling that he loved the "Sab barik kar dena" thing.. That maybe coz he got more freedom to snap his scissors tht way..

"Arre garmi ke din hai, barik karva lo"(Its summer time, u better get a short crop), Yadav uncle used to say mid-January!!!
He kept cuttin my hair the way he wanted, which was real short, and I didnt like it too much... I just kept waiting for a better salon to come up near my place.

I stopped going to Shandaar once I got into engg. Another place had come up near my house. This place had an AC, and it didnt smell, it had english mags, it had lesser mirrors...And yes, no pan parag. The guy who worked there was all cool and stuff with highlights in his hair and used to speak broken english. V-John cream was replaced by Gillette foam gel, Hair gel had taken the place of Raj-Ratan oil, cable TV instead of the radio... In one word, this place was COOL..

The other day, the place where I go usually, was closed and I needed a haircut, so I decided to go to Shaandar..
The place still smelt weird. And yes, there was paan parag around.

Mr.Yadav wrapped a white cloth around my collar

"Kaisa hai?", Mr. Yadav asked.
The mother of all beer bellies had become even bigger, like when you felt there can be no one bigger than "undertaker" and then "Khali" walks in.. The teeth were stainier than ever.. He looked old, half the hair had gone grey, he looked weary too. The condition of the salon wasnt too good either, it looked like a whitewash would help.. Sumhow I got the feeling tht business wasnt too good..

I was taken back by Mr.Yadav's "Kaisa hai?". For two reasons- First, he still remembered me! Its been 3 years since I have been here.. Second, he asked "Kaisa hai?" insted of "Kaise hain?"(which imparts more respect). But this guy knew me since I was 3 feet above the ground, so I guess it was ok..

"Theek hoon.."

"Aaj kal aate nahi aap"
I realised he shifted to a more respectful form of addressing. Sumhow I didnt like it very much. I have been used to being called "tu" by this guy and then all of a sudden he shifts to "aap". It makes you realise tht on the outside you are a grown man to the world.

" Bahar rehta hoon aajkal"
How could I come up with a lie tht unconvincing..

"Sahab(refering to my dad) aate hain kabhi-kabhi "


"Aap bhi aaya karo.."


"Ab toh dadhi banvane bhi aa sakte ho!!! HA HA HA HA"
Stained teeth still didnt embarass him


"Kaisa katun baal? Kaan ke upar ke barik kar deneka, baki lamba rakhne ka na?"

He still remembered how I wanted my hair!!

"Nahi uncle, Sab barik kar do....."

I still remembered how he wanted my hair!!

Update:(May 01)
There is this blog one of my schoolmate has, he has written bout a similar post on haircuts, and the way it is written is dramatically similar to mine.. Now I found it scary, see if it scares you too, it was written way back in Jan or something. Here is the link

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12 letters to the editor:

    On April 24, 2008 at 8:46 AM     
    Unknown said...

    arshat.........that was such a sweet story!!!!! it is amazing how little things that people remember can make u feel so special :)

    On April 24, 2008 at 9:44 PM     
    Anonymous said...

    Another TPI trademark. another of those sentimental ending post. you have hit the sweet spot buddy.

    BTW u are tagged.

    On April 25, 2008 at 2:27 PM     
    Chriz said...

    now i badly need an haircut

    On April 28, 2008 at 2:13 PM     
    aroop said...

    Somehow not doing what the grownups want you to do always seemed cool to me (i still find it cool!) By tht logic, cutting your hair was so UNcool..

    you do realise, that your elders want you to get married :D

    Arshat man..
    gud 1..
    i too had d same situation.
    quite sometimes whn my new saloon is over crowded, i hv 2 go 2 my YADAV uncle 4 a haircut whn its quite urgent..
    & dis is almost d same way d conversation goes..

    Yeah, it really is amazing...


    thanks for the tag.. will post bout it soon

    If this is you in the pic, then I think you do! :P


    They wanna get me maried? and NOW you tell me??
    RUN arshat RUN :P

    hmm... pushkar was saying something silmilar the other day..

    On September 23, 2008 at 8:46 PM     
    Anonymous said...

    that was really the most mundane things make you all misty eyed when you look back.

    the writing style is breezy & very involving....

    On October 27, 2008 at 11:10 PM     
    Nupur said...

    Your blog is addictive!!!