Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mumbai Mumbles: Heir of the Hair Raiser - 2

( contd from the first part )

That day...

Naser came running towards the idling Chota and Munna.  He was panting, sweating and his eyes were gleaming with tears.   He blurted out, while catching his breath, in choking voice - 'Chota, Munna - apna bhabha mar gaye' (' Father is dead').

The whole world crumbled in front of their eyes.   Holding their hands for support, Chota and Munna, followed by Naser,  rushed towards Aawaara Chacha's house.

There, their father -their everything, lay silent and motionless. His white stubble was still alive - his hands that held the scissors for more than half a century, lay still.   The photo of their family lay by his side. 

It was probably a heart attack.   Nobody would know.   There was no one around.   Naser had come in to do his routine of cleaning up the hair left overs, but it was clean that morning.   He had sensed something unusual, and walked towards the dark corner.  There, he had found his chacha, immobile.

****

The house was empty
 post father's death
The next few days passed quickly.  The neighbors and customers showed their glum faces, mumbled their condolences and disappeared.   Then the numbers dwindled, and nobody came.   Only the two rickety chairs, the antique barber kit and the photo remained.

For the trio, the entire episode sounded distant and incredulous.   Somebody fed them during those first few days.  Now, suddenly, it was all memory.   They were on their own, like a yacht in the high seas, adrift with broken sail and no rudders.

Suddenly, only hunger and panic were their companions.   How would they survive?  Doubts spread like cobwebs in their minds. 

The mind is a peculiar animal.  It is emotional and it is otherwise.   It can panic and it can think.  A zillion thoughts like floated the human sperms.  Countless, but only one would connect with the ovary.  And an action child would be born.  Chota's mind - idle, but fertile, was abuzz with sprouting thoughts.

I was confused and confounded.  I lost everything again.  The whole world was spinning like a timeless top.  My brother would do if something had to be done.  He has never tried to do something on his own.  Naser is an innocuous creature.  He has been so attached to my father, that he has lost his bearings after my father's death. 

We needed money.  Initially, we searched in our father's pockets.  After couple of days of guilt, hunger took center stage.  We rummaged all his clothes, his barber kit, his small box of collections - we found some coins and rupees - we were so delighted to see 6 hundred rupee notes.   The first night, we bought a full dharu bothel ( liquor bottle) and rationed the rest of the money.  We spent some on food. 

Both Naser and Munna wanted to watch Sallubhai's super-duper hit - the Bodyguard.   What a movie it was!   We love Sallubhai all the way!   And that night we bathed in dharu.   We floated and danced along side Sallubhai, chasing all the maidens of Bollywood.   Time came to a stand still and slowly darkness engulfed.

****

Billu Barber gave hope and the IDEA...
The next day morning,  I was walking along the nukkad, looking for some work - first time in my life.

Personally, I like SRK a lot.  Why?  He came to Delhi and made it big here.  

The chaiwala (tea-maker) sneered and offered my regular quota of cutting (half glass of tea).   I was listening to the song that burst out of the chaiwala's radio. 

...subah ke khawab se udai hai palkon ke neeche chupai hai
mano na mano tum sote sote khawabon mein bhi khawab dikhati hai
mano na mano tum pari hai woh pari ki kahaniyan sunati hai...


(...The morning dreams are hidden behind the eyelids.   Whether you agree or not, while sleeping, there are dreams within dreams, and there are angels, and those angels tell stories about angels...).

The song ended, but my mind stayed - first on the song, then on SRK and Irfan, and then  ... the Billu Barber and his red color barber shop.   Suddenly, it came in a flash.  

Chota ran back to the house, leaving the cutting unfinished.  It all came together.

The tall buildings.  Rich men's hair.   The rickety chairs.   The barber kit.  Munna and Naser.   Customer - infrastructure- tools - labor, all are there.  So?!!!

His business was born.   All they had to was find a place near the nukkad

His hungry friends reluntantly seemed to understand.  They had nothing to lose anyways.  All work was Chota's - the lazy Munna and clueless Naser would just do what Chota said.

They had about 200 Rs in hand.   They went to find a place.  Not far from the Nukkad, Aslam Bhai was looking for somebody to use his dilapidated book stall.   They thrust the 200 Rs in the hands of Aslam Bhai and sold the idea of a salon to him.   Aslam Bhai, a 60 year old veteran, knew Chota's father - if he could help the children, he would.   He happily agreed. 

Now they had to decide a name ...

( to be continued)

- The One

Pics courtesy Internet

















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