Saturday, March 24, 2012

Mumbai Mumbles : The Heir of the Hair Raiser - The Epilogue

 The Last Hair Cut

( The journey from Lattur to the Kandivili Nukkad where the boys lived under their father's guard was covered in Part 1.  The second part covered the evolution of these boys into entrepreneurs after their father's death.  The third part was the story of how they dealt with competition. This epilogue is the last meeting of the author with the three boys.)

(To be honest, the boys don't know that I was writing a story about them and that too of my own imagination.  But they have become a strong enough inspiration that they straddle the thin line between my imagination and reality. The boys are there in flesh and blood, but my characters don't exist.  This is neo-fiction. )

I went out for a short run today morning  - like the dust that has enveloped Mumbai these days, my mind was clouded through the done.  After the post-run chores, with a sweaty anatomy, I entered the 'Red Men's Saloon'.  
This was my bi-weekly habit.  To maintain a short hair, I have to visit the salon every fortnight.  In the Red, I became a familiar figure because I was a regular and also a talking point because of my different hair style.

This would be my last hair cut in Kandivili.   I was planning to move to Thane.  I intended to tell these guys that. 
The last hair cut in Red Men's

Today I could see Naser and Chota only.  Imran was not there in the shop. I discreetly enquired.  He had gone to buy  the shave-and-cut inventory Bandra.  Now they have an established supply chain - where they get a good deal.

Naser asked - aap ithna jaldi aa gaye? (you have come so early?)  I said, 'haan.  abhi run katham karke aarahaa hoon' . (yes, I just finished my running and came here).   He moved on to clean the glass mirrors. 

Chandeliers - looking opulent
Chota was all over me today.  He said he would do my hair cut.   He asked me ' regular kya? (regular, what?). I nodded my head.   He searched for the cropping machine - and discovered it in a wrong place.  He asked Nasser to set things right in Marathi.  

This was unusual.  Chota has seldom touched the scissors for many days now.  Why today?   Suddenly,  he said ' sirji, chai piyo.  Mangwatha hoon' (Sir, pl drink tea.  Will order).   An escalated hospitality.  I said yes.   He proceeded with my hair cut.  

He started telling about taking a loan of 1 lakh from his Aavaraa chacha, who now sits in the cigarette shop.  He said 'pehla aapkaa kaam kartha hoon, phir dikaoonga' ( let me finish your work first, and then I will show you around).
Awaara Chacha in the cigarette
paan -shop
My eyelids closed and the mind embraced a distant dream.  The hum of the cropping machine provided the right background score. 

Suddenly, the score stopped.   My hair cropping was done - and Nasser brought me my chai.(tea).   I paid the regular Rs 50 fee for the haircut and was about to tell him about this being the last hair cut -when Chota grabbed me by my shoulder.   'Sirji - aap ko kuch dekna hai' (Sir, you have to see something). 
The salon has expanded into
the next unit as well
And when he showed it to me, I was dumbfounded.  There was this new room adjacent to the old - a replica of the present one completely furnished with black-leather-holstered saloon chairs,  full wall mirrors, chandeliers.  It was mind blowing.   Was he expanding again?

And as we walked into the front portion of the new room, he showed me a mezzanine construct.   Work was still on.  He told me 'idhar seedhi aayegaa, aur massage parlor kolenge.  aap mera pehla customer bano' - ( Here will come the stairs, and we will open the massage parlor.  You will be my first customer).   Suddenly, there appeared a lump in my throat and my eyes shimmered with tears.   I could not let Chota see it.

The mezzanine floor where
the massage parlor is coming up
 Here was this boy, who made things happen and continues to, showing a stranger - at best a regular customer - me, his dreams.   I turned around and wiped my eyes, and smiled at him.  

He was looking at me expectantly.  I said - ' zaroor.   mujhe abhi jaana padega.  badiya lag rahaa hai, mein tere liye kush hoon' - (sure thing.  I have to go now.  It feels great and I am happy for you).

I left abruptly, but managed to click a few pictures.  I did not tell Chota that I would never be coming there again for a hair cut.   It would have broken his heart.  

-The One

( These pictures were taken today in the salon that I regularly visit in Kandivili, Mumbai.  The youngsters are a real inspiration- this 4 part story is dedicated to them)


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