ravings, rantings and ramblings
After many long months I went for a hair-cut today. Not to some swanky salon with some mohawked-Lebanese-in-Diesel-jeans snipping away to glory… but I ventured to my local salon (well I hope one can call it that). Just for kicks.
I was greeted by a black aproned man, who clearly looked he was from the sub-continent. What I could tell was that he could do with a hair-cut and shave more than I did. Well, and so I resigned myself to the hands of this man and what he could possibly do.
From the start of it all, everything felt very basic, pedestrian, rustic even and I was beginning to have a sense of déjà-vu.
And then he started talking.
He was from Delhi… New Delhi, he reiterated. He stayed in Nangloi (for those from Delhi would know the area near Tihar Jail). He was originally from Moradabad and his parents also stayed there. He started changing the razor, carefully halfed a razor and wetted my nape with his fingers. The last time this happened, I was a child, sitting on a stool on a salon chair in Malviyanagar at Himalaya Hair Cutting Saloon (with the extra ‘o’). He didn’t like Dubai much, having spent some three odd months in the Emirate. And like any fresh new import to Dubai, he believed that he was a very good hair stylist. Dont ask me to second that bit.
His parlance… wait, let me rephrase that… his ‘bolchaal’ or style of talking was very Dilli 6, where verbs roll into each other phonetically… the smell from his cuffs is what you would get after holding on to a rail in a blue line bus from Munirka to Govindpuri, his cheesy gold watch reminded me of watch sellers in subways in Connaught Place… and his teeth told me tales of Pan Parag (where he gets it here in Dubai is another story). He started vigorously massaging my head till my vision blurred as if sitting in a ferris wheel in Global Village… and then he weaved his fingers at his knuckles and started slowly pounding my head… can you imagine anything like this here?
Here I am sitting miles away from Delhi, in a place where Lebanese are more French than French, where Pakistanis roll their ‘r’s more than Americans and 90% Indians sound as if they were born in Los Angeles, where everything is glitzy and glamourous and kissing the sky… and I have this most amazing ‘Desi’ experience.
Not that I was missing it in at all… I thought all of it was over during my childhood. Am not too sure if I would go back there again for a haircut (I am touchy about getting hair-cuts). But just that, I felt that Dubai is the place where a construction worker, a butcher, a barber, a baker, a media-man and a socialite are all the same – NRIs.
14 March 2009