745 to 8 AM:
The Man takes a deep breath as he parks his bicycle.
He enters, and, the first thing he does, after folding his hands in front of God’s picture, is to tell his assistant’ take this glass and get tea ’.
The tea comes. He divides the hot tea into three(The glass, one saucer and another glass) portions and sips his portion. The sipping process (which goes ‘slurrrrrpp’ and ‘hsshhhsshh’ in turns, takes five minutes)
He ‘arranges’ the cloth, picks up his instruments, sprays ‘the area’ with water and begins his work, nee, his arduous task. In ten minutes, he takes another deep breath.
He again puts down the instruments and begins smoking a beedi. (Indian cigarette). The process takes five minutes.
He looks refreshed…begins working again…a snip snip here, a click click there and a snip snip here again. He talks about weather, politics, family, kids...ten minutes pass pleasantly. He again needs a sippa from a cuppa. His assistant goes across the street, gets another glass of tea. Same distribution, this time into four, since his second son has also arrived. This time he sits down in squatting position, probably to rest his tired legs. Takes five minutes to finish his tea. During this time, uncles, aunties, children, weddings,affairs- are all discussed between them. He gets up again, feeling refreshed.
Goes to work again-needs to spray ‘the area’ again, as the effects of the previous spray have worn off. Goes to work with a zeal, this time- as they say, caffeine is a nice stimulant. Another ten minutes.
Feeling tired…Time for second beedi…He looks thoughtfully at smoke spiraling up from it.
He gets up. Time for the finishing touches to his magnum opus. Stretches both hands to get some special strength. Goes to work with renewed vigour and literally attacks the last long ones. Takes another fifteen minutes.
Voila!!The cloth comes off. A bit of the fluffy stuff is distributed uniformly.” Thank you, Sir!” He says in Hindi with a flourish and, I detect a sigh of relief, as always. I make the payment, with a little extra as usual , feeling guilty for having taken up so much of his time as well as a way to help out a fellow human being who works hard to make his living.
New place. The Man is different. Same activity.
No deep breaths. No tea, no beedi.
He arranges the cloth, like the previous one used to. But the similarity ends there. Now, he plugs in his instruments and goes to work immediately. Whirr Whirrr…stops. Changes to another two instruments to give the finishing touches with the fluffy stuff, et al.
Voila..The cloth’s taken off. I make the payment. Fifteen minutes flat.
Any guesses who The Man is?
Answer coming up on Friday, in the same post. Though I’m sure most of you guessed the answer!!:)
Answer-posted on 02.05.
Haha-yes, The Man is the Barber(I don't think his name is 'Billu', Austy-LOL....and,no guesses for which one I preferred-the first one,of course. Peace, friendly people,nice discussions,tea....:) That was in Baroda...and,the memories came back when I passed the shop this time when I was in Baroda.
The new one- represents the barber I visit here- swift,quick....totally impersonal!Like I sometimes feel my life has become. And, due to which I'm just longing to return!!:)(Austy,believe it- no foreign shores planned, in the near future!!)