Angadpuri is a middle class locality in the bustling city of Patanpura. It is not clear if the name ‘Angadpuri’ was derived from the particularly adamant nature of the residents or whether they developed such qualities in order to justify the name of their locality. Whatever be the case, the locality was famous for good and bad reasons. It had many famous markets for clothing and a sweets shop which was known for its extra crunchy ‘jalebis’… somehwere in that list was a simple yet famous eatery known for its fish curry-rice…there were other famous landmarks…then there was the ‘Hi Tech hair cutting saloon’.
The only thing Hi-tech about the establishment, was it’s name. Furniture and equipments in that saloon, seemed to belong to a time when British were still lording over the country. No recliners for this saloon…Customer’s spine and neck muscles were utilized for any reclining, if required. There was no TV or radio either to keep the customers engaged. There was none required…most of the folks present in the saloon at any given time, were not prospective customers…they were just hanging around to get a taste of the famous witty and boastful gossiping of the head barber ‘Dhirendra’…or ‘Dhurandar’…a name/title accorded to him by his loyal fan-base. As far as skills were concerned, God seemed to have traded Dhurandar’s core competency of hair-styling for his gossiping skills. He was an awful barber and most of the locals would stop going to his saloon, once their father’s abdicated the responsibility of keeping their son’s hair-length, legal. His saloon was cheap and for men with a receding hairline and a more receding desire to be attractive to the opposite sex, this saloon was the best option. Dhurandar didn’t need to be an expert on the topic to form his opinion and judgments. Although he did enjoy politics, cricket and movies…subjects which even the most boorish customer may connect with.
Dhurandar had tried to modernize his saloon in the past, but it didn’t work out well for him…he had got these electric razors and would not use it as an standard equipment in every cutting job. Instead, he would lure his customers into paying more for using it, after he had made multiple claims about how this electric razor was once used by Sultan Habib..the barber to bollywood actors…based on the customer’s age and taste, he would keep on changing the famous personality on which the razor was used in the past…basically, the razor had munched on the hair of every famous actore, right from Raj Kapoor to his grandson Ranbir kapoor. It all ended, when inspired by the stories of how the razor had worked magic on the receding hairline of the Indian Rambo, the guy with hands weighing more than two and a half kilograms…Sunny Deol, a local youth leader of the ruling party, also a part-time ‘body-builder’, had ordered him to unleash the magical razor on his rather empty head. As usual, Dhurandar was going on and on about the top class losers who were part of the opposition party…he forgot that in his right hand was a electric razor and not a pair of scissors…as he gestured to how deep the stink runs in the opposition…his hand made a swooping motion and the razor created an oblong patch of thinly cut hair in the center of the head. Dhurandar had realized rather painfully, how true were those lines from Sunny Deol…even the small time body-builder’s hands, weighed close to two kilograms when supplemented by gravity and anger.
That day, the business has been rather slow. Only two customers since morning and it was almost lunch time now. As the three…Dhurandar, Ravi and Manoj, eagerly watched, the portly figure of Vermaji appeared in the glass window. ‘It’s Verma…I think he is coming our way’, Manoj was first to notice. ‘How many months since he has not paid the balance?’, Dhurandar asked…’Six’, Manoj responded…’let him come, I will take him…I know Ravi, its your turn…but let me teach this scumbag, a good lesson’ Ravi was happy to not have Vermaji’s credit written against his name. He happily agreed to the plan. ‘Vermaji…how have you been…its been so long since you last came in…have you found a new saloon?’ Dhurandar started with a wry smile on his face…Vermaji who was till now a little apprehensive of the the kind of treatment he might receive, smiled broadly, ‘ What are you saying Dhurandar…how can I leave you guys in the lurch…I was actually traveling a lot over the last few days’…Vermaji made his case. ‘So, what do you want today…hair-cut and shave? You look like you need a good shave…that also a free one’, Dhurandar tried to use a minor indirect insult to shame Verma…but he had underestimated the thickness of Verma’s epidermis, who responded with a big smile and signaled for a quick shave. As the shaving went on, Dhurandar offered Verma, a free trimming of his mustache…which as per the new store policy conceived a few seconds ago, was included as a package deal in the shaving. Vermaji who had personally taken care of his bushy mustache, since the time it had become important enough to demand his attention and effort thought for a moment…but the lure of a free professional trimming was too much to resist…’Do it carefully…you know how much it means to me…you are lucky Dhurandar…first barber ever to get this glorious opportunity to trim my mustache’…’So Kind of you Vermaji…I will remember this day for rest of my life…that’s a promise’…Dhurandar started working on Verma’s mustache. Verma could feel a tad greater amount of trimming and snipping going on between his lips and nose. As Dhurandar finished, Vermaji straightened his bent neck to look at a rather notorious historical figure staring back at him in the mirror. He was speechless for a moment, then exploded with multiple expletives and threats to Dhurandar and his family which even the actual Hitler may have found, over the top. Dhurandar calmed down his least favorite customer and explained to him that this was the new look…the new fad…he made up a false story about Bollywood’s biggest star Amitabh, sporting a similar looking mustache in an upcoming release…’Hitler is now way back in the past…now you and Amitabh, both same caste-men, would sport this wonderful brush mustache…see how modern you look now…how different’….Verma looked at himself again and this time saw Amitabh looking back in a brush mustach, instead of a Hitler. Dhurandar’s amazing skill with words and imagery had worked its magic again.
It turned out that Mrs. Verma also approved Mr. Verma’s new look, so he kept the mustache…although there was another fall-out related to Vermaji accorded with a pet-name among the kids of the locality…Hitler Chacha….Vermaji kept flaunting the mustache till the day he met with his senior officer who was so furious, that Vermaji had to do the unthinkable and fully harvest the little strip of hairy crop. Dhurandar and his cohorts had almost died laughing when they saw him walking around…his face looked like a boiled potato.