Haresh Shah

What’s There Not To Like?

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When I was just a kid, I remember the family barber stopping by on the fifth floor of Jagjivan Mansion – built by my grandpa and his three brothers – park himself in the corner by the stairs at the end of the long corridor, at the foot of the custom built telephone booth. He carried a black shoulder bag made of rugged leather, containing multiple pockets to accommodate his long and shiny sharp bladed knives, several pairs of scissors, manual trimmers with handles, a mixing bowl for soap and the water, a soft lather brush and a long leather strap about three inches wide on which he sharpened his long blades while waiting for one of the older males sitting down on the floor in front of him and submit himself to the barber’s ministrations with his head bent down while the barber squatted over, trims the hair, shaves the day old growth on their chins and then oils their scalps with his palms pummeling their heads with quick jerking and frequent slapping motions. As rough as it looked and sounded and at times even hurt, once he was done, your head felt light as a feather – all the worries slipped away and be ready to face the world all over again. Professional barber’s pride and joy was the boast that he would be the only person in front of whom even the king had to bow his head.

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