Monday, May 21, 2007

The only place where I keep my fingers crossed

Its easy for the girls I suppose. For us men it is a monthly (sometimes fortnightly) torture. Don’t quite know when one realizes it, but there comes a time when one starts to feel that the time has come. But yes there have been instances when mom looks puzzled sometimes & says, “you just had one a few days back”.

Getting a haircut done is a nightmare. A few years ago I had accepted that I was destined to have a bad hair cut, so I wouldn’t tell the barber chap anything. I would just go hop into the chair & look at my reflection in the mirror. The barber would make eye contact & then I would pick one among the two options - short or medium. Most times it would be medium. But the barber shop near the Sivan Shetty Garden post office, seem to have their own definition of short or medium and that would wary depending on the mood of the barber or the time you are getting a hair cut done. If you see the barber in an aggressive mood rest assured short for him would then mean shorter & if you are there at say eight in the night, then medium would automatically translate to long. He would hardly do anything & the next minute you are paying him. End of it all, I would only be saddened. Either too much of the mane was chopped off or too little.

Thus began my quest for the just perfect hair cut. In a city like Bangalore there are barber shops at every other street, at least the area where I reside is like that. Trust me I have tried almost all the barber shops around there but none fit my requirement. But yes these are all simple ordinary guys who burp right in front of your nose, bend forward right in front of you at an angle such that the sweat marks under their arms is on full display & the smell heady. These were those days when Limelight didn’t exist & unisex salons were unheard of in Bangalore. But when a man decides something he pursues it & if it is as basic as a hair cut, it is very important that he pursues it as well. So there I landed one day at an upmarket hair salon on Brigade Road. I heard of this place from a friend. He said they talk in English, serve tea & every few minutes ask you if they are doing it right. I thought these guys must have definitely mastered the art of hair cut & should visit them despite their hefty price tag of Rs 250 for the haircut.

Two chairs to my left a girl sat getting something done to her hair. But all I could notice was the barber/stylist just comb the hair again & again & again. When the guy started to work on my head, a lady with colored hair approached & kept staring at the guy work. I wondered, can a simple thing like a hair cut be a fascination for someone. Well the way she looked at the hair getting chopped off indicated that to me & I thought I was finally sitting under a good well trained barber. End result, almost there, but not where I wanted it go. Yes I got my cup of tea, but the experience on the whole didn’t live up to the descriptions I had got.

I explained the problem to a college friend of mine who got a good hair cut done every 15 days. He said the barber shop he went to in HAL 2nd stage did the good job for him and I should try it out there. Well no harm whatsoever, despite the fact that the place would be a good 8-9 KMS from home. I thought I should try the place out. The place was pretty ordinary, the type I have near home, but the guy did a decent job. My only bit of dissatisfaction was that he left a bit too much hair right in the front. On the whole well you know how it is…

My desperation for the good hair cut reached a stage where I would walk into any fancy salon I saw somewhere. Once I landed knocking on a door. It was opened by a pretty looking lady who responded in perfect English, “we are opening one shortly for men” & handed over a card that detailed out the address on one side & the route map on the other. Then Limelight started advertising in the Bangalore papers. I read every ad & gave it a thought. Once I also went it into the Brigade Road branch just to check out the place from inside & quizzed a guy there on what I can get done from them. But it wasn’t until a few months later that I eventually went in to get a haircut done, and I chose the Vittal Mallya Road branch on recommendation from a few of my colleagues. It’s a nice place from the inside. It also had a lady in the front office, now that is something for a salon right? I was quickly summoned by the barber who wore jeans & a Limelight T Shirt and who himself had a good hair style. Once I settled on the chair which was in front of a tall mirror the barber guy asked me how I wanted it. I told him what I wanted. But he didn’t seem to understand. I clarified and I thought he understood but it was only when it was finally done that I realized he hadn’t quite understood.

I feel all these barber shops should ensure to put across a particular customer only to a particular barber. So that they could communicate over a few months on how it was the previous time & get to a standard wavelength. It is very surprising that none of these barber chaps actually want to indulge in a conversation. All they want to know is how we want the hair cut. Charging Rs 250 for a mere hair cut is very cruel but yeah it would be worth it if the guy understood what one wanted, then the money would be worth it. Also it is surprising that none of these salons have come up with a regular hair cut package or some such thing. Considering that for the men it is a monthly affair why can’t they give a discount for the guys who go there frequently?

The search has not ended yet. I have identified some options in the malls now. But I fear they will charge me a bomb & I will still end up with a hair cut that I don’t like. Tired of this ordeal I asked the guy at VLCC (yeah I am trying this out now) to crop my hair to the extent that it looked like I had a tonsure done sometime back & it was going back now. (See I don’t even know what this kind of a cut is called. This is where the barber should come in & educate). That hair cut worked cos there was nothing there. It also saved me some money for a good two and half months.

Now I am just thinking of growing it long enough and may be have a pony or something. But then I have my boss to answer at office….aaaarrrghhh…..not easy this.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Try it – Its Quality stuff

Some good places around in Bangalore where some basic food is of top quality. These are all my favorite options but obviously don’t get to go to these places too often. I highly recommend this Jalebi place on Ebrahim Sahib Street. Eat a piece and you are sure to take some home.

Good place to eat a plate of Idli – Brahmins Coffee Bar, Sankarapuram.

Good place to eat a dosa – Vidyarthi Bhavan, Gandhi Bazaar.

Good place to drink a cop of coffee – actually quite a few…Coffee House, MG Road, Chandrika, Cunningham Road, Koshy’s, St. Marks Road

Good place to drink a cup of tea – Mecca Café, Johnson Market, Hosur Road

Good place to eat Pani Puri – Karthik’s Mithaai Shoppe, CMH Road, Indiranagar

Good place to eat Jamoon – Bhagatram Sweets, Commercial Street

Good place to eat Jalebi’s – Rawal Jalebi, Ebrahim Sahib Street (parallel to Commercial Street)

Good place to eat Chicken Kababs – Fanoos, near Johnson Market, Hosur Road

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