Aug 31, 2013

You've Got A Mail

It's fun reading through old mails. I'm not talking about the forwards and almost 'spam' mail that we've sent to our circle. I'm talking about those personal mail that we wrote to our friends, well-wishers and some time to even people who we've not even met. Unfortunately, I'm not one of those people who write to themselves, otherwise that would been exploration of a different proportion. 

I still have some of those handwritten letters preserved that my parents and friends wrote to me when I was in college. Those were the days of snail mail, greeting cards and demand drafts/cheques. Every mail was awaited with so much anticipation & desperation. Those mails could not be cherished in just one reading. A one pager small letter of sort (or note) also could mean so much happiness. One could see some hidden tears spoiling writing and thus bringing some more in your eyes.

Then came the days of emails and RTGS transfers. Emails are different from snail mails in one very distinguished way - I could never imagine the writer's emotional face popping out at the top left corner. Damn you Bollywood, why did you stop that brilliant special effect from those old days. From a technical point of view, emails are instantaneous. But then waiting for a email is equally frustrating. Interestingly, by this time, sms and yahoo chat had taken over a big share of our expressed views. It brought some more suffering for the impatient types. Worst kind of suffering was when you could see that person you are chatting with is typing something (in case of those online chats) but you are just waiting for the enter or send to be pressed. Those were the days, of thinking a hundred possible answers, reactions and counter reaction to every question that was typed in.

Email has one more peculiar issue - the backspace and delete functionality gives a lot of time for revisiting our views and thus hide that natural response or view that one has. In a snail mail, it meant cutting and thus could not be hidden from reader if the writer was confused or nervous or having a doubt about something.
It hid our handwriting too, and thus the entire focus shifted to spelling mistakes and grammar. If one was methodical in his method, even that could be avoided.

I have found myself changing my writing style over this period, there are more questions than ever, fonts have changed, so is the color and way I sign it off. I guess these are the things that will define our progression in life. One day there will be a science (like those handwriting experts's work) where one will tell things about me by reading my old mails.

Till then... lets just write a couple more mails to record our this stage of life and persona.

Aug 21, 2013

The Barber Shop Project

From that barber shop in the neighborhood to the swanky salon or hair spa center in the mall, life has seen a great change when it comes to getting your hair cut.

In those early days, Papa will take me with him to his regular barber shop and instruct him to cut my hair 'short'. That's it, life was so simple. Those posters of guys in various hairstyles was a thing of fantasy. First achievement for most of us would have come on a day when we got our chance to get a hair cut sitting on the chair and not on that special wooden plank for children. Level one cleared.

Around the same time, Papa decided that I was ready to go for that haircut alone. So here he gave me 4 Rs required for the hair cut, there I went to the same old shop. Life was a little different now. Not that I had a chance to change from the regular "short hair" and try out something cool from that poster on the wall but I was 'independent' now. Level two cleared.

The first big hurdle in this growth process was the first time I took the courage to ask the barber to give me a 'hair style'. Salman Khan had inspired the whole nation by now with his long silky hairs in Maine Pyar Kiya and Ham Aapke Hai Kaun. Of course, that would have required long hairs and our PT Instructor Dagdhi Sir will never allow something like that to feature on anyone's face. Dagdhi Sir's scale was simple, if your hairs can be grabbed in one feastful, you will be dragged by them and sent to the salon (again) for hair cut. So you are safe as long as he is not able to catch your hairs. There went the 'style'! But then the world could not end just like that. So there was a thin line that was negotiated between short and long hair. This could easily go unnoticed if combed like a regular kid, yet get transformed into something very close to Prem's hairdo. Gosh, life was becoming difficult now. We were good as a kid only. By the way, now barber shop gave us one more window to Bollywood with its unlimited supply of Filmfare magzine. Yes there were India Today and Outlook too, but then they were not for us, we decided.

Time passes by, and I learned a great deal or two about stylish hair cuts. One they look good only in pictures and there is more to hair care than applying your regular coconut oil (or Almond Drops for that matter). Yes, even your sister's shampoo is not enough. As if growing up had no other challenges that I had to take up some more around hair care. And so I started settling for the regular 'short' hair cuts. At times the instruction to barber became 'itna chota kar do ki do mahina tak nahi aana pade.... par haan ekdum takla bhi mat kar dena...". I wonder how did he actually comply to this instruction!

Peace could prevail for long though. Those facial hairs started appearing now bringing a new set of challenges. That 'zero machine' was deployed in multiple usage now, it gave one of the quickest haircut and now was a good trimmer too. This temporary arrangement works for quite some time before I decided to take that first plunge and asked the barber to give me a proper 'shave' and clean those baby mustache. Gosh! It was such a dumb choice, I could not see my face myself. But something needs to be done, no matter how apprehensive you are about them. Sooner, papa taught me 'shaving' at home and thus I could save myself from that dangerous weapon in name or razor that barber used. The weekly phenomena of shaving became a regular part of my life for next few years. Barber shop again became the place to get my 'short' hait cut done.

Things are little different now. Shaving everyday is not my cup of tea and thus I resort to delay this task as long as I can (majorly based on client meeting schedule or visits of relatives at my home). Getting shave done at salon is my favorite experience. It's easy, convenient and most importantly gives you a chance to relax. It's one luxury that one can easily afford. My hair cutting regimen went from 'short' to 'spikes' to 'medium' and back to 'short'. I think on that front, I've realized that I've got very little choice. :) Choice of salon is my biggest question. Last few years, I've kept moving from one city to other. So the definition of neighborhood barber shop changed every other month. I guess, this quest will take some more time before I reach a solution.

ps: I do not have any memories from "Italian" shop and "Katora" cut. Thank god. For those uninitiated about these two, here are a quick set of jokes that we shared when we were kid.
Italian cut - a barber shop on  the roadside where the barber makes you seat on an ITA (pronounced as "eat", hindi for brick) and cuts your hair.
Katora cut - the simplest of the style. Barber will put a big katora (round vessle) on your head and cut all hair that are outside. Actually he mostly used a headband tied around your forehead as a reference. The output was very similar to the DORA cut that we see today.