Friday, September 14, 2007

Beauty lies...

... somewhere in a crowded Beauty shop. Also called a parlour, salon, stylist and a hundred other creative names, this is one experience that only the women in this world would understand (hopefully). My mom always used to take me to places such as these when I was a little girl, for my semi-annual hair-cuts. I loved the place, because I always left looking better. I hated long hair, so any trimming was good. But ever since my mom 'permitted' me to go alone and get 'stuff' done, this place has changed phenomenally.

A typical small, hidden beauty parlour would have the following characteristics. The walls would be plastered with posters of yesteryear bollywood heroines. And I don't know if this is a result of some unspoken cult agreement, but one of them has to be of Madhuri Dixit, from her 'dhak dhak' days. Other posters would include a 16-photo collage of a small girl who has got all sorts styling done to her hair. Bob-cut, boy-cut, military-cut, step-cut, umbrella-cut, straight-cut, French braid, something-with-shiny-thingies-all-over cut, front-cut, American girl-cut and the rest. Right next to it would be a poster of a slightly older girl, (let's say they are sisters). She would have pictures of different colours of stuff applied on her face, a steaming sequence, hair wash, and some complicated hair-do. (Which insane mother would let her daughters be exploited this way!). Of course, there are no pictures of any girl older than 25. Customer perception, obviously. The shop rounds it off with some casts that resemble heads and weird wigs sticking on top.

Once you enter this place, its breathtaking. Well, literally. In a room of dimensions 3m x 2m, there would be approximately 6 'beauticians' and 18 customers at any given point of time. (I am not exaggerating, I counted this time). Non-living things include full length mirrors on two walls, a bed at the corner, a stove next to it, useless curtains, three huge chairs, a couple of smaller ones behind and a waiting bench with Stardust issues from 1997. And to add to all of this, put in a couple of whining kids. Wow! This is management.

A customer walks in approximately once every 7 minutes and surveys the small room. She first makes note of the number of fellow-customers in the room and judges how much time they would take. Then she looks for a place to sit. This is usually the time for drastic decision making. In case, there is no space, she would try and leave, usually saying that she would return later. That’s when the owner acts. She says that within 5 minutes she would be attended to and have some patience, its festival season after all. When those two women giggle, I'm usually guffawing in my chair. 5 minutes! Yeah, right!

But its a miracle! Just to ensure that the customer doesn't go to the next lane parlour, she is attended to... somehow! And the drill continues. Scissors snap, threads roll, combs brush, water sprays and women screech. Body-hair removal (anywhere it comes from) is the most painful procedure, yet necessary. Then you have massages, hair dos, steaming, facials, pedicures, manicures, mehendi... you name it and they've got it.

Overall, it may sound horrendous. I agree, its hell painful. But otherwise, women tend to enjoy it. Most of the times, the local beauty shop is the centre of all the area gossip, movie reviews, speculations and general sharing of opinions. Without men, this is the place in which women tend to unwind. Its irritating mostly, but sometimes listening to women talk about their mid-age crises can be fun.

Yesterday, when I walked out of the place, after nearly two hours, I felt rejuvenated. I felt fresh and pretty, I could breathe freely at last, I saw management in practice and I learnt who exactly was having issues with her marriage, in my locality.

Hmmm, why should boys have all the fun?


Jonas said...

why, oh why, do girls cut their hair?
when its their birthright to have it all there.
so long and lovely, so pretty and fair,
why, oh why, do girls cut their hair?

:P :P

Jade said...

There goes a post I'd thought of writing. :)

But it would have been more about how I so hate going there. I put it off for as long as possible. But then I do love how I feel afterwards. :)

Anonymous said...

Stardust from 1997?! Ahh those were the days *dreamy look*..

Anyways, all said and done, the output of these places is generally...nice :)

Nethra said...

ah well,
I wouldnt agree with the place making you feel pretty.
Its dark, dingy and dirty.
I mean, when i saw 'the last king of scotland', i was reminded of these beauty parlours when nicholas climbs down the stairs to find kay's mutiliated body!