At the barbers’

It was a lazy Friday forenoon that I realized that my hair needs a trim. I dropped-in to the local salon to find that (owing to Friday, and the part of town that I stay in,) it was busier than usual. Since there was a wait involved, I made myself comfortable on the plush couch, and picked one out of the many magazines casually left around on the ‘side table’. Being the distracted self, I was less interested in the magazine, and more interested in what’s going around, my attention was drawn to a conversation taking place between the owner and someone who appeared to be his friend. Since I am an Indian, and eavesdropping is my birthright, I directed all my efforts in trying to figure out why the ‘friend’s’ eyes, and in fact the whole body language was akin to that of a scientist who has finally got proof of his hypothesis.

The conversation involved a lot of repetitions of the words “bhai“, “phir kya“, and bollywood celebrity names. It did not take me long to understand that the main subject of conversation was “Salman Bhai”, who the owner — either out of sheer respect, or to uphold the convention was referring to as just “bhai”. Ah! then it all made perfect sense. It was easy to put two and two together. The owner was a typical late-20s-gym-frequenting-with-neatly-trimmed-beard guy who claimed to have attended “a lot” of late-night parties where bhai was also invited. So he “knew” bhai and bhai’s nuances like the back of his hand.

The subject on the other hand was an early-20s-just-started-with-“gymming” guy with a gleam in his eyes — and a tremendous hope that his new found guru could get him, maybe not befriended, but at least a picture clicked with the bhai.  (Wait a min, did I say ‘picture”? — I am sorry, that’s so 80’s of me — I meant “a selfie“.)

The topic of conversations ranged from what bhai likes to eat and drink, to who all does he talk to, to how bhai just showed up in his PJ’s to the ‘Kapil Sharma show’. Seems bhai calls the shots everywhere. (Pun intended.)

The conversation seemed to start to go downhill when, I think, the owner realised that this yuppy friend is a bit more enthusiastic than he had anticipated, and may actually one-fine-day show-up to join him on his next late-night-party that bhai is supposed to honour with his presence. The body language changed, the owner started looking more at his watch and what looked like “engaging” WhatsApp messages. The poor friend then seemed to have got the drag, and excused himself after exchanging some half-hearted pleasantries.

And yes, then it was my turn to get a trim — not the bhai kinds that is.