Monday, 17 March 2014

Colourful Holi, Colourful Barber Shop

Actually this post is not about Holi.  This is the third year I've been India during Holi and the third year that Mr Jules and I have locked ourselves firmly inside the apartment.  I think if I could go and see the Holi celebrations somewhere truly spiritual, I would be completely immersed (literally) in the event. Instead, the closest I can come is by walking down the street and having coloured water pumped in my face by small children and teenagers.  Not really my idea of fun!  MaximumCityMadam will not be happy at me saying this - as she did give me the opportunity of attending a Holi Party at her building ("using the finest wash-offable organic powders in a sanitised, friendly and civilised environment you know!") - but we still declined.  Baaa Humbug to BombayJules!  (I also didn't want to end up with a multi-coloured dog)

So instead I will post some pictures of something that recently caught my eye.  Whilst driving to Dhobi-Ghat, I came upon this row of barber shops near Bombay Dyeing in Lower Parel.  I was struck by the colourful 1950s era chairs and the old fashioned products.  I got out  of the car to take photos and the barber-shop owners were very obliging about me coming in to take close-ups.  

These al-fresco pavement barbers can be found all over the city and are a step up from the man-with-a-stool-and-a-razor on the pavement or even more basic - the-man-with-a-crate-and-a-rusty-knife-in-the-gutter. Fascinating!

Some pics...and HAPPY HOLI EVERYONE!

Fabulous colours.  Chairs are pink/purple combo

Hair oil, shaving bush

I am not sure I would want any of this put on MY skin!

Busy shaving clients.  Chairs are all black

Oh Sweeney Todd, how I dream of you!

Posing (trying to look nonchalant) Chairs are a nice peach/eau-de-nil combo

Price list makes for fascinating reading.  Moustache cut for 10 Rs anyone?  I wonder what a 'Godrej' is?

Chairs in a blue/brown combo.  Barber shop owner wears matching outfit.
I like to think that these chairs are 1950s originals 

Shaving brush, comb and towels have both seen better days!
The barber himself perfectly groomed
Another cut-throat razor - I try to get a close-up without making his hand slip!

Stuck in the 70s....this is what the clients come away looking like..if they are lucky! (Shades are optional)

Chairs have baby blue/electric blue colour combo

This looks like a very trendy haircut for the average Indian man. Am liking it!

Blue and white chairs...? Not so keen.

Row of barbers...all working in harmony.

This is what I'm missing....mmmm, no thanks!


  1. I love the photos in this post, and Godrej is a brand name of a hair dye product.

    1. Aha! Thanks for the info visit again :)

  2. Amazing pictures!! Isnt Holi a beautiful festical? Wish it was more eco friendly and safe.

  3. Love everything about your blog. Even though we've lived in Mumbai for three years, your blog offers such a fresh perspective on every day things in the city. I try to capture the same, but often get sidetracked by the mom angle. Thanks for your writing and photographs!

  4. Lovely photographs Jules and these barbers seem so talented! Bet that some antique lovers would love the chairs - espacially the eau de nil ones (the color goes with everything) and some of the implements too. Can't find the latter here and have to pay the earth for blades or throw-away razors.

    1. Hi, thanks for the comments. As with all Mumbaikars, these guys work so hard and for so little pay. I love the retro look of the chairs and and I bet that they too would cost the earth in a foreign antique shop. Please come again!



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