So I went for a much needed haircut today.
(What!! Shattap!! Thode bahut bache hai baal.)
Anyways, since it was around lunch time my regular barbershop was quite empty, thankfully too.
There was just one guy sitting on the barbers chair as I entered the quaint little shop.
The barber smiled at me and said “Buss thodi der wait karna padega”
I nodded as I took a seat in the corner and the barber switched on his CD player as he went back to giving the other guy his haircut.
A very melodious qawwali played on the CD as I kept my phone away listening to the rustic sound of the rather unknown (to me) singer.
The man getting the haircut started shifting nervously in his seat making those “Tsk Tsk” noises that sound more like “pach pach” if you know what I mean.
The barber continued with the haircut as I kept my eye on the person in the chair.
After a few minutes, suddenly the guy in the chair exploded.
“Ye kya laga ke rakha hain, boss?”, he muttered, going visibly flustered.
“Kya hua saab? Kuch gadbad hai kya?”, asked the barber very cautiously in a low voice
“Haan!! Ye kya Qawwali laga ke rakhi hain?? Saale Musalman ho kya?”, the man almost screamed.
Very interestingly I looked on, as the barber pressed a button on the CD player. He replaced the CD with a new one and suddenly the shop was filled with an equally melodious sound of Bhajans.
The barber smiled at the customer and said, “Gussa mat hoiye saab. Ye lo ab main Hindu ho gaya. Aap araam se baithiye”
The man didn’t know how to react.
I burst out laughing loudly despite the man staring at me. Finally the man, in a huff, got up and stormed out of the shop.
I was still laughing as I put my hand on the barbers shoulder and asked “Waise Bhai aap ho kaun?”
The barber smiled at me and said, “Saab, main ek nhayi hun (barber). Baal kaat ke paise kamata hun, tab din ka khaana milta hain mere bachchon ko. Kaha Hindu Musalman ke chakkar mein fasa rahe hain ye log”
I stopped laughing and gave the barber a huge smile. He had not only avoided a scene with the other guy but had put me in my place for asking a rather stupid question.
“Bhai wo Qawwali laga do, mere bhi baal katwane hain”, I told him as I sat in the chair.
There was a time in India when “Who are you?” was replied by the Name of the person replying. Wonder when it changed to being replied by ones Religion. I want that old India back. Not this New India.
Disclaimer: The incident happened pretty much in the manner described, though I have taken certain creative liberties with the story to pass on the intended message.