Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Just Back from the Barber Shop

I am just back from a Barber Shop. Not 'Saloooooon' . Read Barber Shop. One of those places where Barbers (Not stylists) look at you with a glee in their eyes if you present yourself with an unruly mop of hair.  The look is akin to those that are found in the eyes of Sheep farmers who are about to shear the wool off their sheep.I was asked if I had come for ‘Hair Cutting ‘. A very precise description of what actually happens there at the barber shop. No further questions were asked or suggestions given. To hell with what the customer wants. We are here to cut hair.  And mind you, there is no dearth of customers waiting to have their haircut at this shop.

I have always had this strong belief in three businesses. Food of the retail variety, laundry and Barber Shops. I have never ever come across anybody not making money in either of these businesses unless they screwed it up from their end.  Among these three businesses, I find Barber shops the most promising. You can’t stop hair from growing can you? So a monthly haircut is a must for those who still have some hair left.

India currently has only two or three types or Barber Shops.  The first are the old local ones which have been around for two generations at the least. They still use the same old chairs and benches with duplicate after shave lotions and creams. The second variety would have air conditioning and better hygiene. The third one refers to the branded saloons such as Jawed Habib/Naturals etc which promise a better overall ambience as well in addition to personalized styling.

However, on the pricing front, there exists a huge gap between the second variety and third variety as described above. The second variety of shops roughly charge about Rs 60 to 100 bucks for a haircut whereas , the high end ones start at Rs 250 and may go up to Rs 500 or a thousand bucks. If some smart aleck could work out starting a chain of saloons which offer personalized styling at a reasonable price, I’m dead sure that it is going to be a HUGE success. Training the people makes all the difference. And that is going to be the key differentiator along with implementation.

It is my fervent wish to see a chain of Saloons who care more for our hair while its still there and charge a reasonable price for styling it.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lord Shiva

Lord Shiva

Shot this at about 5pm when the sunlight  had an orange/yellow hue. Real water flowing from top added an amazing effect to the serene look on this beautifully made sculpture of the Lord. Shot with a Canon Powershot S3 IS in manual mode. Don't remember the settings though. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Light & shade


Got tied up with work and have had little or no time to write. Thought i would post a few photos taken with my camera. Its a Canon Powershot S3 IS all of 6 megapixel. But as they say, Its not the gun , but the man behind the gun eh ?   Just kidding ; )

This photo was taken at Shilparamam which is an arts/crafts/cultural village in Hyderabad. Noticed a riot of colours and the warm evening light falling on these bags through the trees.Found it interesting enough. I am a natural light/ambient light person so indoor/table top photography is not for me with those flash guns and other razzmatazz.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Flickomania !

India ranks No: 1 as the world’s biggest shoplifters topping the Global Theft Barometer survey. A small percentage of these shoplifters could actually be suffering from Kleptomania.

I happened to witness an interesting incident at a big retail store near my house. While I was grudgingly awaiting my turn in the que for the billing to commence, I could hear , what appeared to be the beginning of an argument between the security guard at the store and a girl in her early twenties.  The girl was seen arguing with the guard while holding a small green plastic bottle(Mouth freshener/hair oil or whatever ).  It would hardly be worth about 35 or 40 bucks max. Since the conversation was in Telugu, I could sense my listening ability and rudimentary language skills being tested to the limit on account of my curiosity. From what I could figure out of the conversation, the girl was trying to give the lamest excuse I have ever heard in my life, that too for an obvious shoplifting case.  I heard her explaining in vain to the security guard that it was billing clerk’s mistake that he had not billed the item! Two of her friends who had accompanied her to the store kept looking in all directions except towards their friend, extremely embarrassed at the turn of events and the attention the whole event was generating at the store. She was let off after getting the item billed and paid for. It would be too preposterous for me to judge if she was a kleptomaniac or just a young girl who needed some severe reprimanding.

In another instance, a friend of mine had been to this famous mall in the city and was shopping at big clothing and accessories retail chain. She had noticed a well dressed couple with a cute kid at the store. A while later, she was aghast at seeing this lady coolly grabbing up a shawl   from the rack with one hand and thrusting it in her bag in a deft maneuver.  Her husband and child where oblivious to the whole thing and so were the others at the store. Before my friend could react, the lady just walked out of the store tagging her husband and child along. The shawl according to my friend could be worth not more than a few hundred bucks. Something which this lady could easily afford.  The question now is, was she a kleptomaniac?

I would however, like to place some bare facts in front of you to have an informed opinion or at least think about it.  Kleptomania is said to begin in ones teens or twenties. It refers to the irresistible urge to steal. The object being stolen would normally be of very small value which they could easily afford to buy otherwise. Kleptomania tends to occur more in women than men.  0.6% of the population could have this disorder according to studies.  Diagnosing the same is a challenge as no kleptomaniac would come forward and admit to stealing.  Once diagnosed, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is one form of treatment to get rid of this disorder.