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Not safe even in a 5-star spa?

NRI girl alleges molestation by male masseur in five-star spa; city salons insist it’s a one-off case.

delhi Updated: Jan 22, 2012 01:40 IST
Namya Sinha

Have you ever been wary of a male salon worker giving you a pedicure or a massage? The incident of a young Indian-origin American girl who on Thursday alleged that a male staffer molested her in a spa of a five-star hotel in Vasant Vihar has sent shock waves across the city. However, other spa and salon owners say they take strict measures to ensure that the employees they hire have a clean past record.

“We run a thorough check on the personal background, education and attitude of male therapists, besides other professional requisites. Also, we observe restrictions in offering certain treatments by a therapist from the opposite sex. The guests are clearly briefed about different procedures so that they are aware about the level of exposure,” says Megha Dinesh, director of Aura, the spa at the The Park hotel.

Makeup expert Aashmeen Munjaal, who owns Empire Of Makeovers which also employs male staff, says, “We run a police verification of our male staff, there is ethical training and the branch manager is constantly on rounds to ensure that nothing inappropriate happens. The demand for male masseurs, pedicurists and therapists has gone up drastically, so not recruiting them is not an option.”

Vishwashreshtha Shanti of the Hair n Shanti salon chain adds, “Managers take regular feedback from customers to keep a check on the behaviour of staff.”

Delhi girls, too, say the scene is not so bad on the whole, so they’d still not mind going to parlours that employ males. “The spas I go to are very professional and male therapists are all around. If an incident of this sort has happened, it is the owner’s responsibility and strict action should be taken,” says Tuba Mirza, 25.

Some even prefer male therapists over females. “Males are way better for hair spa and pedicure — they have more strength, which makes them give better head and leg massages. One incident doesn’t make all of them bad,” says Alika Sharma, 25, a producer.