Delhiwale: The al fresco shave
Perched between trees and stone slabs, Ashok’s open air salon is an experience cut out for a late winter morningUpdated: Jan 31, 2018 09:45 IST
It’s not our intention to plug each and every footpath salon we stumble upon.
But every so often we come across something irresistibly appealing. Take, for instance, Ashok’s salon opposite Bluebells School in south Delhi. Here, along Lala Lajpat Road, he set up a shaving trade 20 years ago that goes on pulling in customers — many of them the area’s fruit vendors, gardeners and rickshaw pullers.
Every now and then we, too, plonk ourselves down in his tall wooden chair for a shave that’s over in 10 minutes flat. Slouching in that chair is itself a pleasure — an amazing artefact of various woods rustled together.
The salon especially beckons on these late winter mornings when the friendly sun warms the face as Ashok works up the lather.
Overall, his setup seems like a cute trick. There’s the mirror tied around the tree trunk. Then you have scissors, knives and, of course, razor blades all carefully arranged on cement slabs.
With a few towels strung along tree branches, we can’t help reflecting on the sheer entrepreneurial drive of citizens such as Ashok who’ve figured out how to survive in a tough city.
His stall has generous opening hours — daily from 10am to 6m. In the summer heat, Ashok thoughtfully blocks the glaring sun by placing a bed sheet over the tree.
Simple, but effective.