Srinjay Chakravarti


A barber’s shop in Calcutta

“What you wanting, babu?
Ordinary haircut, five rupees,
five rupees only!
Special haircut ten rupees,
special haircut with massage fifteen rupees,
two rupees tips extra.
Or trimming moustache?
Cutting beard?
Cutting it fine, babu.
Come in, sir, step in,
please to try out.
Here Head and Shoulders shampoo,
here Palmolive shave cream,
here Denim aftershave,
here special hair oil.
All original imported, babu.
Seventeen customers this morning,
no place to stand even.
You sit for five-ten minutes, no?
Read film magazines —
Stardust, Filmfare, Cine Blitz.
Put on song on cassette, babu?
Latest channel hits, vol. 5.
Whom you wanting?
Young chap this, but very good —
very deft fingers, sir.
Or here you have old Sunil,
experienced, but wanting a tip or two more.
Or, if you prefer — Ahmed,
just fresh from Dhaka —
expert in haircutting.
Best razor blades, new scissors.
Clean towels, fresh from laundry.
Why you going outside, babu?
You wanting anything else?
Or you wanting to come back
after some time?”