Hair is more than a growth on the skin. There is a science, art, philosophy and economics to it. Newspapers covered Salman Khan's attempts to cover his balding head with hair weaving. People shave their heads as a symbol of bereavement, religious/caste identification and even of protest and style. Some Catholic monks have specific hair styles. Temples in India make a lot of money from the proceeds of devotees tonsuring their heads. Advertisers suggest every colour except grey for hair while others wax eloquent on .....ahem waxing. Waxing is no longer the bastion of the stronger sex, men do it too.
|Hair being combed at Rameshwaram|
Like the food business the hair business is perennial. In Veeraval, one of the #76towns I visited on my 6 month journey, I saw 3 barber shops side-by-side. The clip in these salons was not only a sound of the scissors at work but also an indication of the pace of business.
|Scalps being tonsured on Puri Beach|
Beards or hair-on-the-face can be understood to be a sign of laziness or style or a political statement. Infact it is what weaves all religions together (okay most). It is supposed to be a sign of having reached a certain level of 'Being'. Hindu Sants, Maulvi's, Sikh Granthi's, Christian priests (some) all have the beard.
|Roadside salons in Mumbai or Bombay|
And so we have the Hirsute Principles!
|Busy barber with a shop by the side at a bus stand in Gujarat|
Samir Nazareth is the author of '1400 Bananas, 76 Towns & 1 Million People'. Read an excerpt of the book here. Read more about the book here. The book is currently available as an Ebook on Amazon here, Scribd here, GooglePlay here & itunes here The hard copy will be out in February 2015.