Changing India.

This is a guest post from my brother Arvind who resides at Chennai.

“Power will go to rascals, rogues, freebooters. . . .
All leaders will be of low caliber & men of straw. . .
They’ll have sweet tongues & silly hearts. . .
They will fight amongst themselves for power & the two countries will be lost in political squabbles. A day would come when even air & water will be taxed.”
-Sir Winston Churchill. On why he was against granting indedpendence to India and Pakistan.

Barring a very few notable exceptions among our leaders, everything has come true.

He also said “India is merely a geographical expression. It is no more a single country than the equator.” Here though India has proven him wrong. It is certainly a very diverse country but united nevertheless. There are contradictions but a common thread of hope running through it.

There are two stories in this guest post. One is the changing face of rapidly industrializing parts of India, the other is the badly managed parts of India from where people emigrate to the former. Bihar is one of the badly managed states, which has opted for better governance the last five years and has reelected a government that brought about change. It is too early for Bihar yet, but you will find hard working Biharis spread throughout India. Bihar’s economy is run mostly by remittances, but it is changing.

The story is told in typical Arvind fashion bringing a bit of humour to it. To understand the humour, you will need to learn about Lalu Prasad Yadav. Please read as much as you can about him from the link given here. He is the type of leader that Churchill talked about.

“I paid dearly with my hair for the economic growth of India.

Tamil Nadu and especially Chennai has been witnessing a steady growth of Bihari immigrants.

With so many automobile, and other industries mushrooming, in and around Chennai. the local unskilled and semi skilled workers are paid fancy wages. The garment and cell phone industries have gobbled up the women workers.

Nokia and Motorolla are employing their fleet of buses to ferry girls from as far away as Kancheepuram and Polur. to work in their factories. these girls were originally helping their family in weaving silk and cotton textiles.

So, to augment the unskilled and semi skilled work force requirements, companies are employing workers from out of Tamilnadu, or in other words, Biharis.

The boom in construction activities is totally Bihari oriented. The old Mahabalipuram Road on a Sunday evening is chockablock with Bihari youths. Hundreds of engineering, medical and other colleges, are engaging agents to get students from Bihar. This has even led to a few murders among the agents.

Even in a small scale industry like Sharana Industries, the unskilled workers are Biharis.
(Sharana Industries is owned by our cousins.)

I have been watching this influx with benign bemusement so far. After all, it is as much their country as it is mine. They have every right to migrate to any part of the country.

This morning, I went for a hair cut for me and my grandson.

Needless to say, Biharis have replaced the local barbers too!

And the only hair style the Bihari barbers know is the Lallu Prasad style.
And that’s what my grand son and I got!!!.

And I paid Rs.75/- for each of us.”

Hair Cuts.

What is it about hair cuts that drives men into becoming positively poetic? Last week it was Conrad with a video about his hair cut and this week it is Sandeep with a nostalgic post on his old barber shop.

Our good friend Maynard in the meanwhile has been sending me photoshopped photographs showing me with long hair which makes me look like a Rastafarian and persuades me to grow my hair long or in the alternative get a wig(?)

Personally, a hair cut for me is just a chore to be got over with as quickly as possible. There is a very comfortable saloon just across the road from where I live and a visit there once in a couple of months is more than adequate. I go in, have a hair cut, around the rim as there is hardly anything on top anyway, have a nice shoulder and head massage and am out in fifteen minutes at the most.

For the past ten years, the barbers there have been trying to persuade me to get my beard trimmed and dyed by them, with the promise that I will be made to look like either a Mughal king or a film star of my choice. I have resisted the temptation as I prefer to trim it myself when the mood takes me. The idea of dying my beard is totally unappealing though I see other men getting it done in the saloon.

When in the saloon however, I see many sights that are to say the least fascinating. For some one as old as I am, at least they are novel. There are guys there getting facials done, their hair and beards dyed, eye brows trimmed, hair shampooed etc and spend much more time than I do. There are also fathers and/or mothers who come in with young boys who publicly quarrel about what kind of a hair cut the child must have and spend more time pacifying the child than the barber spends cutting hair. There are men with long hair, no hair and all kinds of other hair who keep looking at themselves and preening after the job is done and while waiting for the change to be made for the big notes given. I believe that the men having facials etc are called metrosexuals. Quite what that implies beats me!

A friend of mine retired from service in 1989. Since that day, he has not gone to a hair cutting saloon. He uses a gadget which is just a razor blade sandwiched between two combs with a handle.

When he combs with that, lots of hair just gets shaved off and he believes that it is good enough for him. He looks quite elegant if somewhat professorish. I wish I had enough hair to be able to do that and be professorish. As Jean so aptly calls me, I look like a Panda and that is good enough for me.

After I had written this post, I came across this wonderful present that a man offers his beloved for Valentiene’s day. How romantic!