I finally stepped into my barber’s shop after 96 days. What I learnt, was truly overwhelming!
And things have changed, for my barber and me both.
Image: Barbershops in pre-COVID times
Finally, I got to step out!
It’s true what they say; you don’t really realize the importance of something you have till it’s taken away from you. For me, it was my freedom of meeting people, talking to them, observing them, getting to know different perspectives. Be it in local trains, at the tea stall at the end of my lane, or the neighboring barbershop; all of them had stories to tell. Believe it or not, some of my most fruitful and stimulating conversations have been with my barber!
Amidst all the champi sessions he always has something insightful to say, ranging from politics to movies, and of course cricket.
But suddenly everything came to a standstill, there was no more carefree chatter at the barbershop. The lockdown was put into effect, and their shutters were down for a really long time.
Now with the rules easing up a little, and everyone moving around I finally stepped into my barber’s shop after almost 96 days. Was I apprehensive? A little bit. Was I being extra cautious? Absolutely. But as I entered, I saw Imran Bhai and his helper sanitizing the shop, he turned around and animatedly waved me to the seat, through his face shield. I too smiled under my mask and looked around with a sense of belonging.
As I sat down for a haircut, we picked up right where we’d left, and started conversing about the quarantine, the lockdown, how the last 96 days have been etc. Imran Bhai was primarily just happy and relieved he could reopen finally and seemed eager to get to work.
With his face shield and apron, Imran Bhai initiated my haircut. And so, did our conversation. The moment we breached the topic of how the ‘new normal’ looks like for their business, Imran Bhai chimed in.
“It’s not easy par acha hai, we are trying to get back slowly”, he said through his face shield. “As you see, ab face shield aur apron; yehi sab hamare dost hai ab.” We both had a hearty laugh about it.
To that end, I enquired about how they are managing with the finances since they would need to pitch in for safety gear on top of everything else.
“Yeh sab ek Suraksha kit ka hissa hai jo Gillette ne hum sabko diya hai. Woh yeh sab Barber community mein distribute kar rahe hai.”
According to him these kits will bring relief to the barbers as and when they open their business. “Sirf kits hi nahi Gillette ne hume COVID 19 ke liye ek suraksha ka insurance bhi diya hai,” Imran Bhai mentioned with a smile.
While we were both in deep conversation about this programme (felt just like old times) he went on to show me some videos which they’ve received from the brand.
Imran Bhai added “Gillette humko yeh instructional videos, WhatsApp pe bhejte hai. Batate hai kaise we can keep this clean, how we need to sanitize our shop, equipment and safety gear. Kaafi acchi aur useful videos hai!
This first visit to my barber was genuinely an overwhelming experience. With barbers regularly using the Gillette blades and foam for their everyday functioning, it’s truly a heart touching gesture by the male grooming brand to give back to the barber community and support them during these tough times.
It was later after my visit to Imran Bhai that I came across this beautiful video online. Watch it to know how I felt about the Barber Suraksha Programme.
Well, if you know of any barber who needs this, log on to https://www.barbersurakshaprogramme.com/home and nominate your barber to avail of these benefits.
This is a partnered post.