The kid and his mum that appeared in the mirror behind me did not look happy at all. He was involuntarily put on the heightened stool atop the barber chair, with tears quickly filled up half his eyes. I knew exactly what was going through the boy’s mind, while the barber was cutting his hair; “touch my fringe, I promise I will punch you in the face”. It did not help when the mum was standing right beside, commanding short and shorter.
I saw much of the boy in me. A point in time when the selection of the salon made as much a statement as the hair style you receive; as long as it looks like all your peers, who aspired to look just like Aaron Kwok.
One day, the boy will come around telling the world that the Indian barber shop experience is his very favorite pass time, just as I am doing now. That one day will come, when image no longer means anything, when the amount of hairs remain on your head no longer makes good economic sense for you to patronize with the salon that offers $50 per hair cut that includes hair dressers with an attitude, plays cool music and offer free soda in the upper class shopping mall. The realization for some people WILL come sooner than anticipated, so savor them while you can.
That said, let me justify my favorite Gentlemen’s Experience. I paid $3 for the happy combo yesterday at the barber next to mum’s tailor shop in KB. Such involves the hair cut [#2 on the side, slightly shorter on top], the shave, one that I pointed to the Sultan’s picture and said “macam itu”, [for the sake of hygiene, DO NOT let them use the decade old smelly shave brush on you, ask them to hand wipe the shaving foam on your face instead], and man to man massages on your head, neck, shoulders, hands and back.
The whole experience lasts between 20 – 40 minutes, depending on the mood of the barber, and also largely depend on how busy the shop was (for the best service, go early in the morning or at 3pm during weekdays, when its not busy). There is really no justification for any complain at that price!
I average 2 to 3 visits to Indian barber per month. Mostly for haircut, occasionally I would go in to get my regular lunch time massage for two dollars. It is especially rejuvenating, when you allow them to crack your neck and enjoy the thrill of the second chance in life through the merciful hand of the Indian barber.
The layout of the Indian barber shop I visited since young has not changed in 20 years. Still as clinical, still the same portrait hanging down the wall. It is visible that the leather barber chair withstand the test of time, and the shaving knife has not improved with technology. It even smelled the same too! What changed, was the Indian Barber, who has put on a few more pounds, slightly more gray hair, and perhaps a bit more money in the pocket to be able to afford some younger staff to sweep the floor the same way that he did 20 years ago, while waiting for the next poor victim to execute.
God bless the Indian barber next door, God bless all the Indian people in Brunei! I only wish my hair could grow quick enough for my next Indian barber experience.
>>> Indian Barber Pricing:
>>> Hair Cut – No more than $4.
>>> Massage – $2 to $4
>>> Shave – $2 to $3.
Normally the whole combo would cost no more than $10. Some shops even offers in-ear cleaning as well.
I was charged $3 because we have long lasting relationship. 25 years to be exact. He’s done my dad’s hair, my uncle’s hair, my brother’s hair and all my cousin’s hair too! He has seen me with hair, he has seen me without. Hence the buddy buddy price tag. You can however, start sending your kids to him, over time, he may even give you a discount!