Barbershop Banter

I had gone on Sunday to cut my hair at this place I usually go to, ever since I moved to the city. It was recommended to me by my sister as her husband & two sons get their hair cut there. Plus its walking distance from my apartment (and from her’s as well) and although I had felt that their prices were a little high, they always do a good job.

On Sunday when I went, a guy who had never cut my hair in the last 2 years that I had gone to them was the one available. From his accent, I knew he wasn’t a local Keralite. He had just started cutting my hair when he went towards the tv that was playing in the waiting area. He pleaded to me to wait a couple of minutes and I said “sure”. Turns out that they were interviewing people in Orissa about the latest bout of Communal violence in that Indian state. My barber was from Orissa and they were filming the news clip in his town. He had come down to Cochin for work and had been here for 4 years.

The problems in the area are among the Hindus and the Christians and the claims that Christian missionaries are agressively converting the poor locals into Christianity, with the promise of money & food. Each group have made several attacks on the other’s places or worship or camp. The killings have been many and churches, temples & houses have been burnt & destroyed in several villages in Orissa.

The guy who cut my hair said that the news crew had just interviewed his old teacher and that his mom & sisters were still living in that same village. He is tensed that the violence will reach his family farm and that his mother will be in trouble. They still stay there because they have lots of goats & chickens and some crops in that farm and moving from there would be a big lose financially. He says that he prays everyday that he gets to see his mother again.