The Barber Shop

At the intersection between R. K. Mutt Road and Greenways Road is a barber shop, barely large enough for two chairs. There’s a narrow counter and a mirror and, above the mirror, some pictures of gods. In the heat of afternoon the barber pulls down his rolling shutter and goes elsewhere, and you can’t tell that the shop is there at all. In the evening you are waiting at the intersection for the light to change. You see the barber sitting in one of the chairs, reading a newspaper. Or perhaps there is a customer, a driver from the nearby auto-rickshaw stand. He sits down and asks for a shave. The barber drapes him in a cloth, and takes out his round brush and cup of shaving soap. He starts to work up a foam while the customer inspects himself in the mirror. The half-open saloon-style doors are wood-framed panes of blue glass. The horizontal white tube-light between the mirror and the gods shines through the glass, which casts a mysterious blue glow on everything within its small reach. The signal changes and you’re gone.

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