Saturday, 8 February 2014

The barber's shop

It was the divine festival of Mahashivrati - one of the biggest Hindu festivals dedicated to Lord Siva, celebrated in the month of Maagha (or  माघ maagh in Hindi) of the Hindu calender. I was in a small town in the district of Chhatarpur in the state of Madhya Pradesh celebrating the night off- the most auspicious day dedicated to Lord Siva.

The days and nights leading up to the great night were intoxicating - the town was filling up with men, women, children and families,  all gathered by their love and devotion to Lord Siva, there were chants of Om Namah Shivaya, offerings of the sacred "bilva" tree (bael) , it is a day of renunciation and prayer, a night of fasting, with an all night vigil ,worshiping Lord Siva - this is Mahashivratri - the great night of Siva, when Lord Siva appears.

After the fasting, the puja and abulations over,  women wonder around, continuing their worship, and the street markets come alive selling odds and ends from bindis to bangles. 


The men in the town head to Dinesh - who gets ready at the crack of dawn , to set up his shop and start business. I am amazed at this small , nimble but well equipped barber shop. I watch him set up his shop,ask if I can take pictures. He smiles sweetly and nods his head.  I wait to see his first customer .

But before I knew it, Dinesh had his first customer and there were men waiting to be shaved and shined. There was no place for an onlooker like me.