One of the best ways to spend 50 rupees in Mumbai

Now, everyone will agree on this. Mumbai is an expensive city. Whether you’re like me, from another city, who at the first encounter with Bombay had a mini heart attack every other day; or if you’re from the city, a pakka Mumbaikar, everyone is unanimous on this one. Rent, food, chaat, street shopping, real estate... you’re in the most expensive city in India. Here’s for a bit of perspective: my friends in Hyderabad pay Rs 2,000 lesser rent than me for a 1,000-sq ft 2 bhk apartment! I, on the other hand, part with precious money every month for a 220-sq ft one-room-kitchen.

In a city, therefore, where ordering lunch everyday costs an average of Rs 100 (and that’s when I’m ordering ‘cheap’), the joy that a meagre 50 rupees can provide becomes remarkable.

Yes, I am aware of the statistic of the BPL in India and what a grand sum 50 rupees is to them. I also work in a fashion magazine from whose pages designerwear sporting 7-figure price tags stare back at me, giving me enough occasions to cringe.

And since not many from BPL India are likely to read my blog (not many above it read my blog either), 50 rupees is still bloody cheap.

By the way, have you seen the revamped version of the ‘Tel Malish’ song for the film Road, Movie? It’s way better than the revamped ‘Mile Sur Mera Tumhara’, if there’s a comparison here at all. And no, I didn’t go for a Tel Maalish on Carter Road or Band Stand, if that’s what you’re thinking. Though they are really popular.

So, if you’re in Mumbai, and badly in the need for a haircut (without any intention of burning a 500-rupee hole in your pocket) have walked into one of those seemingly-safe places that charge Rs 50, ask if they do a head massage. Try it, for if your guy is anything close to being as skilled as the one at '5-star hair cutting salon' in Pali, Bandra, you will love it! Of course, if he’s done a bad job of the haircut, it might just be safe to walk out without letting yourself be subjected to further experiments.

So, that was my big discovery on a lazy Saturday afternoon, when I walked into the salon for a trim (Rs 50 is like the standard rate for any service here, it seems).

You will be asked for a choice: “Parachute or cool?” He means the choice of oil. I, being the brand victim I am, went for the former. Out come two full-size towels he puts over you. And then the skilled hands get to work.

For the standard 50-rupee rate, he gives you a fantabulously relaxing, sleep-inducing head massage. And the bonus is that here, the definition of ‘head’ seems more than that patch of crop at top. 'Head' extends to the back, shoulders and hands as well. And you won’t hear yourself complaining. After a good 15 minutes of this, he suggests using a machine. It’s a soild metal vibrator (disclaimer, refer below), that his palm apparently fits into and then he goes to work on your head again. It looked a tad intimidating, like the bared robot arm in Terminator 2. So I say 'No, thank you, I’ll avoid'. The nearly half-hour massage finishes with a towel soaked in hot water over your head.

I open my eyes and squint as the light after having been close to dosing off. I happily pull out the additional 50-rupee note and thank the man.

Just the other day I heard about a place in Juhu where a full-body massage and exotic oils therapy costs Rs 15,000! I try to calculate in my head how many head massages I could get for that amount and feel happy for the small joys.

Disclaimer: this post has no innuendos, so don’t over read. It’s a good old champi, that’s what this is. Though the experience, one may say, is extremely pleasurable.


Fully grown fuzzy Hipposaur said...

Nice aftertaste of Bombay. Loved reading this!

Mani said...

looks like have to try this out wen i visit bombai..