M.Veera Kumar cuts for a cause
“Hair cutting and styling is creative fun,” says M.Veera Kumar, “and to be able to use this craft for helping a needy person is the biggest gift of all.”
It doesn’t matter to Veera Kumar how much he earns, for that doesn’t stop him from being charitable.
There are two aspects to this enterprising youth from small town Karaikudi who made it big in Madurai chasing his dream. He drifted from a single saloon studio his grandfather started on Town Hall Road in 1948, called the ‘Malaya Saloon’, and set up a chain of nine salons in the Temple Town in a matter of 15 years.
‘Hi-Cut’ spells out his success story. “I wanted to redefine the ordinary saloon and establish men’s parlour offering all beauty services at affordable rates,” he says. As a teenager he spent time in his grand father’s saloon watching the scissor snip-snap through the hair of customers. After finishing High School, wielding the comb and the scissor was his natural choice.
For learning and exposure to quality service, he went off to Malaysia and worked in saloons there for a decade before giving a direction to his dream back home. Today, his salons are rated as the top most in the city for men to style their mane. “Many customers tell me getting hair cut at my shop is a relaxing and enjoyable experience,” he says.
The clean and comfortable space, the courteous staff and attention to detail attracts customers and turns Hi-Cut saloon into a great meeting point. “It is not just a beauty parlour for men, it is a proper fashion shop selling various cosmetic products and accessories and adds to the ambience,” he prides.
His friendly nature makes him to chat up everyone with an urge to help others. That is how he discovered the other side in him that locks him in love.
One of his teachers from St.Mary’s School walked in as a customer one day. The casual conversation made Veera Kumar think on the need for hair cut to orphans and street urchins, senior citizens and the mentally challenged. “Poor and the destitute don’t get a chance to visit air conditioned saloons and make them presentable, so I thought of providing them with the opportunity,” he says.
He started with the children in Pneuma Trust in Koodal Nagar. “It was a rewarding experience,” says Veera Kumar. The children enjoyed every moment and were thrilled with the treatment they got complete with chocolates and biscuits they got as a treat at the end.
Ever since, Veera Kumar has made it a practice to bring five children from three orphanages (Andrews orphanage and Bethany Home are the other two) every day and give them free hair cut. It brings him much joy, happiness and peace, he says, because, he has now extended this service to residents of old age homes as well. If the senior citizens are unable to visit any of his salons, he goes to them.
The youth’s compassion to help in some way doesn’t stop there. He even brings over mentally challenged persons whom he finds lying on the streets for snipping their hair and clipping their nails. “It is difficult to clean them up as they do not cooperate,” he says, “but that doesn’t mean I give up.”
In fact, Veera Kumar is inclined towards giving more. On amavasya day every month, he provides the day’s three meals to the orphanages from where his young customers come. Everyday without fail, he carries five food parcels and distributes randomly to any needy person he sees by the roadside.
“If you have the power through your skill,” he asserts, “it should be used for positive reasons.”
(Making a difference is a fortnightly column about ordinary people and events that leave an extraordinary impact on us. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to tell about someone you know who is making a difference)