Chennaiites spend more to spruce themselves up: study

Guess what? According to one of those surveys, folks in Chennai spend much more than those in Mumbai and Bangalore to ‘look good’. Really.

Results of the recent survey indicated a Chennaiite spends around Rs. 470 per month, more than people who live in Mumbai and Bangalore. No wonder Chennai-based salon brands such as Limelite Salon, Naturals or Green Trends, have grown to over 150 parlours each in the last few years. The customers are mostly professionals who want more pleasing and hygienic surroundings than that offered by local beauty parlours, but at affordable rates. Gleaming, imported equipment as well as scented candles, amber lighting and soothing music are musts, too.

Aishwarya Narayanan, a 23-year-old employee of TCS here, says, “It helps that the city has a salon in every area now. I eagerly look for online discounts for spa services to get the best bet,” says the software engineer from Hyderabad who lives with three friends here. Aishwarya spends around Rs. 1,800 every month on a pedicure, hair spa and regular threading.

Some go in for quick treatments. “Once a fortnight, before lunch, I rush to my parlour to get my 20-minute ‘express massage’ to loosen up the neck, or the body wrap massage, which is very energising,” says Grishma Jain, an advertising professional. It helps that most spas have mobile phone-based bookings now, she adds.

Many spas now offer treatment specially geared towards the needs of customers. “I like exfoliation massages. For sprains caused by excessive table work or playing of video games, there is a lot of relief,” says R. Krishnakumar, a tech consultant.

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When Prajakta Karthikeyan, an IT professional who moved to Chennai after living in Mumbai and the United States, wanted to break out of her routine, she was scouting for outdoor activities.

She persuaded two other friends in her flat, and together, they decided to run. That was around a year-and-a half ago, and the women say they have not looked back since.

The women who are part of the Chennai Runners group set out each morning to run and train in the neighbourhood, and have participated in many half-marathons. They are among the increasing number of women in the city who are donning running shoes and covering daunting distances in marathons.

Ambili Menon, mother of two, recalls how finishing even a one-kilometer run would be difficult when she started. But, the turning point came after she completed the 10-km run.

Preeti Aghalayam, associate professor at IIT-Madras and part of the Chennai Runners group, has been a sprinter since school, but she says she finds that few women take up a sport, especially running, once in college.

One of the things they are doing is promoting running among female students at IIT-M. Asked if the number of women running marathons in the city is on the rise, she says, “absolutely.” Another thing, she says she noticed is that many women around the age of 40 are coming forward, including women from traditional backgrounds. This April, MIOT Pinkathon, an all-women running event to create awareness about breast cancer, is coming to town for the first time.

(Reporting by Vasudha Venugopal and Asha Sridhar)

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