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Hair today, gone today!

Photo: Rajeev Bhatt.

Ramzan Ali... no short cuts to success.

HE IS not giving haircuts to kids, adolescents and adults just to sneak into the much-coveted Guinness Book of World Records. He may not exactly fit into the definition of a saviour but he is already the talk of the town. He wants to capitalise on his fame by becoming a role model for those who, by cruel twist of destiny, have been deprived of their eyesight. To convince the sightless that they can seek employment as barbers, he is giving free haircuts. A green cloth is tied on his eyes.

Meet the middle-aged Ramzan Ali, dexterously giving haircuts to people coming from Shakurpur, Janakpuri and South Delhi colonies. Since past Friday to this Thursday, customers have been pouring into his Hair Academy Beauty Clinic at Rohini in New Delhi. They have conviction in his craft.

A stream of visitors makes a beeline. They don't bat an eyelid while sitting on the seat or rather, the operation table. Ramzan is assisted by Farid, who shampoos, puts sheets and applies hairdryers. Besides scissors, Ramzan uses a razor comb while cutting from the front.

Interestingly, Ramzan does not even eat a morsel of food while working. He drinks plenty of juice and soft drinks. "If I eat, I will feel drowsy," he reasons.

Ramzan was "born during the month of Ramzan." One might find his habit of observing fast during Ramzan month handy as he can now refrain from eating while working. "My not eating hasn't got anything to do with my religious practice," he says.

Ramzan's unusual attempt at giving haircuts without looking at the customer's head might sound ridiculous but he has a reason. Says he, "Once while giving a haircut to a lady in Mumbai, I got extremely agitated when she said that good barbers exist only abroad. This acerbic reply kept plaguing me. And I wanted to do something which would make foreigners look up to me and my country," he says.

Who was the first person to have volunteered to get haircut done in this rather unconventional and risky manner? "My daughter, Shazma," he says adding, "though my father cursed me for spoiling my daughter's haircut, I kept on giving hair-cuts till I succeeded in the 25th attempt."

His attempt bore fruit when he entered Limca Book of Records in 1999 for 150 hours of uninterrupted haircut. Now, he is looking for a shot at the Guinness Book of World Records but for a different reason.


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