I have finally been able to get a shot of Ratan’s Handsome Parlour just up the road from here. Indeed, if you can have a Beauty Parlour then why not have a Handsome Parlour? Ratan, the proprietor of the aforementioned Handsome Parlour, is often languishing outside the shop and I had to wait until he was occupied inside. One has to be a bit discreet about one’s behaviour when one is a regular visitor to a place (especially as a woman often travelling solo) and I don’t want to give Ratan the wrong idea. It is his parlour rather than his person that excites my interest.
The Beauty Parlours here are a source of constant delight. The names are gems. Old classics are Fancy Beauty Parlour, Femly (say it) Beauty Parlour, Fair Beauty Parlour, Your’s (sic) Beauty Parlour, or female names like Aishwarya or Laxmi. A favourite in Dharan was the Face Off Beauty Parlour. I frequented the somewhat boringly named Woman’s Care Beauty Parlour at the gate of the hospital.
I am not sure if it is still operating but a few years ago, the gay and third gender community opened the first gay Beauty Parlour in Kathmandu fabulously named (as you’d expect) the Cutey Beauty Salon. And on my weekly bus journeys I regularly passed my all time favourite….the Trust Me Beauty Parlour.
The beauty parlours are often signposted with exuberant paintings of Bollywood actresses (Aishwarya is obviously a huge favourite) but you also find naive interpretations of Averil Lavigne (massively popular on T-shirts here), Angelina Jolie and Princess Diana (sometimes with black hair but still distinctively Di.) The ad (pictured on the right) for Neeldavid in Siliguri has now been removed from Bhadrapur Airport’s waiting room but I never worked out why you’d be impressed by the blindfolded hairdresser.
Although there are sometime reports (usually from the wicked capital) of being able to get a wider range of services than you’d possibly expect, generally the beauty parlours are very professional and the places to go to be pampered. It’s a burgeoning industry and in Samunnat’s next training program, we are providing the resources for four ladies to get Beauty Parlour Training so they can be employed locally. You get facials, skin-whitening treatments, hair treatments and threading. I am a huge fan of threading as some of you know. A good threading is like a mini facelift really and so much cheaper. You can get threading done in capital cities in Australia now but not, alas, in Broken Hill. I’ll just have to make the most of it while I am here.
For a mere 35/- (approx. 40c) I get my brows and upper lip threaded and once got my whole face due to a small communication glitch. (That’s not the sort of thing you only get half done. Or twice). Nepalis and Indians get their arms and legs threaded too but the thought of an underarm threading fills me with dread. Travellers on our Colourful Journey trip can get threading done by the ladies of Samunnat (Sharmila is the threading queen) and they are also happy to apply mehendi (henna) to our hands in intricate and beautiful designs.
Who’d ever have thought you’d get beauty tips from my blog?