Chennai: For K Raja, a hair-dresser, who has been running an outlet at Rajaji Nagar Third Cross Street in the vicinity of Villivakkam in the city for the last four years, it has been a learning experience and also an opportunity to know scores of people.
He is also popular among his clients for his friendly banter and engaging talk while work gets done.
He said it was his father who taught him the tricks of the trade. “I started working with my father N Kuppusamy who came to Chennai from Thirupakkam village in Thiruvannamalai district in Tamilnadu in 1964. My father had a saloon in Red Hills Main Road, Villivakkam. And that was where I began apprenticeship in 1986 under the guidance of his father before he went to start his own venture.”
“The most valuable lesson my father taught me was to focus on work no matter what. Leave all tensions at home and come to work with a free mind.” Speaking politely to customers was another valuable lesson he got from his father.
After a period of apprenticeship, Raja started his own saloon at Raja Mangalam Main Road. He operated from there for 15 years before moving to the present location. Also, he learnt the art of being patient, which has stood him in good stead.
He said cutting the hair for children was the biggest challenge. “If one is a little careless, it could spell trouble. The idea of life being better if I had been an IAS officer or in some other big position gripped me when I was 25. After a while such thoughts faded and I felt I was fine where I was,” he said.
He said, “There is a difference between a haircut on an adult and a child. It may take about 15 minutes for the former but close to half-an-hour for kids as they are a lot more unpredictable and throw tantrums.
“Weekends are mostly busy for Raja as more people turn up but it is about 8 to 10 people come for a haircut. He has plans to shift the shop to one of the main roads in the near future.
“‘I want to move to a main road and provide better interiors with air-conditioning, this will bring more customers. At the moment I am focused on saving up for the education of my children. Once I am done with that I can concentrate on moving my saloon to a busy road for better business.”
His earnings range between Rs 15,000 and 17,000 a month. Raja thanks his family members – wife Kalpana, son Logesh and daughter Vaishnavi for their support.