City Landmark – Naushad’s No. 1 Head Massage, Smart Cut Saloon
The 10-minute thrill.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
One thing you certainly have to do before you quit Delhi for good is to experience the head massage by barber Naushad at his Smart Cut saloon in Central Delhi’s Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti.
Unlike most people of his profession, Naushad doesn’t waste time chatting about the latest antics of movie stars or politicians. Polite but solemn, he saves his breath to cool his broth, and in his case, the head massage.
First, Naushad gingerly taps your head as if taking a cautious reconnaissance of the terrain. His fingers gently probe down beneath your hair (assuming you have hair). Gradually his finger tips presses down forcefully on your head. Before you realize what’s going on, his hands are whacking through your hair like an impatient baker kneading the dough. The head feels as if it is waking up to life and freedom.
At this point Naushad picks up a bottle of amla oil. If you don’t want that, he uses water instead.
Now he starts rubbing the head even more robustly, scratching it as if it’s full of lice. The blood instantly rises up your brain.
The performance ends in ten minutes. You emerge as a new person. Naushad charges just fifty rupees for this heady experience.