Thursday, January 15, 2009

one too many?







last year when s visited usa,she spent a few days with her cousin at phoenix,arizona.it was a most welcome and refreshing change that she had had after a gruelling tour.when the time came to leave and she was on her way back to india,she realised that she hadn't bought any presents for her dear hubby.her host gave her a great suggestion."buy him a gilette fusion.you and he will never regret it".and so she did.and it is one of the presents,i cherish.and why on earth you might ask? because,it gives you the closest shave ever.

after all we are all mammals.and we have plenty of hair.and i complain that i don't have it where i would love to have.instead of lots of it on my head, i have it on my face. i have two choices.either grow a beard and look sagely at my age or keep a cleanshaven look.now that is tricky, when your stubble starts appearing within two hours of a shave.that is called the forenoon shadow.how to get a clean shave is a thought that always flashes when you pick up the razor to shave.a shave that protects your skin and gives your face comfort. there are umpteen theories that float around to achieve the hairless look on your face.

a good shave depends on: a) softness of the hair, b) the moisture content on the face, c) the creamy lubricant that you apply,d) the hardness/softness of the water, e) the temperature of the water,f) whether you shave along the grain or across the grain and g) last but not least the sharpness of the blade and the design of the razor that you use.if you are able to combine all these factors optimally your shave turns out to be a perfect one. (a) to (f) is very much controllable.but what do you do for the razor? a tough question. there are so many shaving blade brands and razors in the market. 7 O'clock,gilette, merkur etc etc. for those who are daring they can buy the barber's long razor as well.

shaving is a big industry.everyone shaves excepting kids,perhaps.girls,women,men and even the very elderly.from the roman days women have been removing unwanted hair with razors.they have been made into a target audience by the marketeers of the blade and razor manufacturers.this segment has opened up a huge market for the shaving industry.

shaving is a job that consumes on an average about 850 hours in a man's life.it deserves to be given due importance and recognition.and after all isn't one's face very important? a safety razor has to be a well engineered product.i remember when i joined my company as a trainee engineer more than forty years ago,we had received a huge order from a subsidiary of hindustan lever to manufacture razor blade dies. and press tools for manufacturing the razor. we designed the tools and manufacutured them and later productionised them in which i was quite extensively involved.that perhaps may to some extent explain my obsession with shaving blades and razors! we subsequently started receiving orders from other razor manufacturers as well. it is huge business in india though dominated by a few world brands.gilette is one of the top selling brands in india. it has a big market share.panama blades of the malhotra group is the home-spun brand.it too has a big market at the lower price band.they make blades,disposable and normal razors.

thanks to s and her cousin in phoenix,i have a prized possession with me now. the five-bladed razor.like the mythical hydra-headed creature.the 'gilette fusion'. lot of thinking has gone into it.the blade spacing,the angle,the geometry and most importantly the spring mounting.the blades are positoned so close together that you get a feeling of a composite plane against your face when you shave.if you do all the right things,you can get maximum shaving satisfaction with the 'fusion'.

but if you still want to get a very very close shave visit the taj or the oberoi.hygiene is of the highest order.they will pamper you with hot water on the face,foam up a big lather with a badger hair brush and glycerine based shaving cream and make your shave as smooth and close and comfortable as can be. a far cry from the seashell which our forefathers used across their cheeks.

when i showed the barber at our gymkhana club my fancy toy,he shrugged.he said it has too many blades. "saab, me tumhala changla shave deto. tumi maazha kade ya." sir, i will give you a terrific shave,come to me." though he didn't divulge his trade secret,i am tempted to take jagtap's offer. but will he be able to match my 'fusion'? no nicks,no cuts and no razor burns. effortless and smooth as smooth can be.

8 comments:

mangesh said...

Dear GS,
Surprised to see your blog on this topic. But the other day I visited my regular barber and while chatting he said that now he asked his son, who works with him to learn modern ways and equipment for hair cutting and shaving. After he gets even Govt. certificate he may earn salary between 40K to 50K per month in posh hotels like Taj.So, why to struggle to get IT education? Any comments?
Mangesh

A Virtual Vegetarian said...

...good one GS...now I know what gift to get all the men in our family on my summer trip to India!

gs said...

hello mangesh
this is the second generation of barbers giving me my haircut.the present one's vadeel(father) suryakant cut my hair for nearly twenty years.he encouraged his son to be modern in his approach and also pickup new styles.the son is uneducated but got the father's job in the club gym when the old man died.with tips he must be raking in 6 to 7k.with the hotel industry booming,getting high salaries as a barber is a promising prospect.
i remember when i was in high school,i quietly opted for a foreign language instead of additional maths without my dad's knowledge.when he came to know about it,he was furious and asked me,"do you want to be come a barber?".that was the naapi's value then.later, i got pushed into engineering.much against my desire. i believe,do what you think you can do best.if you think you have the talent to cut hair and you are passionate about it,why not? become world's no 1.that should answer your question,mangesh.

gs said...

hi AVV
yes,but make sure you take enough refills.the razor and blade are not yet being sold in india.i had to switch back to my old razor when my stocks ran out.wifey has now during her recent visit brought me enough stock that will see me through to the grave.

gs said...

hi AVV
yes,but make sure you take enough refills.the razor and blade are not yet being sold in india.i had to switch back to my old razor when my stocks ran out.wifey has now during her recent visit brought me enough stock that will see me through to the grave.

maya said...

Hi GS
Funny you should have written about this razor - only yesterday they gave away free samples of the Fusion razor (along with the shaving gel) at the gym. So dutifully I picked one up for Tim. When I gave it to him, he did not evince any undue joy - now I know he's clearly underinformed, underimpressed and altogether under-shaven :) I'll make him read this entry tonight.

gs said...

hi maya
tim must have it shrugged it off not knowing what the 'fusion' can do.but then knowing that his growth is not tough,he might probably like to give 'fusion' a pass.
i am still loathe to throw the current set of blades on my razor.it is just not wearing off!

Manoj said...

" lot of thinking has gone into it.the blade spacing,the angle,the geometry and most importantly the spring mounting.the blades are positoned so close together that you get a feeling of a composite plane against your face when you shave"

Even more thinking has gone into fleecing the unthinking users. May I ask what is the cost per shave? And what is the production cost of Fusion blades ? A shave using traditional straight / DE Safety Razor does a better job at fraction of a cost provided the techniques you have aptly mentioned above are adhered to.