Narayangarh :

A unisex salon is making waves in Piplebazaar, a small town in eastern Chitwan (on East-West Highway).

Sirjanshil Beauty Parlour and Hair-cutting Salon opened its doors around a month-and-half ago and 20-year-old Sarita Pyakurel, who runs it, says around 15 men and 10 women come to the salon everyday on an average.

Sarita completed a three-month beautician and salon training provided by the Small Farmers’ Cooperative Ltd last year with financial support from the local Shiva Shakti Community Forest Users’ Group, Piple and NEEDS, Ratnanagar, which also helped her start her salon.

Sarita says that she started the salon in order to be independent and to be able to give her siblings a go at education as she herself could not study due to her family’s weak economic status. Her parents work in other people’s fields as labourers. Sarita has studied till Class VIII and has two younger sisters and a brother.

Talking about her customers, Sarita says that men usually come in for a shave, while women step in for a haircut. She charges Rs 15 for a haircut, and Rs 5 for a shave.

Initially the villagers had passed comments about her shaving men. However, Sarita says she defended her vocation and justified her choice of profession by saying, “If a male doctor can check a female patients, then a woman can shave a man’s beard.” After her retort, she says the villagers have maintained their peace.

Nowadays, she is quite satisfied with her work and adds, “I haven’t had to face any kind

of mistreatment or misbehaviour from anyone till now, and my parents too are encouraging me to continue my work.”

Sarita pays Rs 900 as rent for her salon monthly and has to repay Rs 3,000 within 18 months to the organisations that helped her get training. She says she is working towards it and expresses commitment to continue running the salon. “I could not study. I will continue this work even after marriage.”

So, if you are in Piplebazaar and need the cleanest shave, you now know where to go.