Jeddah: Like in India, apart from the usual business of shaving and haircut, saloons in the Gulf too are centres of gossip and information for their Indian expat customers.
Dasani Jayaprakash, the only Hyderabadi barber in Riyadh city, meets dozens of Telangana NRIs every day in his saloon that is named after Hyderabad. He is a cherished choice of the community for the last 34 years in the oil-rich Saudi capital. Hyderabad Saloon is popular among Hyderabadi expatriate community concentrated in Hai Al Wazarat locality, known as Hara, in the city.
Hailing from Nimboli Adda in Hyderabad, Prakash, as he is known, came to Saudi in 1985 to work as a barber and since then, there has been no looking back.
Prakash is among the thousands of semi-literate Hyderabadis who migrated to the Gulf during the peak oil boom period in the 1980s. Soon, thousands of educated young men and women and skilled workers started migrating, making the Gulf the most sought-after destination for migration. “I believe only in scissors since I don’t have any formal education,” says Prakash.
Recalling tough and dark days of his life, Prakash said he had come to Riyadh in 1985 when his big family — five brothers and parents — was struggling to meet the demands as it was dependent on a tiny barber shop inherited from their grandfather.
“I have provided a decent life and good education to all in the family besides performing marriages of daughters with the income earned in Saudi,” revealed Prakash. Expressing gratitude to Saudi, where he spent a lion share of his lifetime, he said, “I am indebted to this country that turned my life.”
Prakash, who witnessed the growth of the city, recalled that when he first came to Saudi, Iqama fee was 100 Riyals which is now approximately 9500 Riyals. He added that Telangana expatriates had earned significantly during the oil boom era of the late 1990s. The barber wishes to return home after his son landed in a government job in Telangana.