George Town’s NCS Bose road is a always bustling with traders selling their ware; it’s a riot of colours, sound and smells. And in the midst of this, sits one man, clad in all white – mundu and white shirt, quieting chiseling away, making wooden combs.
69-years old S.Chinnappa sits in one corner and has been making these combs for the past 40 years, unmindful of all the noise, finding his own peace in the rhythmic chiseling of wood.
He has six varieties of comb and says that is a family business and since the age of 10, this is all he knew. Some of his combs have 140-teeth finely chiseled. In a day, he makes around Rs.500.
He says that wooden combs are better than plastic as they massage the scalp, keeps the hair tangle free longer and he goes on to add, “reduces hair fall and makes it less frizzy.” He refuses to make anything but combs, which for him, is a work of art.
Sadly, the journey of wooden combs will end with him as none of his three sons want to take on this profession; they prefer doing odd jobs than sit patiently making combs.
Wooden combs is also a part of our heritage and once again a pity that it is dying … wonder how many such day-to-day things have been replaced by plastic?