By request, the next wala to be featured is the ear cleaning wala. I’m not sure of his official title — perhaps khan saaf karne wala.
I had my first encounter with one of India’s professional ear cleaners in Goa in 2002. We crossed paths walking along the cliff from Baga to Anjuna beaches. “Madam, ear cleaning?” he stopped me. I was intrigued.
Quickly, he whipped out a pocketful of silver instruments and a book of photos showing evidence of his skill — that is, the wax that he’d successfully removed from people’s ears. Surely, I didn’t have that much wax in my ears? I was horrified, but even more intrigued.
“How much will it cost?” I asked him. “How ever much you want to pay, madam. You see after I’m finished.” He then examined my ear, before selecting an implement and inserting it. He gently scraped away. The process was painless. Although he did remove a bit of wax, thankfully it wasn’t anywhere near as much as in his photos.
He reached into his pocket and pulled out another book. “Madam, look here. You see all my customers. Many people. They pay me 500 rupees, 1,000 rupees.” What a shock! “Hmmm, well I can only pay you 50 rupees,” I negotiated with him. Finally, after much debate, he gave in and accepted it.
After we parted ways and I kept walking along the cliff, I was overcome by astonishment as I thought about what had just happened. A man cleaned my ears?! In the middle of nowhere?! Anything really is possible in India.
As you can see from the photo of the card below, ear cleaning is a serious business in India. I’m not too sure about the meaning of the last paragraph on the card though. But if astrology is involved, it must be auspicious!
© 2010, Diary of a White Indian Housewife. All rights reserved. Do not copy and reproduce text or images without permission.
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