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Vol. XXXIII No. 7, July 16-31, 2023

The Legacy of Old Mylapore’s A.K. Vel Saloon

– by Baskar Seshadri

It was the early Fifties. Angamuthu of Mylapore took an interest in the business of hairdressing, a field which, at that time, had no organised shops – most people groomed their hair in the house or in common spaces like the local temple tank. It was Angamuthu who took the bold step of opening a professional saloon, setting the stage for success for many years to come.

A.K. Vel Saloon was originally situated right next to the Old Sathyam Studio. Old timers may be aware of this shop of yesteryears, and the trademark care the staff took to serve their customers. Some time later, when an ageing Angamuthu found that he could not continue to run the business, he handed over the entire responsibility to Kasi, his son-in-law.

Kasi was then already entering middle age, but rose to the occasion. He did his job with great care and concern for many years. The shop grew in reputation under his able mangement. Kasi expanded the shop a bit and modernized it to some extent, too. Little did he foresee that the place would one day be vacated for the railway project. The saloon was shut down, but Kasi went on to open a new branch at Adyar where it continues to run as a successful business even today under his son Thanigai, who took over after father’s demise. Thanigai’s ambitions for the shop extend beyond the mundanely commercial – a desire to contribute to society drove him to consider offering free services to underprivileged corporation school students, who receive haircuts at the saloon for no charge.

What a wonderful way to give back to society! Truly, our community runs on the service and support contributed by citizens from all walks of life and Thanigai is a shining example. Kudos to his kindness!

If you wish to make a visit to the saloon, now called Dhanush Hair Dressers, just stop by Kamaraj Avenue, 2nd Street, Adyar, where Thanigai continues to carry on his grandfather’s legacy.

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