“I failed my 10th standard when I was in Ratnagiri, but I had big dreams. My family was part of a small community where the main profession was that of being a barber. My grand father, father and uncles were all barbers and I knew that this would be my future too but I wasn’t willing to stop at just doing beards and straight cuts; I wanted to work as a professional hairdresser and stylist in the film industry.
I first visited Mumbai 10 years back for a cousin’s wedding. I’ll be honest, the wedding was just an excuse; my heart knew that I was here for another reason— I was here to follow my dreams and make something of myself. After the marriage I stayed back to work at parlour in Dahisar. My cousins back home laughed at me, they jokingly said an ugly looking man like me who didn’t even know Hindi would never be able to survive in this city…forget making it big but something in me told me that I had to give it my best shot. I worked sincerely and passionately, not for the money but only for the experience. I wasn’t making any money at all —I remember bathing on the streets for almost three months…I couldn’t afford anything else. Even though I was broke, without a house and money, I knew that someday I would be in a better place…I believed in that with all my heart.
As time passed, I got a call for an interview at a bigger salon. I remember looking at my clothes and thinking that they won’t ever hire someone who doesn’t even have a decent t-shirt to wear, but thankfully they looked passed my appearance and hired me. My boss and colleagues were wonderful, they taught me so much — from Hindi to hair styling!
My thirst to make it was so big that I taught myself English by keenly observing the foreigners who came to the salon. I would match their hand actions to the words they said so that I could pick up english. In the beginning I didn’t even know how to respond to a ‘Hi’ or ‘How do you do?’ but with time, practice and the help of a few people I now speak fluent English!
I’m 33 years old now, and when I look back at my journey I feel proud. From learning how to cut hair from by uncle every Sunday at the age of 11 to flying to Europe for a wedding as a professional, from dreaming about working in Bollywood to actually working with stars like Sonam Kapoor and Abhay Deol in the movie Aisha, from showering on the road to buying a good apartment of my own, from coming to Bombay penniless to saving enough money to support my 4 brothers and parents, from having no name or fame to being featured in Vogue… all my dreams came true. Why? Because I believed in myself so stubbornly, that the world had no other option but to believe in me too.”
– Suhas Mohite
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