Home » Classification » Consensual » Savita’s Tonsure (Part 5)

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Shaalini’s ‘bald’ marriage

By now annual Tirumala tonsure, boycut with clippered sides and back in between, clippered tonsure before delivery of a child had become my standard routine. Chandru and I decided that boy or girl, all our children should sport clippered sides and back with short hair on top, along with annual Tirumala tonsure – this till they are married off and later it would be their choice.

After Maalini turned 11 month old, only her head was tonsured in Tirupati, a special trip to the holy place for the purpose. Four months later we made our annual trip to Tirupati and all the six – the three elders and the three kids got tonsured. But unfortunately, two months later my m-i-l had a severe heart attack and died before reaching hospital. She was 69 but looked around 60. She had her monthly crew cut the previous day. Respecting her great desire for head tonsuring we cremated her after tonsuring her head fully. Of course, Chandru readily agreed to tonsure his head for the rites. By then I had missed my periods for the second consecutive month. So my fourth child was on the way.

Seven months later, as usual with a freshly clippered bald head I delivered one more girl and we named her Kaamini. We also decided that four kids were enough and I went for a tubectomy operation. Kaamini also was tonsured in Tirupati when she became 11 month old.

The family now settled into annual Tirumala tonsure for all in June/July and clippered crewcuts for the two males and short clippered boycuts for the girls. I continued with clippered boycut. In addition I opted for a clippered bald head for myself in March every year just to enjoy the clipper all over my head. So for about two months in a year I am bald, with crew cut for about 4 months and for the remaining six months I sport a short boy cut with clippered back and sides. I am continuing this routine even now.

As the girls grew up they also liked the style we had imposed on them and enjoyed their monthly shearing in the barber shop and the annual mottai at Tirumala. Our family was termed `boycut house’ by some neighbours and ‘mottai house’ by some others. My mother, Kamala and Kamala’s sister-in-law settled into a five yearly Tirupati mottai for themselves and their kids including female ones. While Amma and Kamala said that they would not cut their hair or Kamala’s daughter’s hair in between, Kamala’s s-i-l decided to keep her hair a short boycut – not clippered but scissored short – in between five yearly Tirupati mottais. As for her only daughter she preferred clippered boycut till she attained 15 years of age.

When Shaalini completed her 8th standard she made two requests. One to get clippered all over along with me that March and to grow her hair long over the next two years after that year’s Tirupati mottai in June. She wanted to offer long hair in Tirupati after she passed her 10th standard. Of course, she liked the boycut and she would continue with that after 10th standard. This put us in a dilemma. We could not refuse her religious request, at the same time we could not go back on our decision of boycut till their marriage. But the feelings of young minds won the case and we permitted her to grow her hair long uncut after the Tirupati tonsure of that year. She entered 9th standard with a freshly shaven pate. Two years later when her 10th standard results came, she had about 16 inch long hair, long enough to be plaited. She was brimming with joy when her long hair was shaved off by the barber in Tirupati that June. The same pattern was followed for her sisters also.

By the by, Chandrakant became highly successful in his career and became a Senior Manager in his bank. All his colleagues appreciate my short clippercut. I attend the marriages of friends and relatives with confidence and pride – be my head bald or with a boy cut. But I never sacrificed the bindi, nose stud, the earstuds and bangles. Never do I apply lipstick. Even today we follow the practice of annual Tirumala tonsure and annual clippershave. This consistency has earned me a lot of admiration.

When Pranav was in his first year BE my father passed away. Two years later my mother also passed away. On both occasions Vijay got fully tonsured for the rites and we all skipped haircuts for three months. My mother, introduced to headshaves when her grand daughter, Vimala was 11 months old, had five headshaves at Tirupati. Her third Tirupati shave was a month before my father passed away. After that, she kept her head straight razor shaved (with only water but no shaving cream) every month. She went to Tirupati along with us the next two years and tonsured whatever growth was there. Two months after the last Tirupati shave, she had a massive heart attack. She recovered a little. She told Vijay that after her end she should be fully shaved before cremating her. She also requested Kamala, her d-i-l, to continue the tradition of five yearly tonsures for herself and all the kids. Kamala readily agreed. But three days later she had another attack and could not recover.

When Shaalini completed 18 years, we had her nose pierced so she could wear a small nose stud. This was done a month before we went for our annual Tirumala tonsure trip. She wanted her left nostril to be pierced. She looked extremely beautiful after that year’s Tirupati headshave – nice earrings, nose stud, bangles, bindi and a nice bald head. The same thing was done to her younger sisters when they turned 18. Maalini chose her right nostril to be pierced while Kaamini chose left nostril.

When Pranav passed his BE he was 22. He expressed a wish to continue his education and he completed his MBA. He got a high value job in an MNC after his MBA. After the first month salary came, he, at the age of 25, went to Tirupati alone, walked up the hills, offered 50% of his salary to the hundi and got mottaied as thanksgiving. Three months later it was the season of family tonsure. By now Shaalini, 23, was working as a Junior Doctor in a Nursing Home after completing her MBBS in distinction with two gold medals. Maalini was studying her final year Law course. Kaamini had completed second year BE in Mechanical Engineering. Shaalini told me that when she first entered the Nursing Home with a fresh crew cut, almost everyone including some patients giggled. She just smiled at all of them. Now, by June she had completed eight months in the Nursing Home. She had earned a very good reputation as a capable and sincere young lady doctor.

In June we all went to Tirupati on our annual ‘mottai’ pilgrimage and the six of us got tonsured fully as usual. The convocation for Shaalini’s degree was held three days later. She received her gold medals with bald head and the photos were there in some newspapers. I was pleasantly surprised that three days later we started receiving marriage proposals for her. In two months time there were six proposals. Being religious, we saw the horoscope and zeroed in on three boys. While two of the proposals did not mind her continuing her short hair style and annual tonsure, the third said they wanted her to grow her hair fully and stop cutting it altogether. She rejected that proposal. Of the other two, one seemed to suit her very well. We chose that. The boy (about 27 years) also was from a good family, free from bad habits, had a good job in an MNC and actually appreciated Shaalini’s rare hairstyle. He preferred her to continue that style. In fact, if all elders agreed he would marry her when she is completely bald. The boy’s parents did not mind it at all. They said if their son wishes it so, they would also join in and become bald.

So it was arranged that the marriage would take place in Tirupati that November. The day before marriage, all the six of us, the bridegroom and his parents, his two elder sisters (aged 31 and 29), their husbands, their four kids (two girls and two boys), three of our other relatives (all men), four of the groom’s relatives (a family of husband, wife, two daughters of 10 and 8) – in all 12 males and 12 females – got fully tonsured. After Lord Venkateshwara’s Darshan, marriage and return, the couple had a three day honeymoon to Kodaikanal with bald heads. Ten days after the marriage, a reception was held in Bangalore. The new couple, the groom’s parents, the five of our family all got our heads nicely clippered bald on the morning of the reception. A barber came to our house for the purpose. He finished the nine people in about one and half hours. It was a strange but refreshingly happy sight when the bald couple sat on the reception chairs and welcomed everybody with huge smiles. Shaalini is continuing with her annual mottai and crew cut in between even now, three years and two kids after her marriage.

To be continued ….

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