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I had just received my 10th result on a Friday and I was overjoyed to hear that I had got 93%.  Not too great but enough to make me and my parents happy.  I came home jumping with joy and seeing my younger brother, Kiran, I hugged him.  Kiran had got his 8th standard result and he also had scored 89%.

 

Mom and dad were very happy to learn of the high marks I had obtained.  My dream was to get into medical and to do that I had to get into PUC with PCMB.  And with the marks I had got that would not be a problem.  Within a km of our house a girls-only pre degree college was there and I was angling to join it.  And with this marks it would not be a problem at all.

 

At dinner mom put a bomb and for a short time my enthusiasm was down to nadir.  She said “Rekha, I am so happy that you got 93% in SSLC.  You know, I have vowed to Lord Venkateshwara that if both of you got above 80 %, we all would walk up to his abode and offer our hair.  And anyway you will be studying hard for PUC and then MBBS.  So we have decided that for the next four years you will be having a nice and short boy cut only, so that you can concentrate fully on studies.  So tomorrow onwards, I will be giving you a nice oil head bath alternate days so that you will have very good hair to offer.”

 

I was looking at her with open mouth.  “What did you say? ‘We all will be offering hair’.  You mean I will be becoming a baldy?”

Mom: “Yeah, certainly.  You will become a baldy in about two weeks.  And so will be Kiran, your dad and also myself”.

I: “You also?”

 

I was open mouthed not believing my ears.

 

Mom: “Yeah, what is so astonishing about it?”

I: “But you are a Bank Manager and what will people say?  Will they not giggle?”

 

I myself giggled closing my mouth with my hand imagining a bald mom.

 

Mom: “Oh, who cares?  And how long they will giggle?  Two days, three days?  Things will be normal very soon.  And the enjoyment of a bald head is the prize for all the little trouble of answering others”.

I: “For us our marks.  What is the reason for you to go bald?”

Mom:  “I had vowed that if all went well in our lives, I would do this.  You two have got good marks.  We completed our own house and paid all loans.  We have got a new good car.  Your dad got promotion 6 months ago.  And I became a branch manager a year ago which is a total surprise for me.  And so this decision.”

 

For a few minutes I was pensive.  One thing that I had learnt in the past five years was that all decisions of my parents were for our good only.  So I better accept their decision happily rather than squabble about it.  I got back memories of my previous head tonsure five years ago.  At that time I had vehemently denied getting a tonsure.  But mom and dad forced me.  It went to an extent that I received a few nice slaps from my dad when I had refused to budge.  After that I reluctantly gave in.  The tonsure (only Kiran, myself and dad at that time) happened and I did enjoy it.  From then on for three months my mom got my head nicely razor shaved in barber shop once a week.  I had asked whether it was a punishment.  Mom said “No, it is for your good only.  Walk around bald in the early morning Sun and you will get very good D vitamin and the scalp skin becomes healthy.  Your hair will grow stronger, healthier and denser.”  And I did get good and healthy hair and also it grew pretty long – to the buttock length by the time I entered 10th standard.  And I grew fairly tall also for a 15 year old – 152 cm (about 5 feet).  So my hair was around 3 feet long.

 

So I brightened up and gave a bright smile and happily agreed to get the tonsure.  But I asked why boy cut and that too for four years?

Dad said “Look Rekha, you will need all the time in the world to concentrate on studies.  Longer hair means more time to manage it.  With your mom being a busy bank officer she will also not find enough time to attend to it.  So better make it very short so that it can be easily maintained.  Of course it needs frequent cutting and we can afford a monthly visit to barber shop.”

 

Oh, the boy cut will be in barbershop and not salon!  I could not take courage to say no since my parents were thrifty and would not spend a paisa more than needed.

 

I said with a giggle that it would be nice if mom also sports a boy cut for some time.  Mom brightened up and said “Sure, I am also looking for a change.  At least for a year or two I will also have a barbershop boy cut.  Let us see later.”

 

Oh! How thrilling!  Mom a baldy!  All the four baldies!  And mom sitting on a barbershop chair and getting a boy cut!  To imagine itself was thrilling.  And how thrilling it would be to see her locks being shorn with clippers by a barber!  With a giggle I asked mom whether she would be getting a clipper boy cut or scissors boy cut.  Mom said “Those things we will see later dear!”

 

By Tuesday I had joined the nearby girls’ college.  My photo was taken for the ID Badge.  My mom told the staff that I would be having a much shorter hair style by the time I reported for classes.  The staff said “No problem, madam. If need be we will take another photo at that time.”

 

We were slated to go to Tirupati for the head shaves the Friday evening ten days hence.  The Saturday about a week before we went to the nearby Venkataramanaswamy temple and all the four of us made ‘Sankalp’ of going to Tirumala by walk from Alipiri, giving our hair with ‘poorna-mundan’, having His darshan and going around bald without covering till hair grows.  Now nothing could alter the dates or these resolutions.

 

The next day, a Sunday, mom’s close friend Kalavathi and her husband came to our house.  She was mom’s senior in the Bank by five years and they had come to invite us for the marriage of their 22 year old daughter, Divya.  The marriage was on Monday nine days from now and the reception the same evening.  Kala aunty said all the four should make it to both the marriage and the reception.

 

Mom was in a quandary.  We would have returned bald just the day before the marriage date.  How to go to the marriage with nice and fresh bald head?  At the same time how to skip dear friend and guide Kala’s daughter’s marriage?

 

Mom told Kala aunty that she was very happy about Divya’s marriage but “you see, we are all going to Tirupati the coming Friday.  We will be back on Sunday evening, of course.  We are all offering our hair and we all will be freshly bald.  You may not like to see female baldies in your marriage hall.”

 

Kala aunty, with a bright grin, jumped up and hugged mom “oh so nice to hear about it.  So you will be a baldy next week!  No problem if you turn up bald at Divya’s marriage.  It will be a nice change.  Do not worry. You will be welcome with your fresh bald heads!” and giggled.  Mom was pleasantly and joyously relieved.

 

Later in the evening, a friend of dad and his wife came calling for the marriage and reception of their son.  The boy’s name was Srujan.  The date was same as that of Divya’s marriage and reception.  We repeated the same story to Srujan’s parents.  They also giggled but said that our presence was more important and we would be welcome bald or hairy!

 

So, Friday afternoon we set out to Tirupati in our Tata Indigo.  Both mom and dad are accomplished drivers.  By turns they drove the vehicle and in six hours, i.e. by 7 pm we were in Tirupati.  We parked the vehicle near Alipiri Mettu and started walking up the steps.  By 1 am we were in Tirumala and went to our lodge which had been pre-booked and slept off.

 

At 6 am we were woken up by mom.  After morning chores, she combed my and her hair well and plaited them for the last time in the near future.  Both of us had bum long hair.  All the four went to Kalyanakatta and stood in the long queue for token collection.  After about an hour we got our tokens – 4 gundu coupons.   We were distributed between two barbers.  Another hours wait and Kiran was the first to go under the blade.  In four minutes he rose up bald with a wide grin.  Dad was in the same queue and he also rose up bald in the next 4 minutes – his beard and mustache all gone and we were unable to recognise him.  Mom and I, still four ladies and two gents in our front, giggled at his appearance.

 

Another half hour, it was my turn to get tonsured.  Mom had opened my and her braids by then.  The barber wetted my hair thoroughly, made two bunches and after saying ‘Govinda’ started scraping off my 5 year old, buttock long hair at my crown.  Though looking forward to this moment, I became a little nervous.  But the first scrape sending a cool feeling at the top changed all that and I started enjoying the balding.  In two minutes the right bunch fell down and another two minutes the left bunch also fell down.  A few more seconds, one more scraping all over my head and I rose up with a smooth dome. Oh! What a great and joyous feeling it was!  I would not hesitate to do this more often if chance came.  No more long hair for me for another five years at least.

 

Next a widely grinning mom sat down.  It was mom’s first haircut of any kind after her mottai when she was just two years old.  The barber repeated on her what he did for me.  As the first stroke of razor passed on mom’s head, she was very joyous to say the least.  And in four minutes she also rose up with a smooth, round, greyish bald head and lo! What a beauty she looked with no hair!  Mom and I hugged each other and each said that the other looked very beautiful.

 

After bath, Darshan and Prasad we returned to Alipiri by evening 7.  Dad was looking at mom often appreciating her bald beauty.  Mom said that she had never imagined that a tonsure would bring her such a joy.

 

We stayed in Tirupati for the night and drove back to Bangalore on Sunday morning.  A bald and beautiful woman driving the Tata Indigo and entering the city from KR Puram side with three more baldies in the car!  At the traffic signal stops many would take a second or third look at us and silently giggle.  The two gents looked nice with their bald heads but nothing new for us.  Dad and Kiran used to get a mottais whenever we came to Tirumala and that was once in two or three years.  The last time was just a year ago.  But what took the cake was the two female baldies.  I looked a nice and beautiful girl to my own eyes and so did mom.

 

Dad told mom, perhaps jokingly, that she could keep herself a baldi forever since she looks so beautiful.  Mom giggled and said that she would be happy to keep herself a baldi for a month if he vowed to never again grow moustache.  And dad said that it was a deal.  Henceforth, he would take her to barbershop twice a week for a month and get her head clipper shaved.  I chipped in saying that I also would like to be bald for some more time.  And dad said that he would take me also along with mom.  But mine would be for three months.  And I happily agreed!

 

Mom and dad had applied leave till Wednesday.  So in the afternoon we went to Divya’s marriage and many giggled including the young bride and bridegroom seeing a bald mom.  But nobody made any wry face.  So it was a happy occasion for us to show off our bald heads.  In the evening we went to the reception of Srujan and there also it was a very happy and giggly thing for a bald family to mingle with so many friends.

 

Wednesday Mom went to her office with open bald head.  She was greeted with laughter and giggle by her colleagues but since she was their boss, the giggles were somewhat muted.  A happy mom returned from Bank with a grin as wide as Brahmaputra river.

 

Suddenly mom realised that she had just a week’s time to renew he driving license as she would turn 40 the next week.  Joyously she got the renewal done.  Her driving license smart card showed her nice baldy.  And mom is happy about it.

 

The following Sunday, dad took me and mom to the barbershop.  Amid a giggling male crowd, we got our heads neatly clipper shaved.  Another joyous experience for us.  This went on for three months.  Mom also kept her head clipper shaved for three months instead of the one month she had planned.

 

In between, dad planned for passports for all of us and mom said she wanted to appear a baldi in the passport also.  And so she continued to keep her head clipper shaved for three months by which time we completed the passport application and personal appearance, photo session and other formalities.

 

I went to the college with a fresh clipper head shave the previous Sunday.  All giggled, many caressed and some lightly slapped my head.  But I got very nice friends quickly.

 

Six months later, Novermber first week, mom and I had sufficient hair for nice boy cuts.  We again went to the same barber shop together.  The barber obliged mom’s request and gave us nice boy cuts with clippered areas on back and sides.  For mom the clippered area was about three fourth inch above the top of the ear and it had about 3 mm long hairs.  For me, mom insisted that the clippered area be fully bald to the skin and much higher – about one and half inch above the top of the ear.  Initially I was hesitant but later I found that such a short haircut really suited me and looked good.  Both of us looked really good with our boy cuts.  This type of haircut become our monthly routine.

 

The next summer, I told mom that I would like to go to Tpt for a nice head shave again.  She happily obliged.  The family again went to Tpt in car, this time we went up the hill by car, and again all the four got bald.  Mom also had got into liking a mottai head immensely.  However, this time we started growing the hair right away and in three months we had our brand boy cuts again.

 

I got the highest marks in both PUC and CET and got government seat in MBBS.  What more do you want for a joyous hair offering once again?  So again we all went to Tpt and the four got mottaied again.

 

Boycut for me for four years and for mom for two years was given up.  I resolved to continue it forever as I liked it and it suited me.  Mom also happily gave up the long hair plans and stuck to regular clipper boy cut with annual Tpt tonsure.  She is so happy to get a mottai and clipper boy cut!

 

When the groom, a doctor himself and residing in Mumbai came to see me about a year after I completed my internship and was into my PG diploma, we all had returned fresh baldies from Tpt just a week earlier.  I told him that annual tonsure at Tpt and boy cut in between would continue to be my hairstyle.  He happily agreed.  His mom was also very happy since she herself is a bob cut lady.  She said “My m-i-l had full bum long hair.  She insisted after my marriage that I should become more mod and forced me to cut my hair into a bob not longer than earlobe.  Initially I was reluctant but after keeping bob hair for about a year, I fell in love with it.  Now that you are entering our house with a boy cut is really welcome.  You also look so good with a bald head and I have no reason to complain.”

 

Mom has steadily climbed up the ladder in her bank and in thirteen years she has become a Chief General Manager.  In two years she may have a chance to become a Director of the Bank.

 

Now I am 28 and an accomplished gynaecologist in a reputed Mumbai hospital.  Annual Tpt tonsure and short clippered boy cut have become part of my life.   The happy thing is that my m-i-l also tried a Tpt mottai the second year and she is also happily stuck in the annual mottai groove.  Hence she also has switched over to clippered boy cuts.

 

Six months back, Kiran married Lata, an engineer in a private firm.  Her parents were taken aback when mom told that she and myself get annual mottais and boycuts in between.  They were reluctant to give their daughter to Kiran.  But mom assured them that there would not be any compulsion and the short hair thing is only our personal choice.  But annual Tpt visits should not be objected to.  Lata and her parents happily agreed.

 

After four months of marriage, Lata has adjusted to our family and my mom very closely.  A month back all the four (my parents, Kiran and Lata) visited Tpt for the annual pilgrimage.  All but Lata tonsured fully and Lata gave three cuts and two inches off her mid back long hair.  Back home she was enamoured of the beauty of a bald mother-in-law.  She has told her parents that in next year’s Tpt visit she is also going to get a head shave by her own choice.  And mom is very happy about it.  I am also looking forward to see a bald Lata.

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