BOY CUT KAATHI IN BANK
It was the first of January in Vishakhapatna when Kaathyaayini (Kaathi for short) landed in my Branch on transfer from another Vizag branch replacing Rudresh. Almost the entire staff, including me, giggled a lot at her hairdo. Though she was the orthodox incarnate with her well worn saree, bindi, jhumka, nose stud and toe rings, she had a fresh clipper boy cut, bald on back and sides to about an inch above her ears and a nice crop on top combed neatly with a left side parting. I assigned the same job to her hitherto looked after by Rudresh. In a week’s time I understood that she was indeed very good in her work. Her behaviour also was very mature. And the giggles gave way to genuine appreciation for the boy cut lady.
Kaathi, now 29, had been in the Bank for the past eight years and this was her third branch, second in Vizag. I learnt that she is also of the same orthodox Brahmin caste as mine. Her 32 year old husband, Rupesh, is a scientist in NSTL. Her 58 year old f-i-l works as a professor in a college while 55 year old m-i-l, Savitri was a school principal which she quit to look after Kaathi’s child. Rupesh’s grandpa and granny (85 and 82 years old) are staying with them. Kaathi was 23 when she got married, has a 5 year old son and a 3 year old daughter and currently carrying her third child expected in early June. Rupesh’s younger sister Kumuda was married off much before Kathi’s marriage. He has a younger brother, Kamesh, 27, who is an officer in the Port Trust. They are looking for a suitable match for him. About two weeks after Kaathi joined, I cornered her one evening for a chit chat.
I: Sorry that we all giggled at your hairstyle on the first day. Now I realise that it looks really good on you. How long are you having this type of haircut?
K: Oh, Madam, that is a long story. Do you have time and patience to listen? (she giggled with a hint of shyness)
I: No problem, go ahead.
Kaathi’s parents astonished at Savitri’s boy cut
Rupesh along with his parents and grandparents came to see me in Guntur about 7 years ago after the horoscopes had matched well. Savitri and granny of the boy were in boy cuts. Though I initially accepted the boy in my mind, I expressed my apprehension to my mom thinking that they were highly mod. My mom point blank asked Savitri whether I will also be expected to become mod with short hair and all.
Savitri smiled and said “No, we are not mod. We are as traditional and religious as you are. About 16 years ago, when we were in multiple difficulties we were advised by family pandit that we should have biennial family tonsure in some temple and keep the hair very short in between. That is why we started getting biennial gundu in Tirupati and short boy cuts in between and made it the family standard. And with that practice we are very well off as a family. Even my daughter Kumuda was married off with a boy cut only. After marriage she has been asked to grow it long but allowed to have a gundu once in five years. So, naturally the new daughter-in-law would be required to follow this. In fact, her first night will be held only after a clean tonsure at Tirupati, though marriage can take place with full hair.”
My mom, clearly shocked, said “Oh, we do not cut our females’ hair, not even at childhood. This will be a big change for her.” Savitri was astonished and said “Oh, not even baby mundan? No problem. Two consecutive temple tonsures within three months after marriage will take care of it”. Mom was further shocked. I was in tears. We asked for a week to decide. Through a friend in Vizag I found out in the next three days that the family is very good and losing long hair is too small a price to get into such a family.
Parents persuade Kaathi to accept short haired life
After considering all things, my parents and my elder brother persuaded me that “nowadays short hair is a trend and is acceptable. The boy and the family are good. Do not leave this chance just for the sake of retaining long hair”. I thought over it for a day, imagined myself with bald head and then a clipper boy cut like my brother and Savitri, imagined as to how my colleagues and customers at Bank would giggle, I myself giggled at the thought and finally accepted the alliance happily.
Kaathi’s joyful Tirumala tonsure
But when I got the Tirumala gundu a week after the marriage, it was such a nice experience that I thought our parental family had missed this joy so far. The time coincided with the biennial family gundu and so the entire family of Rupesh got tonsured. I had got a transfer to Vizag branch and I reported there two weeks after my marriage with just a week’s hair growth. Everyone giggled but I had made up my mind to just smile away and carry on with the work. As my m-i-l had indicated, I and Rupesh were tonsured again at Simhachalam three months later. That I was already pregnant did not matter at all. Another three months and m-i-l took me to the barbershop and got me the first clipper boy cut. Oh! The sensation of the electric clipper running on my nape and sides high up was so beautiful! And the resultant short boy cut really looked cute on me. I fell in love with it instantly. Since then I also immensely enjoy the biennial gundu at Tirumala and monthly clipper boy cut at barber shop.
Kaathi gets clippered every first Sunday
I: Oh! Nice story. When you came two weeks ago, your back and sides were bald. Now it is fully covered with hair. When will you have your next haircut?
K: I normally get the cut every first Sunday of the month. If for some reason it is not possible, it would be the next Sunday. But I got the cut early morning of the day I reported here as I liked it that way. So the first Sunday of February, that is two weeks from now, will be my next haircut.
Kaathi plans to deliver when bald
I: When will be your next gundu?
K: This May or June. One month before that we all skip the monthly haircut.
I: But you will be about to deliver around that time. Will it be ok to tonsure at that time?
K: We have deliberately timed the pregnancy so that I can deliver when I am bald (she giggled).
Grandpa and Granny barbered at home
I: Your husband’s granny is aged. Can she go to the barbershop?
K: Once or twice we could manage to get a barber home. But since it was difficult, m-i-l bought a set of tools and started giving clipper cuts to her aged in-laws herself. She even shaves grandpa’s face with straight razor. Now I have also learnt it. For me and my m-i-l, the bald area is about an inch above the ear. But we keep the bald area much higher up – about 2 inches above the ears – for granny and grandpa and the top hair just about half to one inch long. Of course, m-i-l and I go to barbershop only.
Parlour too costly just for a boy cut
I: Why don’t you go to parlour?
K: We do not need all that kinky stuff like threading, waxing etc. All we need is a clipper haircut. In barbershop it costs 80 rupees while in parlour, it is 399 rupees. Why spend unnecessarily so much?
I: Don’t the men giggle when you ladies get haircut in barbershop?
K: Some do, but who cares? Most gents in the barbershop we go to are regulars and are accustomed to see us getting clipper cuts.
Kamesh’s bride should also become short haired
I: You said that for your brother-in-law, you are searching for a bride. Will she have to follow your hair routine?
K: Sure. That is why we are unable to find a girl so far. Good girls are not accepting to get their hair cut and those agreeable for boy cut are too mod to accept our traditional practices like joint family, biennial gundu, Telugu only at home, daily puja, teetotalism, etc. We will continue our search.
WHY NOT PRATIKSHA FOR KAMESH?
I went home thinking ‘why not give Pratiksha to this family?’ My daughter, Pratiksha, 23, was working in state government office in clerical grade in Vizag. She is also quite religious and traditional. But she is quite bold and has put her foot down on efforts by some colleagues to corrupt her. Our efforts to get a match for her on our terms also had not yielded results so far – horoscope matching, good religious middle class family and a good boy with no smoke-drink habits.
KAATHI NOT ALLOWED TO CUT HAIR AFTER 10
Unlike Kaathi, we had tonsured the head of Pratiksha in Tirumala when she was 2 and 5 and at Simhachala when she was 10. I kept her head razor shaved at barbershop twice a week for three months after the Simhachala tonsure. She was very happy to get the repeat tonsures at that time. When she completed 10th and about to enter +2, she told me whether she could tonsure her waist long hair. I happily agreed. But my hubby, who works in a private company at a senior level, put his foot down. So after the three month tonsure series, we never cut her hair, which grew to her bum by the time she entered B.Com., except trimming the ends once in two months which I myself did. My m-i-l, who stays with her elder son, was furious when I tonsured her head first time in Tirumala. But somehow I had mollified her that it is for the baby’s good only.
‘FULFIL YOUR DESIRE BUT DO NOT COME BACK’
As for myself, I had a gundu at 10 months and again at 5 years. Later I was never allowed to cut my hair, not even trimming the ends either before marriage or after that. I also had an inner desire of getting a gundu once at least. When I told hubby of my desire he simply told me to fulfil it but never again come home. I kept my gab shut after that on the subject.
PRATIKSHA’S DAD HAS NO OBJECTION IF SHE AGREES FOR SHORT HAIR
I broached the subject of giving Pratiksha to Kaathi’s brother-in-law with my hubby. He was taken aback when I said about the hair style of Kaathi’s family. But he had mellowed quite a lot by now, after the unsuccessful attempts of finding a match for her. After two days of whacking his brain he said that if the boy and the family are good and Pratiksha happily agrees, he would have no objection. I bided my time to broach this subject with Pratiksha or Kaathi or her in-laws.
ANOORADHA INVITES SELF TO KAATHI’S HOME
Came February and on the Monday following the first Sunday, Kaathi appeared in the Bank with a fresh clipper boy cut, similar to early January. I got a very good feeling when I caressed her sandpapery bald nape. I could not resist the urge to see her m-i-l and granny with fresh clipper cuts. So, I invited myself to her house that evening. I was given a welcome by Savitri reserved for the boss of their d-i-l. Oh! What a beauty this lady was! The fresh clipper boy cut on her head did not take away an iota of beauty from her face.
Then I saw the granny. Her clipper cut looked almost a crew cut, bald very high up on sides and back and quite short on top. For her age it suited her. All in all, all the ladies looked exquisite with their short haircuts. I chatted with Savitri for about 20 minutes while keenly observing things around. Yes, this family looks really good. Pratiksha would be happy here I thought.
PRATIKSHA VERY HAPPY TO GET RID OF HER LONG HAIR
Back home I told my hubby about my visit and my impressions. He allowed me to talk to Pratiksha on the subject. When I broached it with her, she almost jumped with joy. She said that long hair may look good to others but its wearer only knows the problems – heavy, difficult to wash, difficult to dry, difficult to comb, very hot, itchy, sweaty and what have you. Those three months of being bald at age 10 were the best hair days for her and that is why she wanted to do one more gundu after 10th. But her dad had said no. ‘If I am allowed to shave off my hair or cut it short, I would be very happy and thankful’ she now said. So if this guy and his family are good, she would be very happy to lose her bum long hair forever.
ANOORADHA ALLOWED A TONSURE VOW
When I reported this to hubby, he felt relieved and gave me the go-ahead to match the horoscopes. I took the opportunity of asking him to allow me to vow a gundu at Tirumala if Pratiksha gets happily married. He smiled and said yes but I should grow hair after the gundu, not keep it short. I was very jubilant and said ‘yes, I will grow it’.
MARRIAGE AND TIRUMALA VISIT
Further things moved like a blurr. Horoscopes matched very well. Pratiksha liked Kamesh from the first sight itself. I got promotion to Senior Manager with transfer to Vijayawada in end March. From 1st of April I had to report to Vijayawada circle office which I did. Marriage was held in third week of May. This was the year of biennial gundu in Savitri’s family. For Kumuda, who now had waist long hair, this was her five yearly gundu year. So a week after the marriage, Savitri, her husband, his aged parents, Rupesh, pregnant Kaathi, their two kids, Kamesh, Pratiksha, myself and hubby went to Tirupati in train. Kumuda joined us in Vijayawada. Granddad, granny, pregnant Kaathi, her two kids accompanied by Rupesh went up to Tirumala by bus to guest house. Savitri, her husband, Kamesh, Pratiksha, Kumuda, myself and hubby went up by steps.
SAVITRI WELCOMES ANOORADHA INTO GUNDU CLUB
The next morning the barber was brought to the guest house to shave the heads of granddad, granny and Kaathi who couldn’t wait in queue or sit on floor. Rupesh also got tonsured there itself so as to be there to look after them. After the four people were rendered bald and completed their bath and all, Rupesh took them for darshan through special queue. In the meantime, the remaining nine of us went to Kalyanakatta, took tokens, waited and waited in May crowd and got our heads nicely and smoothly tonsured. Oh! What a great experience it was, when my mid-back long hair was scraped off! Pratiksha shed tears of joy after her bum long hair was shaved off in four minutes to a nice and smooth gundu head. Savitri looked so cute with her smooth dome. She congratulated me caressing my smooth dome saying “Welcome Anooradha to our gundu club, you look so beautiful with bodigundu head!”
BALD KAMESH DEFLOWERS BALD PRATIKSHA
On the way back, a bald Kumuda got down at Vijayawada and was received by her hairy husband. In Vizag, all of Savitri’s family barring Kamesh and Pratiksha went to their house, while the new bald couple came to our house. A few of my colleagues came to help me make the arrangements and cooking for the first night celebration. By evening Savitri’s entire family came. A purohit came for the Nisheka and Garbhaadaan Pooja. After dinner, amid the usual leg pulling, a bald pair of Kamesh and Pratiksha were pushed inside the decorated room. All except Savitri returned to their houses. We, the other three baldies, slept off while a bald Pratiksha was being deflowered by a bald Kamesh.
COLLEAGUES GIGGLE AT BALD ANOORADHA AND PRATIKSHA
Two days later I reported back to the Bank at Vijayawada with my bald head. The office colleagues giggled at my bald appearance for a few days but I braved it out. In Vizag, a bald Kaathi gave birth to a girl baby the very next day of my leaving Vizag. Both she and Savitri were very happy that it was the first child in their house coming out of a bald mom. Even the new d-i-l was happy about it and asked Savitri’s nod for delivering her children bald like Kaathi. Savitri happily agreed. Pratiksha reported for duty with her bald head to the giggling of everybody. She smiled back at them.
HUBBY ENCOURAGES ANOORADHA TO HAVE A BOY CUT
In three months, Pratiksha was declared pregnant and she celebrated the event by getting a nice clipper cut like Savitri. I and hubby were there at her house on that Sunday morning to see how she would look after the cut. She looked exquisitely beautiful. She was so happy with her haircut that she could not stop caressing her own nape once in a while. The other two ladies, Savitri and Kaathi also had their brand clipper cuts the same day. Somehow, the sight encouraged my hubby to change his stance of long hair for me. Back home he told me to try a boy cut like Savitri once. If it suits, I could continue.
ANOORADHA IS A BOY CUT LADY
The next Sunday I got a similar barbershop clipper boy cut at Vijaywada. When hubby saw it he could not take his hand away from my bristly nape. He told me to continue the style which I happily did. About six months later and three days before Pratiksha’s scheduled delivery date, she got her head shaved again to gundu with clippers at home by Savitri herself.
It is three years since Pratiksha’s marriage. Granddad passed away a year after Pratiksha’s marriage. From the 10th day of his death, grandma started keeping her head bald regularly by getting her hair buzzed once a week. Either Kaathi or Pratiksha does the buzzing at home. Pratiksha has two kids, a boy and a girl, both delivered when she was bald. She has well settled into her joint family with biennial gundu and clipper boy cut and all are happy.
FOUR CLIPPER BOY CUT LADIES AT KAATHI’S HOUSE
In the three years, I have also become a clipper boy cut addict. Hubby wants me to get my head shaved once in three years. This June I got my head tonsured again along with hubby. Now I am back to my clipper boy cut. Whenever I go to Pratiksha’s house, it is hilarious to see four ladies together with identical clipper boy cuts.