Geetha’s conversion to non-veg
I am Geetha, a software engineer. So is my husband Ramesh but working in a different company. Both are basically from traditional vegetarian families. However, my m-i-l is a liberal lady and wanted her sons and daughter to enjoy life without leaving good traditional things. She tried to make her two sons and the lone daughter mod by making them eat non-veg, take drinks and dress mod. Her husband could not do much as she ruled the house. Her elder son and the daughter rejected her mod suggestions and stayed veg and teetotallers. But her younger son Ramesh happily toed her line and became a voracious non-vegetarian and a drinker. So immediately after marriage, m-i-l started pressurising that I also toe Ramesh’s line. A week after marriage, I reluctantly began eating chicken and fish and consuming beer and whisky. But within a week later, I started liking the taste of both and I happily became a voracious non-veg eating and drinking girl without leaving other good traditional and religious things.
My in-laws live with Ramesh’s highly traditional elder brother and his family and I and Ramesh live separately. In three years after marriage, with hefty double income, we purchased a 120’x80’ site on the outskirts of the city and built a house with a separate outside kitchen, a small butchery for non-veg fare and a poultry house. We ourselves kill the chicken in jhatka manner, dress them and cook them. I made my two kids, daughter Priyanka and son Sachin also eat non-veg once Sachin crossed 5 years of age. I ignored the sadness of my parents on this issue.
But I chose to keep my hair long with only minor trimmings in spite of m-i-l’s pressure to cut it short. I liked my flowing braid very much. In fact, I liked the image of myself, clad in traditional saree, blouse, braid and flowers, a plate of chicken in front and downing a glass of whisky.
I had to go to USA for a six month on-shore project. At 15, Priyanka had been well trained in cooking both veg and non-veg food including killing and dressing chicken. Sachin was 13 and Ramesh could manage them in my absence. It was end March when I visited my dear friend Asha a few days after coming back to Bangalore. She is also 39 like me and we are bosom friends since our PUC days. She works as a Principal in a high school, her husband Aditya (Aadi for short) works as a senior officer in a PSU, their daughter Rukmini (Rukku for short) and son Pradyumna are about the same age as my daughter and son. We have become family friends visiting each other once in a while. Their family is highly religious and traditional like Ramesh’s brother and family.
Asha family’s Tirumala gundu decision
Aadi and Pradymna always sport close crop machine crew cuts, unlike Ramesh or Sachin who have much longer hair. Once I had asked Asha why they always have such close haircuts. She said that a month after their marriage she told Aadi to have longer hair. He patiently explained the advantages of short machine cut. When she raised the issue again a month later, he gave her a piece of his mind shutting up her mouth on the issue. After that, gradually she also started liking his short crew cut hair so much that once Pradyumna became big enough for barbershop haircuts it was she who insisted on machine crew cut for him. She always adored their short hair, especially the look and feel of the sandpapery texture of the back and sides of a fresh crew cut head.
Now I saw that both Aadi and Pradyumna had very long hair. I asked Asha the reason. She gave a shy smile and said “Next month we are going to Tirumala. To get a gundu (full tonsure of the head) there, they should have some reasonable length of hair. So they did not get haircut since January.” I was surprised. They used to visit Tirumala once in two or three years but did not get any gundu there except when the kids were toddlers. So why now, I persisted.
Asha answered shyly “Aadi got a promotion last year, quite early for his age. You know that I also became the Principal at a nearby school at such a young age. A month later Rukku passed Senior in music with very good marks. At that time my m-i-l suggested that we tonsure Rukku’s head after she completes SSLC and later keep her head a boy cut so that she will get enough time to prepare for CET and also practice music regularly which she adores. Initially we were aghast but m-i-l and f-i-l convinced us that it would be a good thing for all of us to get Tirumala gundu as thanksgiving for Aadi’s promotion, my new job and Rukku’s good marks. She persuaded me also to agree to have a boy cut for some time as that style would jell with my position as a school Principal. Even she and f-i-l would tonsure with us to make it a family tonsure.
“My friend and colleague Ratna who happily shaves her head every five years supported my m-i-l’s opinion and urged me to enjoy being a baldy. I asked the Director of our School Management whether he would have any objection if I came to school with a bald head. He said that there would not be any objection from the Management, on the contrary, they would welcome it. He was very happy when I told him that I would keep a boy cut after hair grows. Aadi also thought that I would look fine as a baldy and as a boy cut lady. So finally I happily agreed for the family gundu and later a boy cut. Rukku said that she wanted to get a gundu ever since she saw her friend Nithya looked very cute with her Palani mottai head. But she lacked guts to ask for it. So she also became very happy hearing that she would be a baldy and later a boy cut girl. Now I started bubbling with enthusiasm looking forward to the day when my waist long braid would be scraped off. I proposed to Aadi that he keep his head buzzed regularly after the Tirumala gundu and that I would buzz it twice a week with an electric clipper. He happily agreed. M-i-l told the three gents not to go for haircut till Tirumala gundu is over. And that is why their hair is long.
“A week after Rukku’s PU admission is over we will go to Tirumala and return as baldies. Geetha, I suggest that your family also accompany us and you four also can get gundu like us. Since you are a mod lady with non-veg and drinks and all that, a nice boy cut will suit you and Priyanka” saying this she gave her brand mischievous giggle.
Geetha family’s Tirumala gundu decision
Hearing all this I was dumbfounded. I wished her a nice life with gundu head and boy cut and came home. I narrated the whole story to Ramesh, Priyanka and Sachin. They were also surprised. Priyanka said that she would love to run her palm on her dear friend Rukku’s head when she is freshly bald. But they were all aghast when I told them of Asha’s suggestion of gundu for the four of us along with them. While Ramesh giggled, Priyanka’s eyes brightened. She started putting up tantrums that at least she be allowed to do gundu and later have a boy cut like Rukku. Ramesh thought that Asha’s idea of a family gundu for us was a good one. M-i-l had been pressing for me and Priyanka to have short hair. But would she agree for Tirumala tonsure?
Next evening we went to my b-i-l’s place to meet my in-laws. Ramesh spoke to his mom about his desire of going for a family gundu for the four of us in Tirumala. M-i-l’s face brightened and said that her dream of seeing her daughter-in-law in boy cut is finally coming true. She said to go ahead and get the family gundu in the summer after kids’ results were out. She forbade us to go with Asha’s family and insisted to go separately.
Bald Asha attends official meeting
The D-day came for Asha’s family. They all went to Tirumala and returned with nice shining bald heads. We went to see them at their house the same evening. All the six of them looked exquisitely cute with their bald heads. Asha told me that she has purchased a set of clippers and she will buzz Aadi’s head to sandpaper texture twice a week. All the six giggled.
Next day Asha went to school in her Tata Nano showing off her bald head. Everyone who saw her giggled. Yet they all appreciated her beauty with the bald head. She attended a Principals’ meet with the BEO on that day. Again everyone smiled and giggled but she maintained her calm with a smile in the meeting. By the evening, she was on cloud nine. Her last trace of shyness on being a baldy had evaporated. She declared that she would keep her head bald for the next two months and requested Aadi to clipper her head twice a week. Aadi happily agreed. Rukku and Pradyumna said they also would keep their heads bald till classes started.
Two weeks later, we four went to Tirumala and got our heads shaved. The tonsure process was so nice that I regretted having missed it so far. Priyanka was also equally happy about her bald head. Unlike Asha’s family we started to grow it out. My m-i-l was very happy to see me bald. She said that both I and Priyanka look exquisitely beautiful with our bald heads and recommended that we do this family gundu at Tirumala once in two years henceforth.
In Asha’s family, her in-laws started growing hair. Asha and Rukku learnt to use the clippers on the heads of others. So the half week growth on the heads of the remaining four got buzzed off to skin with clippers every Sunday and Wednesday. The four enjoyed being baldies for the next two months. Aadi decided to be a baldy regularly and Asha was very happy about it. Asha bought a set of scissors and comb also so that she and Rukku could learn to cut Pradyuma’s hair into a crew cut. The two quickly learnt to cut a nice crew cut. Rukku’s grandpa encouraged her to cut his hair also into his regular crew cut which she happily did. Now both Rukku and Asha have become expert hair dressers in so far as doing head buzz and crew cut. Asha’s m-i-l said that she loved the feel of short hair and she would keep a boy cut if one of them did it on her. So Asha cuts her m-i-l’s hair into a clipper boy cut once a month.
Asha and Geetha are boy cut ladies
I and Priyanka went to barbershop for our boy cuts about 3 months after our Tirumala gundu. I wanted a scissor boy cut but the barber talked me into getting a clipper boy cut as my head shape suits it. I reluctantly agreed. But I lost the reluctance once the clippers denuded my back and sides to skin to an inch above my ears. The feeling of clippers was so good! The barber trimmed the top hair with scissors and comb into a neat boy cut. Priyanka said that I look super with this cut and she also would have a similar haircut. As the barber ran the clipper up her temple she was beaming from ear to ear. And in about 15 minutes she also became a clipper boy cut girl. Both of us loved our haircuts and returned home, happily caressing the bald back and sides. Both I and Priyanka decided to keep the style and get the cut once a month. When Asha, who had about half inch hair on her head, saw me with a NCC type clipper cut she giggled no end but said that it looked super on me. She said that she also would have a similar cut two months later.
After three months of growth, Asha and Rukku went to the barbershop together for boy cuts. The barber gave them nice clipper boy cuts similar to mine. Again Asha’s colleagues laughed initially at her NCC type clipper haircut – clippered bald on back and sides to about 1 inch above the ears. But it became the brand haircut for her and Rukku. Both decided to keep the style.
Long hair gone for good
It is now 12 years since that first Tirumala gundu. Since then, our family gets a family gundu every two years as desired by my m-i-l. Of course, both my f-i-l and m-i-l passed away in quick succession about five years ago. Asha’s family also does the biennial gundu. Asha’s aged m-i-l also keeps her head a crew cut now-a-days. Rukku completed her music vidvat and MBBS with very high marks. She has completed MS in Urology and is a budding specialist in a well-known hospital. She got married six months ago to another doctor of the same caste. She had a scissor boy cut at marriage. Later she returned to clipper boy cut which she maintains even now. Her m-i-l is okay with it. Asha continues to keep the clipper boy cut.
Priyanka did M.Tech. in Electronics and Ph.D. She has joined as a faculty in a good local engineering college. She married into a traditional family of our own caste about a year ago but has been happily permitted to keep her boy cut and Tirumala gundu routine. After much haggling she has been allowed to eat non-veg and take drinks outside the house. But her children should be brought up as vegetarians and teetotallers only. She has agreed. She comes to our house once in a fortnight to keep her chicken killing and non-veg cooking skills alive and to eat homemade non-veg food.
Mala agrees to ‘convert’ to non-veg
We were searching for a suitable bride for Sachin through our caste matrimonial bureaus and websites. We got a good alliance from a middle class family of our own caste where the horoscopes matched well. The girl Mala, a B.Com. graduate working in a Bank, had two younger sisters. It was necessary for her parents to marry off Mala into a good house with as small an expenditure as possible. They had been trying to get a suitable match within their means ever since she passed out of B.Com. After two years and trying 15 families they were at a dead end. They were desperate to somehow get our alliance through once they learnt that the horoscopes matched very well.
We told Mala’s parents that we were of the same caste as theirs and were religious no doubt. But we have been a bit liberal on certain things and so have become non-vegetarians and also the elders take drinks. We also have biennial family gundu at Tirumala and the females keep short hair. We expect the bride to follow these practices happily. We do not want any dowry. The marriage can be as simple as possible. The bride need not work but stay at home. Initially it may be a bit difficult for her but she will be very happy once she adjusts to our ways.
Mala’s parents said that they were following five yearly family gundu in their house. So they were very happy on the biennial gundu and short hair thing. But they were horrified that their daughter would become a non-veg and drinking girl if she marries Sachin. They were reluctant to make their daughter a non-veg girl. But Mala somehow got enamoured of Sachin’s handsomeness and the rich family. So she firmly told them that one cannot have everything. Sachin is handsome, earns handsomely, has a good position in his office and is a good boy. His family is rich with a large independent house. The horoscopes match well. They are religious. Many Brahmins in some coastal states eat non-veg food and still are religious. So she would like to accept the alliance and follow their way of life happily – non-veg food, drinks, short hair and all. Finally her parents gave in and accepted the alliance. The marriage was fixed to a date two months after Priyanka’s marriage.
Mala is a boy cut lady
Since Mala already had a Tirumala gundu done three years before her marriage and currently had mid back hair, we did not need to take her to Tirumala immediately. I wanted to photograph her in the image of my younger days – flowing braid, saree and traditional minimal ornaments, chicken in front and whisky in one hand. So the very next evening after marriage, I initiated her to homemade chicken. She took to it with relish and started liking its taste right away. In the night, I initiated her to beer which she happily drank. Similar thing was done the next evening also – homemade mutton biriyani and whisky. She liked that also. That night was their first night and she was deflowered by Sachin. Five more days and she was a non-veg girl – liking the regular evening non-veg meal immensely and a drinker girl – drinking whisky everyday. The two went to a weeklong honeymoon to Munnar where they regularly took non-veg food and alcoholic drinks. After returning from Munnar, I took my desired photo of her – saree clad, traditional make up with flowing braid, a smile on the face, a plate of chicken in front and a glass of whisky in her right hand.
The next day I took her to the barbershop, got her braid cut off close to her head and the remaining hair reduced to clipper boy cut similar to mine – clippered to skin on back and sides to about one inch above the ears and top hair just long enough to comb. She was beaming from ear to ear as the clippers made the back and sides of her head bald – her first experience with clippers. She was a good cook of vegetarian items in her parental house. Within a month, she acquired the skills cooking non-veg food from dressed meat. A Saturday around that time, I taught her to kill chicken. In fact, I was surprised the way she chopped off the head of a chicken with glee – her first killing. She quickly learnt poultry maintenance, killing, dressing and cooking. She is very happy now having ‘converted’ into a non-veg, non-teetotaller, modern, boy cut girl.
Even her parents are happy that she has entered a good house though they are sad that she has become a non-vegetarian. But they are very happy about her clipper boy cut. She has indicated that we being a rich family with a big house, she can afford to have more children. I have agreed. She plans at least four and may be six if her health permits. She has told me that she would happily continue the biennial Tirumala family gundu tradition, crew cut for boys, boy cut for girls, homemade non-veg food, home poultry and chicken killing and bi-weekly intake of alcohol by the elders. She is currently carrying her first baby in its sixth month and so not consuming alcohol but will resume a month after delivery. She gets a barbershop haircut to the same clipper boy cut shape every month.
Thanks Asha. It was your encouragement that made us into a happy family of boy cut ladies with biennial gundu. And a thousand thanks to my liberal m-i-l whose insistence made us into a happy non-veg, non-teetotaller yet traditional family with boy cut females though she never indulged in any of them.