Family gundu in Malati’s families
Ramani initially was not happy about this gundu requirement of Rajesh’s family. But she had advised her daughter to go along so that family strife could be avoided and after all it is just hair. So Tuesday morning Ramani talked to her m-i-l who resided in Hyderabad with the family of Satya’s elder brother. Ramani explained apolgetically to her 80 year old m-i-l the circumstances under which Malati was getting tonsured.
But her m-i-l said “Ramani, why are you so apologetic about it? Malati’s in-laws are doing a good thing only. Six months ago, our neighbour Mala and her two d-i-ls got the gundu in Tirumala as part of their family gundu. The three ladies looked so beautiful, happy and radiant with their bald heads. Even now they look cute with six month growth. Seeing their beautiful bald heads I suggested to Kamala (Satya’s elder brother’s wife) to have a family gundu in her family. Though she is from a rural background, she flatly refused. You have studied more than her and are from an urban background. So I thought you would also not agree. So I did not tell it to you at that time. Now that your own daughter is getting a gundu, I suggest that you, Satya and Pranav also do it. You will look really beautiful and radiant. Of course, if you don’t like to do it I will not press.”
Ramani was highly confused. Her ultra-orthodox m-i-l suggesting a family gundu! She talked to Satya who was highly confused. He could not believe that his orthodox mom would suggest this. He talked to his mom on phone. She again said “Satya, I know that you are confused. But I have lately realised that it is highly auspicious for women also to do gundu in Tirumala. So I am strongly suggesting that you encourage Ramani also to do it this time. Of course, you and Pranav should anyway do it.” Finally Satya said “Ok, amma. I will convince her.” Ramani felt a new surge of energy in her. Why not! she thought. Suddenly she became very happy and told Satya that she would do it happily. She told her m-i-l that she would do it happily. Her m-i-l was very happy and told her to come to Hyderabad from Kurnool at the earliest after coming back from Tirumala and show them her gundu head. She conveyed the same to Maalu the same evening. Maalu also was on cloud nine hearing that her parental family also would have a family gundu.
Thursday evening, Satya and Ramani arrived at Maalu’s residence to accompany them to Tirumala. Their unmarried son, Pranav was in Chennai and would come straight to Tirumala on Friday evening and he also would get a gundu.
That night Ramani was astonished at seeing the enthusiasm of her daughter to get the gundu. She came to know of Pranati’s efforts in convincing her. She and Maalu met Pranati in the latter’s flat. Ramani was very pleased to talk to Pranati in chaste Telugu. Pranati was very happy to know that Ramani, her husband and son would also become baldies.
On Friday morning Maalu, her parents and Rajesh departed towards Tirumala in Rajesh’s Maruti Alto on Friday morning and they reached the designated guest house in Tirupati late in the afternoon. By then Renuka, her husband, son Rakesh, Gayatri and their two kids had reached the same guest house an hour earlier. Even Pranav also had reached. After taking some rest, all went up the hill by foot. The kids were carried by elders in turn. During the journey by foot, Gayatri recounted to Maalu her own experience, four years earlier.
You had Pranati aunty to talk to you and convince you. I had none. You had the knowledge of the impending gundu 5 days before. And now your mom is supporting you and she is also going to tonsure. I was told half an hour before we left Guntur. In your case, nearly two months after marriage. In my case it was just two weeks after marriage. And, it was not a family tonsure. It was the tradition in their house that the new bride should tonsure within three months along with her husband. The family tonsure had been done a year before. So, attagaru had just about 8 inches of hair. I was really scared, sad and what not. The only consoling thing was my parents came along to Tirumala since they are also Guntur based.
Though I had been tonsured as a five year old, I do not remember it. So practically this would be the first time. The thought of becoming a baldy so soon after marriage and to go to school to teach exposing my bald head really scared me. I wept on the shoulders of my mom, telling her that I did not want to do it. Mom was also not happy, but she said “Gayu, these are minor things. It is their tradition and as the d-i-l, it is your responsibility to continue it. Do it happily. Hair will come out. People will understand in the school if you just say Tirumala” and finally convinced me to go along. Seeing my discomfort, m-i-l said that she would also tonsure this time. F-i-l and Rajesh anyway had decided to do gundu earlier itself. So it became an unscheduled family gundu.
But when I saw my m-i-l happily becoming a baldy with her eight inch long hair getting scraped off and when I saw her beautiful bald head after the gundu was completed, I got some courage and I sat down with less reluctance. But when the razor made its first scrape on my forehead with chr, chr sound it was one of the nicest experiences and I lost all inhibitions. So I smiled broadly at the feel and both my bald m-i-l and hairy mom were relieved looking at my happiness. In four minutes I rose up with a very smooth and round gundu head and I felt in heaven, caressing my own smooth head. I could not stop smiling. I hugged my m-i-l and said ‘Thank you’. Looking in the mirror, I agreed with my m-i-l that I looked really beautiful.
Back home, seeing all the five of us smoothly and freshly bald, it drove home the beauty of a family gundu into my head. I was really happy that I became a part of this family gundu. So I told m-i-l that I am looking forward to the next one in four years. She broadly smiled, kissed my gundu head and told me in my ear that it would be good if I conceived in this state. And Rakesh was ready for that. And (giggling uncontrollably) … and (in the ear of Maalu) back home Rakesh’s pecker was extra energised that day and I was also highly eager. And he drilled me twice that night. And Kruti was the result. And now also after reaching Bangalore, I will make him to generate one more kid in me – Kruti was Guntur-made, Kiran was Hyderabad-made in a hotel room and the next one will be Bangalore-made in your house (she giggled again). And do not leave Rajesh after going to Bangalore. In your room you should make your first one while in the other room I will be making my next one (she giggled again).
Maalu could not control her giggle. This Gaayu akka was really naughty, she thought with a smile. Renuka asked her what the giggle was about. The two escaped saying ‘nothing’. Renuka knew the propensity of Gaayu to speak below the belt. So she admonished her “Gaayu, I think I know what you are talking. Keep those things to some other place and time. Not on these sacred hills.” Gaayu said ‘Sorry’ and smiled.
Next morning they all woke up around 5 am, went to Kalyanakatta after morning chores. First the two kids were made bald. The remaining nine were distributed in three queues. Fortunately, Maalu and Ramani were in the same queue and they pushed others to overtake them so that their people in other queues completed their gundu and came to witness theirs, being first timers to shave.
The other nine baldies and Maalu surrounded Ramani to witness her first ever gundu. Her mid back long hair was made into two bunches as usual and it was thoroughly wetted. As the barber started scraping her hair off from the forehead, her nervousness gradually gave way to happiness indicated by the increasing width of her smiling lips. In four minutes she rose up as a baldy for the first time in her adult life. She had been tonsured bald only once when she was two years old. Now she was extremely happy with her gundu head and she hugged her still hairy daughter with tears of joy.
Now, Maalu sat for her gundu with a bright smile. Her bum long hair was made into two bunches as usual and it was thoroughly wetted. Her excitement was gradually rising. As the first scrape happened on her crown, her excitement really shot up and gave a broad smile. The barber continued to scrape off her virgin hair on the left side and in two minutes the left bunch fell to the ground. Then the right one fell in the next minute or so. Then the barber wetted her bald head again and made it smooth by passing the razor once more all over. Malati thanked Pranati profusely in her mind. Else this grand experience would never have been hers. Then she rose up caressing her smooth gundu head.
After bath, darshan and prasad, the families came down to Tirupati by bus, got into their Innova and Maruti Alto and drove towards Bangalore. A bald Pranav accompanied her bald sister to Bangalore in their Alto. He would return to Chennai by night bus on Sunday night. Barring Renuka and Ramani, the remaining seven elders, including Gayatri and Malati, knew good driving. So they rotated the driver seats among the seven, stopping once in a while to exchange passengers and drivers between vehicles and finally a bald Maalu drove the Alto into Bangalore while a bald Gaayu followed her sitting at the wheel of the Innova. Late Saturday night the two vehicles carrying eleven baldies – 4 in Alto and 7 in Innova – landed at Rajesh’s apartment.
(to be continued)