Pressure on Kapila to get a boy cut
Kapila’s Story – 1
I, my husband Suresh and my mother-in-law were standing in the portico of our house chatting. At that time a braided middle aged lady and a boy cut younger one, may be around 30 and both saree clad passed by. The back and sides of the boy cut lady’s head were closely clippered and the top was like a boy’s style, combed neatly with a side part.
Suresh’s eyes were fixed on her head till she vanished out of sight. I was irritated. When a young and beautiful wife with a beautiful waist long braid is standing by the side, how dare he ogle at somebody else, that too a boy cut lady! My m-i-l observed my irritation and smiled, which irritated me further. I asked my hubby in a low and angry voice “Why the hell are you ogling at her?”
Suresh calmly replied “Why are you jealous dear? See, how cute her hairdo is! The boy cut really looks good on her, isn’t it?”
My m-i-l added “Yes, she really looks good with a boy cut and a saree.” I got irritated further, but with effort I concealed it.
It was under 2 months since my marriage and I did not want to jeopardise my relations with my m-i-l which had till now developed very well. Before marriage, the major condition from Suresh was that we should live with his parents like any traditional Indian family, adjust with them and be a good daughter-in-law. I had happily nodded yes.
To my luck, my in-laws were nice people. My m-i-l was very good to me and in the short period of two months, I had become close to her to the extent of each pulling the other’s legs and have a good laugh. But now her remarks that a boy cut lady in saree looked good unnerved me. Did she hint that I should cut my hair short like that boy cut lady?
In the night at the dinner table, Suresh reopened the topic. He said with a mischievous smile “Kapila, why don’t you consider getting a boy cut like that lady we saw today? You have seen my boy cut sis Radha, isn’t it? You would look fantastic. And you would save a lot of time preparing to go to college.” I was a Maths lecturer in a nearby PU college for the past two years. I was shocked at his suggestion. I looked at my m-i-l questioningly and asked her “Atte, why does your son speak non-sense like this?”
M-i-l said “I know that you are upset that he was ogling at her. That was wrong. But he does not have any bad intentions. But he is right in saying that the girl looked really nice with that short hair and saree, don’t you think so? Even you would look fantastic with a boy cut, dear.”
I was no doubt upset that Suresh ogled at her. But I had to admit that she looked very beautiful in that boy cut style and saree. But I was shocked by m-i-l’s remark and said in a concerned voice “Atte, like your son do you also want me to get a boy cut?” I frantically looked at my f-i-l and asked “Maava, don’t I look good with my long braid?”
My f-i-l is a gentleman and father figure. He said with a smile “Kapila, don’t get upset. You certainly look extremely good with your long braid, who said no? But, I am sure that you would look equally beautiful with a boy cut also, dear.” Oh no! He was hitting me with a hammer rolled in layers of wool. I expected him to admonish his wife and son. Rather, he supported their contention in camouflaged words that I should get a boy cut as desired by Suresh.
“But maava, cutting females’ hair, that too married ones, is taboo in our culture, isn’t it? Then how can I cut my hair?” I was hoping at least this would make him to put a veto on his son’s designs on my beautiful hair. But a rude shock awaited me.
F-i-l said “It was a taboo but not now, certainly not in our house. I will also be very happy if my dear daughter-in-law becomes a boy cut girl. It was at my and Subhadra’s insistence (Subhadra is my m-i-l’s name) that Radha (Suresh’s elder sister, now married and settled in Mumbai) cut her hair short to a boy cut when she was in PUC. Of course, later she was very happy with it and thanked us both. She grew it long for her marriage. A month after her marriage she happily returned to a boy cut. I have been telling Subhadra also that she should keep a boy cut but she is postponing on one pretext or the other.”
I had seen Radha during my marriage. It is true that she looked superb with her boy cut, saree, nose stud, bindi and all. But the slim hope of at least my f-i-l coming to my hair’s rescue was dashed. Now it was three against one. If these guys rope in Radha also – after all she is the daughter of the house and elder to Suresh and her opinion will have a lot of weight – then it would be four against one.
I asked Suresh, almost tearfully “Are you then compelling me to get my hair cut?” For all his mischievousness, Suresh is a nice man and he said “No, Kapila. None of us is compelling you to cut your hair. We are suggesting strongly that if you get a boy cut, it will be very nice”. Even my m-i-l also caressed my head and consoled me that there was no compulsion, but it will be very nice if I sport a boy cut for some time. I did not pursue the subject further that day.
But that night, as I reminisced over the day’s happenings, I became sure that all the three – f-i-l, m-i-l and Suresh wanted me to be in boy cut. First my mom was behind me to get my hair cut short and now my in-laws were also on her side. If ever my m-i-l came to know of my mom’s desire to see me in boy cut hair she would push me into a salon or barbershop the first thing. I hoped that it would never happen.
Next day evening when I came back from college, my mom had come and I sensed that my previous night’s fears might come true. After some talk and refreshments, I told her to keep talking with my m-i-l, that I had some work outside and would be back in about half an hour.