Venidaan and gundu of Vasanti and Parineeta
Later that night, I spoke to my in-laws about the haircut. I said that in spite of our orthodoxy, we also can cut off our hair in, say, Prayag and still not get any ‘paapam’ for it. I explained to them with references that it is highly auspicious for even ladies with live husbands to cut off their hair in Triveni sangam of Prayagraj as ‘venidaan’ and do full mundan. They were pleasantly surprised by the info. I suggested that we all could go this December, the gents and the two girls could get mundan straightaway, we two married ladies could do ‘venidaan’ and then do mundan. My husband Nag was in some trance hearing my words. I told them all to think it over the next day.
In the next evening dinner, I had my dream come true. F-i-l happily accepted my proposal and m-i-l shyly supported him. In fact, she thanked me for enlightening them on this ‘Prayag mundan’ thing. Being highly religious, how could she miss an opportunity like this? She will definitely do it happily. Nag also fell in line with a smile and started calling me ‘Gundu Pari’ just to tease me. Strangely, the three kids were also eager to go bald. Arrangements were made for the pilgrimage in Dec last week when Christmas holidays would be there. I giggled looking at my m-i-l. She remonstrated “Hey, you only started all this and now you are giggling.” I said “Imagining a bald Head Mistress” and ran away from the scene with a mischievous smile. She became HM of her school in 2012 and had service till 2017.
The next day, a working day, all hell broke loose in the staff room of our school looking at Mangala’s clipper boy cut. Everybody giggled, many laughed, some females caressed her bald nape and a few said she should not have done it. But all in all Mangala enjoyed the leg-pulling. Students also had a good time teasing her a bit albeit with due respect. But all in all, almost all colleagues and most students said that Mangala madam looks ‘super’ with her ‘machine cut’ as most put it. I was feeling on one side proud of her and on the other a bit jealous. ‘Of course, I will manipulate m-i-l to have a boy cut. But shall I also get a ‘machine cut’ after my hair grows some after the December Prayag mundan and enjoy it?’ was my thought.
Came December 21, 2013, Saturday. The seven of us flew to Dehra Dun and from there went to Haridwar. After undertaking the pilgrimage in Haridwar, Rishikesh, Ayodhya, Gaya and Kashi over the next six days we arrived in Prayagraj on 28th Saturday. As per the religious requirements – f-i-l, Nag, Sneha, Badari and Prema were tonsured bald at the first instance and they all had a dip in the Triveni sangam. The kids were very happy with their bald heads. We two married ladies also had a bath in the river and wore new clothes. Then we had the ‘venidaan’ rites, most of which was conducted on the banks. We all went in a small raft to the river confluence and three inches of our braids were cut off by our respective bald husbands. We, the two ladies, did pooja to the severed braid, keeping it in our palm and let go of it in the river with the chanting of sacred hymns. Formal ‘venidaan’ was over. Both m-i-l and I were ecstatic for having completed a very sacred once-only-in-a-lifetime ritual.
Back on the banks, we two got our heads clean shaved happily, witnessed by our bald husbands. Oh! It was so joyful getting the hair scraped off to the roots! Then we again had a dip, wore another set of new clothes, had ‘prasad (sacred lunch)’, went to Varanasi and the next day, 29th Sunday, flew back to Hyderabad. It was some sight for the fellow passengers to see a whole family bald, including two ladies.
Back home, m-i-l hugged me with tears of joy. “Pari, thank you very much. What a joy this sacred mundan gave me! And I feel I look well only. You also look exquisitely beautiful as a baldy. And with no hair, I feel so light, comfortable and happy that I would like to do it often” she said with a joy. I took the opportunity of getting what I wanted. I said “Yes amma. I also feel very good with the bald head. I do not mind doing it often. So why don’t we have a family gundu in Tirumala once in four or five years?” F-i-l said that he thought that it was a good idea and we can do that. M-i-l was very happy to hear it and gleefully said “Yes, henceforth, once in five years we will have a family gundu in Tirumala!” Nag also smiled his acceptance.
(To be continued)