Parineeta and Vasanti get boy cuts
Then I said “Amma, you said that you feel so light, comfortable and happy with no hair. I suggest that after you grow some hair, you also get a nice clipper boy cut like Malini aunty. It will look really majestic on you.” She smiled and looked at her husband. F-i-l said “These are modern times. If you are comfortable, I am also okay with it.” M-i-l’s face brightened with happiness. At that time Nag said “No amma, I do not agree.” A serious faced amma said “Why not Nag? Don’t you think that I will look nice in that style? Did you not see how great Malini looks with a nice boy cut?” Nag replied “Yes, amma. She looks really great. But then, her d-i-l Mangala also looks great with ‘her’ boy cut. So, if Pari also keeps a boy cut then only your boy cut will have value” and mischievously smiled. M-i-l said with a giggle “Oh, is that your problem? I will see to it that your wife also keeps a nice boy cut. Ok?” It was more of a decision than an opinion. Oh! Where have we come to? No more long hair for me? “Pari, you heard what Nag said. So, no more long hair or braid for you or for me for that matter. Come April, I and you will have nice clipper boy cuts, not in parlour but in barbershop.”
Oh, I had been cornered but happily so. When both my m-i-l and my husband like me in boy cut, why not accept it and enjoy it? But why barbershop? I would feel uncomfortable there, I said. “No, Pari. I do not like a huge amount of the order of 300 or 400 rupees for each of us spent every month for a mere haircut in a parlour. We can do it for around 50 or 60 rupees each. Anyway, let April come. By the way, Pari, now that Sneha is around 11 years and bald, I suggest that you keep her head nicely and closely shaved with razor for the next six months, say twice a week. It will make her scalp skin healthy and her hair very good when allowed to grow.” Sneha happily agreed to remain a baldy for six months. But taking her to barbershop twice a week would be very costly. I thought over it and said that I would shave her head myself. Everybody happily agreed but m-i-l was apprehensive that I may injure her head. I said that I would do it carefully and slowly and over time I would learn. Finally both she and Sneha agreed.
The neighbourhood and the regular vendors had a benign laugh at our bald heads. By Jan 1st, I had bought a straight razor with disposable blade. On that day, I made Sneha sit in front of me cross legged like in Tirumala, wetted her head and with careful strokes shaved her four day growth slowly. It took almost half an hour and ten times of wetting her head. I was happy that the final result was a smooth domed Sneha without any nick or cut. Spending so much time on a working day would be a no-no. So we decided that I would shave her every Sunday in Jan.
On Jan 2nd, when schools reopened, both I and m-i-l had tough times in wading through friendly hecklers in our respective schools but it quickly became normal since women coming with religious tonsure is easily accepted. And as for Sneha, by 25th Jan, I was very comfortable with shaving her head and my total time had come down to around 10 minutes. So from that week onwards, I shaved Sneha’s head every Sunday and Wednesday mornings. By March end, I could shave her head in about 5 minutes. I had become an expert ‘barber’ (only for shaving heads)! The surprising thing was that Sneha liked the repeat gundu very much. Each time, I shaved her head smooth, she rose up with glee and happily caressing her smooth dome.
Our school holidays started in second week of April. Since I am working in a private school, I had no election duty. But m-i-l being the HM of a government school, she was deputed as a presiding officer in a polling booth. We postponed our boy cut plans till she completed her polling duties on 1st May. So on Sunday 4th May, both of us went together to a barbershop, ignored silly talks from the males around and queued up for our haircuts. Both of us had around 3 inches of hair by then, covering our ears and looking like unkempt short bob. Both of us were clad in sarees.
First it was m-i-l in the chair after a wait of about 45 minutes. “Madam, what do you want?” the barber asked. I had carried the photos of Malini aunty and Mangala with fresh clipper boy cuts. I showed that of Malini aunty to him saying “Give her a cut like this. Machine on back and sides close to skin. Combable on top”. He smiled, put a cloth on her torso, tied it at the back and combed the available hair with a left side parting. He took electric clippers, bent her head down and started buzzing away the hair on her nape to the occipital bone level. I could observe a happy smile on the bent head of my m-i-l. The barber buzzed the nape hair with no. 2 guard which he repeated on both left and right sides. On the sides the hair was cut to about one and half inch above the top of the ear. Then he wetted the top hair and with comb and scissors cut her hair neatly to a boy cut. All along m-i-l was very happy. Next, the barber took the clippers, removed the guard and made the bottom half of the already clippered areas on the back and sides bald to skin and then blended the different regions nicely with clipper and comb. The result was a very beautiful clipper boy cut for my m-i-l done in about 15 minutes.
Next I sat and told him to give me a similar cut. The first buzzing on my nape with the clippers sent my senses to a peak. Oh! What a nice sensation! And when he used zero clippers on my back and sides, it was another nice experience. In about 15 minutes I also became a ‘boy cut lady’. And I liked my new avatar very much and decided to get it done about once in four or five weeks. The same day evening we visited Malini aunty and Mangala in their house showing our boy cuts. That morning those two also had gotten their fresh boy cuts. Oh, so nice it was to see – two elderly ladies and two beautiful younger ladies, all in fresh and nice clipper boy cuts, sarees, nose studs and bindis – a veritable and beautiful fusion of western short hair and Indian attire. When schools reopened in end May, we two appeared in our respective schools with slightly grown out boy cuts. It was a new avatar for all and giggles flowed copiously. But when we went there early June with fresh cuts, the giggles were much louder. But over time, everybody got used to our boy cut hair. From then on, I and my m-i-l had a monthly boy cut in the barbershop with clippers.
I completed my six month biweekly gundu on Sneha’s head in late June. Afterwards, she was allowed to grow her hair long. And she did get very good, dense and long hair in the next five years. Prema was allowed to grow long hair from Jan itself. Finally, my dream of seeing my beautiful m-i-l as a baldy and as a boy cut lady had been happily realised.
(To be continued)