Shanti becomes fully mod – Part 3

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Shanti becomes a boy cut lady

Chandrakala’s story – 3

Some 30 years passed after we had graduated out of REC, Trichy. Each of us got two kids, coincidentally a son and a daughter in that order.  My kids – son Shashank and daughter Shanti – were brought up with traditional values and practices.  So, we never cut Shanti’s hair.  She had waist long hair by the time she entered college which she maintained well without so much as trimming it.  Rukku’s family had the five yearly family mottai tradition and so her daughter was also shaved bald several times.  In Sneha’s house all the females – Revathi, Sneha and Kumuda – kept their hair a clipper boy cut and had a triennial Tirumala family gundu.

Shanti studied B.Com. and entered a PSB in clerical grade.  Within two years she passed CAIIB and was appointed as an officer.  She was now 23 and was to go to Mumbai for a three month long training.  By now Sneha was the Technical Director of their company.  Her husband was the Chairman while her 27 year old son, Vishal was the CEO.

When I video called Sneha about Shanti visiting Mumbai for office work, I was surprised to find her hair had grown to her shoulders!  It was more than a year since we had met when she had come to Bangalore for her company’s work.  And I had spoken to her a few times only on voice.  I asked her why she had grown her hair long.

Sneha: Oh, Chandri, Vishal’s attitude has upset me a lot.  For about a year he has stopped taking drinks.  He says he would not get married at all and pursue a highly religious life.  He is planning to quit business also. My efforts to wean him away from such a life have proved futile. All that I could achieve was making him postponing by two years his quitting the business. One year is over.  I am waiting for a miracle to happen to bring him on track.  So I have taken a mannat (vow) of not cutting my hair till he gets married and returns to our way of life.  If I succeed, I will shave it off in Tirupati during one of our triennial family gundu and then return to my boy cut.

I wished her good luck in bringing back her son to family life, and in jest added with a giggle ‘if not for your son’s sake, at least to see you as a baldy again’.  Then I told her of Shanti’s visit to Mumbai for a three month long training.  She would visit her for a few hours on a suitable weekend.  She was very happy about it.

Shanti’s story – 1

As per amma’s instruction I went to her college friend Mrs Sneha Deshpande’s house on a Saturday evening for an overnight stay.  I had met Sneha aunty in her Bangalore visit two years before when she had a short boy cut.  Though I privately had giggled at her hairstyle, she had come across as a nice lady, though a bit dominating type.  Now, she had shoulder long hair while her m-i-l Revathi and daughter Kumuda had boy cuts.  Amma had warned me about their females’ short hair, everyone taking weekly drinks, very scanty home attire, bawdy language, etc.  So their scanty attire and short hair did not shock me.  Even Revathi granny, though past 80, looked very grand in her short boyish grey hair.  Still, I could not help giggling within myself at the near military cut of Kumuda.

However, their love for me, every one of them talking nicely with me, their pious practices in the morning, excellent behaviour and attitude – all floored me.  I developed a deep respect for them, putting behind their unusual haircuts and scanty dresses.  And Vishal looked very handsome and attractive.  I could not help ogling at him once in a while.  We had a photo-op with all the four ladies in nice sarees.  When I left their house Sunday evening, I did so with a heavy heart.  In my three month stay at Mumbai, I visited them two more times and I became close to them as a friend.  I got used to their scanty dresses, short hair and open bawdy talk at home.

Chandrakala’s story – 4

When Shanti returned to Bangalore, she could not stop giggling at the photo of Kumuda who had a boy cut which was almost a military cut.  I chided her but her laughter was understandable since such a short haircut on a girl was new for her.  The next day, Sneha called me on Skype and was speaking excitedly.

Sneha: I strongly propose that you marry off Shanti to Vishal (her son).  I am sure the two would make a fantastic pair.

I was shocked, surprised, irritated all at once.  With a slightly raised voice I said,

Chandri: Sneha, you said that Vishal does not want to get married.  And what is this new drama from you? And how can a traditional girl like Shanti fit in with your mod setup?  Forget it.  Did my girl misbehave with your son or what?  She is too shy and conservative for such things.

Sneha: I know that.  She did not do anything wrong.  Rather, I was impressed with her behaviour and attitude.  And whenever Vishal ogled at Shanti, there was a newfound spark in his eyes, and a big bulge down there, unbecoming of someone on the way to asceticism (she let out a naughty giggle).  I think that if we propose Shanti to him, he will gladly accept.

Chandri (I also giggled at Sneha’s naughty reference): But Sneha, your family is highly mod.  Shanti has been brought up in a traditional mould.  I doubt she will ever adjust to your set up.

Sneha: Oh Chandri, you are still playing the old record you used to play in college.  It will be a cakewalk for me to persuade her to accept these changes happily, once she is convinced that Vishal is her man.

I was dazed.  I knew that whoever becomes Sneha’s d-i-l, that girl’s hair and teetotalism would be doomed.  For one who has ‘converted’ her own big ticket m-i-l, Shanti is small fry.  Yet, Sneha is also religious and believes in horoscope matching like me.  So I suggested matching horoscopes first.  She agreed, we exchanged horoscopes and two days later identical results came at both places – the pair is an excellent match with 30 out of 36 characters matching.

For good or bad, my in-laws had passed away some ten and eight years before.  They would have vetoed giving Shanti to a home where short hair and weekly drinks are the norm, whether horoscopes matched or not.  I also was in the vetoing mood on the same issues, my friendship with Sneha notwithstanding.  But my husband Bhaskar said ‘If the horoscopes are matching so well, what is your problem?  If she is destined to become a mod girl let it be with an otherwise good family’.  I had no other choice but to accept Bhaskar’s line after I failed to convince him otherwise with some more arguments.  I giggled imagining Shanti with mid-thigh shorts, a crop top, a boy cut and a drink in her hand.

When I proposed Vishal’s name to Shanti, her face suddenly became very bright, then red with shyness, looked away, smiled surreptitiously, showed anger outside and said “Has Sneha aunty complained against me or what?”  I was shocked that she was super happy with the proposal, but was doing a drama now of innocence and irritation.  Well, if this is so, it is better I agree happily and to ‘convince’ her, if she continues the drama.

Chandri: No dear, she thought that you were the best girl to be her d-i-l and brought it up.  We exchanged horoscopes and they match well.  That is why I am proposing it to you.  If it is a good match it is better for you to happily accept it.

Shanti:  Sneha aunty is a loving lady, but she is too bossy.  Will she accept me as I am or will she force their way of life on me – short hair, drinks, short dress, etc.?

This was the D-moment.  Having made up my mind to happily accept a mod daughter, I said, “Look, Shanti.  The horoscopes match well.  The boy is good and handsome.  The boy’s mother will be a very good m-i-l. She forces things on people only if she is sure that it is for some good.  So happily accept whatever she tells you as your m-i-l.”

Shanti looked at me with bewildered eyes.  “You mean if she says so, I have to down a peg of wine or beer?” she asked.  I said matter-of-factly said “Yes. You also will be okay like Sneha if you maintain her discipline.”  “And my hair?” she asked with tears in her eyes.  “Cut it off if Sneha says so.”  She was bewildered at my point blank answer and asked for a day’s time.

To my surprise, the next day a shy Shanti came to me and said “Ok, amma.  I will accept the marriage with Vishal.  But I will try to wriggle out of this short hair and drinks business.”  Knowing what Sneha is, I giggled and wished her good luck.  I was happy that Shanti will get a good husband and in-laws but sad that the price would be her teetotalism and beautiful hair.

I conveyed the decision to Sneha. She was superbly happy. Then she revealed what happened at her house in Mumbai when Shanti was there, with the condition that it be kept secret.  She had noticed both Vishal and Shanti ogling at each other surreptitiously several times.  That made her decide that each had developed an instant attraction to the other.  She said “That is why I am pressing for her marriage to my son.”  I was shocked thinking “Oh, my!”

I asked her when she would make Shanti drink and cut off her hair.  She curtly said “Who will be her m-i-l, you or I?  Leave those things to me, Chandri.”  I felt helpless.  Just to lighten my own mood, I said “Now that your wish is fulfilled, why don’t you shave off your head just before the wedding?  It will be nice to see the boy’s mom with a smooth dome”.  She retorted “Yeah, yeah.  It will be even better if the girl’s mom also has a shiny pate when she gives away her daughter!”  We giggled and cut the call.

Two weeks later, Sneha and her family came down to Bangalore for a formal ‘girl seeing’ followed by a low key engagement ceremony.  Kumuda’s marriage had already been fixed in three months’ time and Shanti-Vishal marriage was fixed three months further down.  Shanti applied for and got a Mumbai posting also.  She was to report to the new place in four weeks.  She started learning Marathi from me and before she left for Mumbai, she was fairly good at it.

Shanti’s story – 2

In Mumbai, Sneha aunty had arranged a shared women’s PG with a Pune girl Rohini, known to her.   I and Rohini became friends within a short time, in spite of her taking weekly drinks.  A week after I joined Mumbai branch, Saturday late evening Sneha aunty landed in the PG and declared that she would make me drink wine that day.  Though I tried all that I could to escape from there, the two caught hold of me and with a lot of smiling ‘love’ force fed me with some white wine.  After a few forced sips, I reluctantly decided to complete the cup with the other two giving me company.

But as I felt very good, I dropped my resistance and decided to happily fall in line. I said shyly ‘if it is this good, then I will take it every day’.  Sneha aunty congratulated me on my ‘new path’ and told me the strict regimen of drinking I have to follow – what, how much, when, etc. so as not to fall prey to addiction, at the same time enjoying it.  I was told to take two standard drinks on two alternate weekends in a month and one drink in other weekends and any midweek parties.  I should learn to drink all types – beer, brandy, whiskey, rum, vodka, etc.

I phoned amma telling her that Sneha aunty and my roommate together forced me to drink wine, but now I was happy that she forced me.  She laughed and said “That is like Sneha. Will not take a no. Good luck in your drinks journey, but be in limits, dear.”  So, in a month’s time I was as much a pro in taking drinks responsibly as Rohini, Sneha or Kumuda.  My colleagues were astonished when I drank in office parties also. With Rohini’s coaching, I also became very fluent in speaking Marathi.

All my folks came to Kumuda’s marriage.  Rukku aunty also came with her husband.  Her son had been married a month before and as per their custom they had a family tonsure including the new bride two days before.  So Rukku aunty and her husband were almost freshly bald.  She looked so beautiful with her bald head that it was difficult to take my eyes off it.  This was her fifth family tonsure since her marriage, amma told me.

Kumuda had a cute grown out boy cut for the marriage.  For the reception she had a fresh clipper cut similar to what she had when I visited her house some six months back.  And for the first time my folks watched me, dressed in a saree and a traditional braid with flowers, happily downing a peg of rum on the same table where amma, appa, Shashank, Rukku aunty and her husband took orange juice.  I could not help ogling at the beautiful bald head of Rukku aunty now and then.

Shanti’s story – 3

Three more months passed.  My wedding day at Bangalore came.  Sneha aunty’s hair had grown to her midback.  Kumuda was two months’ pregnant and had a fresh clipper cut.  Rukku aunty came with a fresh crew cut!  And she looked so beautiful even that way!  The marriage and the local reception went off very well.  No question of drinks in our reception.  Two days later, the eleven of us – amma, appa, Shashank, my m-i-l’s in-laws, my in-laws, Vishal, myself, Kumuda and her husband – flew to Mumbai in the same aircraft.  Rites of me entering Vishal’s house as their d-i-l were completed in the evening.  No drinks that day.

Next day morning, around 9 am:

My m-i-l:  Shanti, get ready, we are going to get this cut off (handling my waist long braid).

I knew that this would come someday.  I was hoping to get prepared to play truant.  But this has come all of a sudden and I was totally unprepared!

Shanti: Saasoo (addressing my m-i-l), can we postpone my haircut to a day after honeymoon?

Revathi Granny (with a lot of affection): How could that be possible, dear?  When Vijay and Sneha had their first night, she was in a fresh boy cut.  I want that tradition to continue.  You must also be in boy cut for your first night tomorrow.

My m-i-l (with a mischievous smile): You are right, sasoo (her m-i-l).  Shanti, you should be in boy cut for today’s reception itself.  So, remove all flowers, pins, etc. from your hair, comb it one last time, braid it nicely, wear plain studs in the ears, wear a cotton saree and get ready.

My long hair was doomed today itself.  So I sheepishly did as told.  “At least, can I bring back the braid?” I asked.  “Oh sure.  I am carrying a cover for that.  We will drop it in Tirumala when we are there next month” said Sneha.  My eyes popped out hearing ‘Tirumala’.  But I thought better of probing it further.

Amma sat in the front left seat of the car with Kumuda at the wheel.  M-i-l playfully bundled me into the back seat, encouraged by a playfully smiling granny who was among the onlookers.  M-i-l said “Kumuda, get going.”  Vishal said “Mom, make her hair like Kumuda’s current style, but with a right partition.”  M-i-l said to him with a smile “Sure.”  “Oh, no! Not so short, pleeease…!” I shouted.  With a giggle, m-i-l said “Who asked your opinion, dear? Just shut up and get shorn as I say.”  Everyone, including my mom, giggled.  I could not help but give a sheepish smile.

In the parlour also m-i-l ushered a ‘reluctant’ me into the parlour holding my shoulder.  The other two followed with smiles.  The hairdresser, Maheswari, was waiting for us.  Now there was no point in resisting further.  So I decided to enjoy the experience.  She undid my braid, washed it thoroughly and removed excess moisture by towelling and light blow drying.  Then she put a single braid starting close to occipital bone.  Amma held the braid horizontally.  With a huge set of clippers held reverse, Maheswari severed the braid in two minutes and handed it over to me.  I held my own two feet long braid, smiled, looked at amma and smiled again proudly.  She also smiled proudly.  A triumphant m-i-l put the braid in a cover.

Maheswari asked how the boy cut should be.  Kumuda said that it should be like her current style, but with a right partition.  Her style which was cut in Pune just before she came to Bangalore for my marriage was quite severe – clippered to skin to about 2 inches above the ears with no dip at the back and the top hair one to one and half inches long, long enough to comb neatly into a boyish crop.  And that style really looked good on Kumuda.  I decided to enjoy such a style, which was inevitable.

Maheswari steadied my head, cut the long strands of uneven hair with scissors to some rough boy cut shape.  She combed it neatly with a right partition.  When she ran the clippers on my nape up and up, the sensation I felt was heavenly.  If this is the reason Kumuda, my m-i-l and her m-i-l like clippered haircuts, I will also fall in line happily.  As the buzzing progressed on the back and sides I briefly wondered whether I would look like a clown.  But the sight of hair peeled to skin high up on both the sides made me very happy. Then Maheswari scissored the top hair to a neat combable style with a good transition to the clippered zone.  I was relieved that my haircut looked as attractive as on Kumuda’s head.  Later amma also with a broad smile conceded that her dear daughter looked fantastically beautiful and mod in this style.  Now my mood had sufficiently changed to feel very happy on getting this haircut.  I felt in heaven when my mom and m-i-l caressed affectionately my bald nape and sides.

In the evening reception, with my new clipper haircut, I wore a sleeveless blouse and saree, long jhumka, bindi, and nose stud.  Amma said that I looked like an angel.  My colleagues were surprised at my changed appearance, giggled a lot, yet congratulated me saying I looked beautiful.  While most of the guests took drinks, we did not.  After dinner we were all back home.  The first drinks night was to be held.  We all sat for the drinks party.  While amma, appa and Shashank took apple juice, the remaining eight including granddad, granny took whisky.  Normally, I used to take one or two standard drinks in the past five months.  But this time, the other four ladies (granny, m-i-l, Kumuda and even a mischievously smiling amma) manipulated me saying ‘this much for me, a little more, this time only’ etc. and over one hour, I ended up taking three standard drinks.  I felt a little tipsy with a slur in my talk for the first time since I started drinking.

The next day, m-i-l told me to do morning puja with saree and change over to shorts and crop top after that.  I did so.  Everyone giggled and said that the short dress suits me with my new hairstyle.  I felt very light with the revealing dress.  Since then, like m-i-l and granny, I also wear shorts and crop top at home except during morning puja.

That day night, the first night was held.  So finally, a traditional Bangalore girl had become a mod d-i-l of my amma’s close friend Sneha aunty.  Next day, amma and co left to Bangalore, Kumuda and her husband left to Pune while we two left for Lonavala for a 5 day honeymoon.  Back from honeymoon, Vishal thought the 5 days’ growth on the back and sides was long enough to be mowed to skin again.  So m-i-l and I went to Maheswari who mowed the areas to skin with zero clippers.  The same evening I and Vishal flew to Bangalore for two days’ stay and ‘union’ at my maternal home and to show around my new short hairstyle to friends and relatives.

Back in Mumbai, I reported for duty again with almost bald back and sides and saree.  Everyone had a good giggle at my avatar, but I told them with a bright smile that this style would be there to stay.

A month later, m-i-l told me that we would be going the next day to Tirumala to complete her vow of her head tonsure.  All the six would get full tonsure.  I was astonished!  I had never thought that a day would come when I would become a ‘takli’.  But remembering Rukku aunty’s beautiful bald head, I got some courage that things would be all right.

So granddad, granny, my in-laws, Vishal and myself flew to Tirumala.  Amma, appa and Shashank came from Bangalore and joined us.  I had some half inch hair on my back and sides.  The entire lot of six of us got tonsured bald.  When I saw m-i-l’s wet near mid back hair was shorn off, I thought that it was one of the most beautiful sights and I also should do it in my life time once – getting long hair shaved off in this holy place.  When the barber wetted my hair and ran the razor on my head, the sensation was phenomenal.  When I looked back at my image in the mirror I saw a very beautiful bald married girl in saree.  Amma was also happy to see her dear friend Sneha as a baldy after a long time and myself, her daughter as a baldy for the first time.  She said that I looked beautiful as a ‘takli’ and with a giggle told m-i-l to make me bald once in a few years.  M-i-l said ‘sure’ with a return giggle and a caress on my gundu head.

It is five years since my marriage.  I fully integrated into my in-laws family, language, food, hairstyle, dress, drinks and all.  I resigned the bank job two years ago and is now the finance director of our family business.  I have two kids – a girl and a boy – and carrying the third.  I desire to have four and Vishal and my in-laws have happily agreed.  I keep the same short clipper cut with high clippering as my regular hair style.  The sensation of the clippers is really addictive. I had a Tirumala ‘gundu’ once more, before conceiving my second kid.  I like my mod style immensely.  Like my m-i-l and her m-i-l, I am also now a staunch votary of a weekly drink and clipper boy cut for females of upper class families.  I have assured them that I will do all to continue the ‘tradition’ established by my m-i-l.

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