Author: Anu Karthik / Labels: , ,

Jan 29th 2010

Most people who belong to my community have the custom of tonsuring their child's head and offering the hair to a lord of their choice. This is done usually in the 1st or 3rd year of the child's life. Some offer it to their family deity and some offer to Lord Balaji of Thirupathi and many offer it to more than one diety, tonsuring multiple times. 

I think it is fair to say that I belong to a generation that questions old beliefs and superstitions and practices that our older generation does not have the explanation for. However I don't question the belief or practice that I am asked to follow, but often times I have searched for an explanation or a meaning. If something has been followed for eons, there most likely will be a reason is my belief. The trick lies in understanding, accepting and striking a balance if some of those beliefs or practices apply to  our lives today.

We tonsured my son's head and offered his hair to our family deity. While I never objected to doing it and agreed readily, actually seeing him cry throughout the whole process broke my heart. His dad and I are both softies where the most we have allowed him to cry has been a minute at max. So seeing him bawl and forcibly taking his hair off for a purpose he did not yet comprehend was a little unsettling for me. And when you see your child in a way stripped off his beauty, it takes some adjusting to do. 

My understanding before going into this process was just this - Hair is an adornment that beautifies your persona. One that God bestows on you. By offering it to him, you submit yourself to the almighty in all humility and as always submit for him to take control of you and your life. The part that I was finding hard striking a balance was forcing a child to do it when he had no such understanding or reasoning. But the other angle to this is that it is a lesson in humility for the parents too, because when you see your child without his hair (beauty), you again remind yourself that you had no doing in this creation. It is he that made and to him it all belongs.

For something that is such an age old practice, surprisingly there was very less on the net. The following are some links I found relevant to what I was looking for. Some affirm my belief, some provide the reason as conversion and also some others deem it as inauspicious to shave the entire head (as it done only when the father dies).  I think I like my understanding best :)

If you have any other light to spill, please leave a comment and let me know.

Trivia: While looking for answers, I found this info online. One belief is to not do the tonsuring when someone else in the family is pregnant.  This was followed in the past because the whole family would go to a different village to do the tonsure leaving behind the pregnant woman which was not advisable. However, in today's world it does not necessarily hold true, correct? So an instance of where you need to take some things with a grain of salt!

Thatha, I miss you

Author: Anu Karthik / Labels: , ,

Jan 23rd 2010

Thatha, I miss you. It has been over two years that you are no more, but I think of you still as often. Sometimes I can't believe you are no more. Staying so far away I never saw at the end you and so have never found closure. I always have images of you alive and I am happy in a way to have you such in my memory.

For someone who has a very poor memory of her childhood, I have very distinct memories of my times with you. I remember you as a strict grandfather who chose to dote on his granddaughters in secret. I look back in awe how you traced out the abcs in beautiful cursive in the three ruled notebook and had me write over it. I owe my good handwriting to you. I remember our times at the temple every evening when you went to chant your vishnu sahasranamam, the time I lost my silver anklet while playing in the garden and you hid it after finding it and made me search in utter fear for a whole hour before giving it to me. I think back with fond memories how you took us to appu ghar when we visited you, bought me a ball and a doll in delhi not knowing hindi. I remember that we took dance and then singing because you wanted us to. It is a different story I excelled in neither at that time. 

Thatha, I remember with tears when you got the stroke and appa rushed to see you. Seeing you paralyzed was a shock as you have been more active than anyone I know. More than anything I think it killed you and appa that you lost your independence and freedom. It burns a little to think how you spent all those years just lying sometimes staring into space. That sharp mind of yours wasted. I remember hugging you and feeling you suddenly like a child next to me. Thatha, I miss you so much!

When I found out I was expecting Vrushab, next to sharing the news with Karthik and of course appa amma and anitha, I longed to tell you! I regret you never got to see him, to hold him in your arms, to have him feel your stubble, run his baby fingers on your bald head. He would have pulled your glasses surely, I know! I cry sometimes because I was never able to see the pride in your eyes, hear your laughter as I relate his antics to you. You must be watching him from above right?  He reminds me of you in more ways than you know and I think of you so much more. 

I envy all the people I know who have their grandparents alive. But I am at peace for not all know a grandfather like you.

R.I.P. Phone

Author: Anu Karthik / Labels: ,

Jan 17th 2010

TimeSeptember 2008, flashback

K: Anu, this is the best phone. It looks really good. See how it is sleek and thin and will serve you well. Now you take this and I will take the Samsung Glyde. 

This is how Mr. K cheated me into getting this dumb phone (Gleam something it was). This was a little over a year and a half ago.

TimeJan 10th 2010, present

A: Appa, yeah I am just getting dinner and lunch for tomorrow ready, packing our lunch boxes. It is back to work tomorrow.
Apps ( K's dad): What is kuttu doing? Give the phone to him.
V: Baa Baa Bu. Um? Ummmm... Kaput!

[He threw the phone into hot milk that I had left on the counter for cooling for purposes of orakuthufying. So much for that].

Apps ( K's dad): Hello Kuttu, enna panre..blub blub blub....

And I watched in dismay as my phone and what little gleam left it in drowned in the hot milk. I tried to retrieve it and in the process burned my fingers [the milk was hot] remember? 

After drying and leaving in a rice bag for a couple of days, it powers up, oh yeah! But starts calling people on its own and gets voice activated and I hear " Say a command".

I did say somethings you don't want to hear and buried it and my anger at the father and the son who joint handedly left me phoneless :(