Thursday, April 16, 2009

Har-ki-Pauri: mundans galore

One thing about the whole baisakhi-on-the-ghats-phenomenon, the part that kept the Amazing M and I engrossed, is that there were a lot of sub-plots in the script..

one of those was the Mundan ceremony. the first time a child's hair is cut is auspicious, and a time for celebration. It is normally shaved right off, and like all family celebrations, everyone other than the chief player has a whale of a time. What better time than the festive occasion of Baisakhi to shave your child's locks off?

and so it was that on the banks of Har-ki-Pauri, there were a lot of groups of a barber, a child, and it's parents intent on a haricut. And there was also a priest who supervised all the groups and after the shaving, painted a swastika with kumkum on the child's forehead.

M and I watched one such group. Incidentally, the photo here, and some of those that will follow are hers- she tends to take portraits of strangers with far more flair and gumption than I can muster.

Anyway, about the child being shaved. While the process was going on, the child was quiet and engrossed in the floor. We could imagine it thinking," hmm..so there is something scraping across my head, and it seems that something is going on around me. But all that can wait. Right now, this floor is really interesting."

Anyway after the process was over, the parents, priest and barber were all standing and congratulating each other. The child was standing and rubbing its head with a puzzled air."it feels different..something is definitely different.."

The last part of the process is rubbing dahi on the child's head. I think this relieves the itching and acts as a conditioner. But it had a most interesting effect on this child. It put springs on its feet. The shock of the cold was a little too much, and boingboingboingggg it went about the ghats.
Finally, it sat down and began wailing.. All the adults, us nalaayak ones, were laughing their heads off.

1 comment:

nadi said...

i like the way it's about hair being shaved off and

ends with the adults 'laughing their HEADS off.