Mottai stories

Mottai stories


  • my friend mottai latha story
  • The Story Is Her Ancestors: On Djaimilia Pereira de Almeida’s “That Hair”
  • First Mottai at Tirupati Temple
  • Mottai Rajendran
  • Sudden Headshave at Tiruthani
  • Mottai Night Land
  • my friend mottai latha story

    I am 25 year old. I have long hair to below my hip. I got married 8 months back. My husband had a vow that if our marriage goes well, he will offer his hair at Tiruthani Murugan temple. So two days back he remembered the vow and informed me and his parents that he wants to go and offer his hair.

    So we both planned to go to the temple to complete the vow. Yesterday afternoon after work we started from Chennai and reached the hill temple by 3 pm. We went to backside of the temple where tonsure hall is there. It was almost empty with only two pilgrims getting their hair tonsured. He went and got the token and half blade. To our surprise, he was assigned to a lady barber for tonsure. He removed his shirt and sat in front of the barber. The lady started pouring water on his head and massaged his hair, moustache and beard nicely as the hair growth was very thick.

    Once done with massaging, she changed the blade in the razor. She bent his head and started shaving from the middle of the head. Slowly, a bald white patch started appearing on his head. Some unknown feeling was aroused in me on seeing the movement of the razor on his head.

    One young lady suddenly entered with a man. I thought the man was going to get tonsured. The barber asked the lady to release her hair and remove the flowers.

    But the lady requested him to shave as it is without removing the braid and flowers. Then the barber started to pour water on her head and massaged nicely till it got fully drenched. After changing the razor he bent her head and started shaving slowly and nicely.

    The girl started to enjoy the head shave with a smiling face without crying. The barber asked her to turn and sit and started shaving on the backside.

    I helped him to clean and touched his bald head. It was damn smooth. He went for bath. In no time, she became completely bald. The barber asked her to get up. But she turned around and asked him to pour water and shave once again. The barber obliged and did the reverse shave after wetting her head again. The girl touched her bald head and felt happy. She paid the barber tips and did namaskaram for him. She came out by rubbing her bald head like anything and went for bath with a smiling face.

    As soon as my husband came out from bath I told him that I want to shave my hair. It is difficult to maintain this much long hair. Then we again went inside the tonsure hall and collected the token and blade for the tonsure.

    I was assigned to a male barber. I went and sat in front of the barber. As my hair was already loose with only a hair clip, he removed it and started pouring water nicely and massaged. He was very rough in massaging my hair. He poured more and more water as my hair was thick. My salwar got fully drenched. After massaging he took rubber band to put plaits. But I asked him to shave the loose hair. He told ok. He changed the blade in the razor and asked me to bend my head and pray to God.

    I obliged and bent my head by telling muruganukku arogara. He kept the razor on my head and started shaving. The scrch scrhc sound of the razor brought an unknown feeling in me. Slowly my hair started falling in my lap. He turned my head to the right and shaved on my left side and repeated the same on the right side.

    Then he asked me to turn and shaved the remaining hair on my back side. My husband was standing and smiling at me. I felt very shy. The barber told mottai headshave is complete and to get up. I touched my head and felt it was rough. I asked him to shave once again.

    He poured water and did the reverse shave. Once I felt it was smooth I got up by dusting away the hair on my lap and my dress. My husband helped me to dust away the hair on me and enjoyed touching my smooth shiny head. Then I headed for bath. I wanted to see my bald head in mirror. But there was no mirror. I took bath and changed into a pattu saree. When I came out I saw my husband was getting sandal-paste applied on his head by an old lady who was applying chandanam for devotees who shave their heads near the tonsure hall.

    She also put pattai with the wet vibuthi. As soon as my husband saw me he asked whether we can go to the temple. I told him even I want to apply sandal-paste on my head. The old lady asked me to sit down and started to apply the sandal-paste on my head. The chillness of the sandal brought a new feeling in me. There was a mirror on the side of her stand. Immediately I took it and saw myself in it. My husband made fun of me. I applied kungumam on my shaved forehead area.

    Then we went to temple and had a very good darsanam of Lord Murugan and returned to Chennai. My neighbours got shocked by seeing my freshly shaved head with sandal paste and questioned me. I told them that we both had a vow before marriage. So we shaved our head.

    They praised my bald head and my boldness.

    The Story Is Her Ancestors: On Djaimilia Pereira de Almeida’s “That Hair”

    In pictures, my hair just after birth looks sleek and thick and lustrous. It grew in differently afterward: wild and curly and frizzy and difficult. When I wonder about my other self, the self that might have grown up in India, instead of America, I imagine her life might have been different without that mottai, with manageable, straight hair. Likely, she would have been just one self: a Tamil self. If she had imagined or constructed another self, it likely would have been a British self; due to colonialism, the relationship between Indian and British is a clearer, more binary relationship of power than is the relationship between Indian and American.

    Perhaps all of us with artistic temperaments who immigrate as small children and grow up without a sense of belonging develop a certain density to our questions about our other selves, our imagined selves who are formed while belonging somewhere, selves who are not rendered perpetually two-faced as Janus, divided. What other life might we have led, who else might we have been, had we only belonged someplace?

    Mila, the narrator of the novel, arrives in Portugal from Luanda, the capital of Angola, when she is three years old. Her mother is Angolan; her father is Portuguese. These personal details are shared between the character Mila and the author Pereira de Almeida.

    Although it had been soft and straight at birth, her hair is reborn dry and coiled — or most of it is, since at her nape, it continues to grow straight. The recounting of haircuts generates a bass line to the book, a braided rhythmic pulse that tells the story of several generations.

    Yet, the haircuts are also rendered in beautifully specific and tangible and intensely intimate terms. On another occasion, two fake blondes at the salon wage war against her split ends. She cannot remember this visit, but instead recalls what must have happened, how she imagines it must have happened based on other events. After every visit to a salon, her hairdos are disfigured by humidity. Her father attends nursing school in Angola, surviving his studies on bananas and peanuts.

    She pictures him studying half-naked in a hut, knowing this to be a false imagining, since he actually studied in a house in Luanda, where everyone ate margarine from a giant can. Her grandfather Castro comes to Portugal with his son in , intending to seek treatment at a hospital in Lisbon for that son. They stay at a boardinghouse near the hospital for 10 years before sending for his wife and other children in Angola.

    A more traditional story might set forth why they stayed there 10 years before bringing the rest of the family over; instead, this fact is almost a footnote to pages describing the boardinghouse, its smell, and its other inhabitants. Billed as a tragicomedy, the book might best be interpreted as an essayistic novel, or perhaps as an essay that uses a fictional biography to interrogate self.

    Mila wakes up with her hair in a mane, even on the mornings after visiting the hair salon; her hair is not susceptible, in the long term, to being perfectly controlled.

    As she puts it, her hair is the story. And although it provides harmonic continuity, hair proves to be less the subject of the book than a quasi-McGuffin, a trigger for forward movement, and sideways movement, a unifying feature of structure, if not plot.

    The language itself is complicated, discursive, taking the form of elliptical sentences that loop in on themselves, full of precise, but unusual syntax.

    The form of these sentences, and the form of the work as a whole, mirrors the content. Where can we go when we are not quite of a particular place, or perhaps more accurately, when we are of two places at once, when home, or belonging, is a perpetual question? The other self comes to the fore. I thought that she would be perceived as a stock black woman. I realize now, however, that only for me is the person I never was a caricature. There is, possibly, a component of internalized racism.

    A reader has the sense that the truth, whatever that is, and to the extent there is such a thing, is incapable of being shaped enough to provide the usual pleasures of fiction: shape, knowledge of characters, drama, foreground, background, closure. Rather, this is a many-angled exploration of self and history, an exploration in which every potential path is pursued with equal intensity.

    Its multiplicity presents readers with a challenge; its multiplicity feels like a distorting mirror. Perhaps form should follow meaning. A hard, clear meaning will have the most simple, defined shape; a more ambiguous meaning will assume a fuzzier or more complex aesthetic shape.

    That Hair falls on the more fuzzy, complex end of this spectrum. The question of the other self is, by its very nature, an unanswerable one, a problem with no solution. So much happens in a life that is merely contingent, unpredictable, open-ended, and arbitrary. As we live, we remember only that which allows us to keep moving, and we lose the embodied constraints the other self would have faced in a different country.

    We construct according to the existing moment. We are only ever capable of assessing this life from within the perspective of the self we are in this moment. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.

    There was not even single lady in line for tonsuring, only males and moms carrying their babies. There were only four barbers so they allowed only four people at a time. The line was moving slowly but my panicking was developing super fast.

    The last person before me went in and gate keeper asked me to wait for next turn. Behind me was all small toddlers. My moment came and gate keeper lady allowed me to enter the hall and asked me wet my hair and go to the barber.

    I removed the flower, loosened the plait and drenched my hair and went to barber. I told him gundu tonsure. He asked to sit properly. The final moment came, my heart was pounding and there was no turn back. Within 5 minutes my hair will be gone and will be bald. Barber poured a mug of warm water and massaged for even wetting. He asked me the new blade and my hubby gave the blade to him. I put a full stop for my mind boggling and told myself yes u can and have to keep myself calm.

    First Mottai at Tirupati Temple

    Barber parted my hair into two portions from forehead to back and secured the two portions separately with two bands. He put the new blade in knife and asked me to bend down fully. He pulled my head down and in middle of crown he scrapped a little hair and put down in front of me. Ohh god I freeze. He started right side of head to scrap srrrukkk, sruukkk from back and came to front and continued scrapping till fore head.

    One bunch of hair felled on my right side on floor. Now I was sitting one side bald and other side with hair. I was seeing the staring looks of ladies. My hubby was smiling at me. The barber asked the lady to release her hair and remove the flowers. But the lady requested him to shave as it is without removing the braid and flowers. Then the barber started to pour water on her head and massaged nicely till it got fully drenched. After changing the razor he bent her head and started shaving slowly and nicely.

    The girl started to enjoy the head shave with a smiling face without crying. The barber asked her to turn and sit and started shaving on the backside.

    Mottai Rajendran

    I helped him to clean and touched his bald head. It was damn smooth. He went for bath. In no time, she became completely bald. The barber asked her to get up. But she turned around and asked him to pour water and shave once again. The barber obliged and did the reverse shave after wetting her head again. The girl touched her bald head and felt happy.

    Sudden Headshave at Tiruthani

    She paid the barber tips and did namaskaram for him. She came out by rubbing her bald head like anything and went for bath with a smiling face. As soon as my husband came out from bath I told him that I want to shave my hair.

    It is difficult to maintain this much long hair. Then we again went inside the tonsure hall and collected the token and blade for the tonsure.

    Mottai Night Land

    I was assigned to a male barber. I went and sat in front of the barber. As my hair was already loose with only a hair clip, he removed it and started pouring water nicely and massaged. He was very rough in massaging my hair. He poured more and more water as my hair was thick. My salwar got fully drenched.

    After massaging he took rubber band to put plaits. But I asked him to shave the loose hair. He told ok. He changed the blade in the razor and asked me to bend my head and pray to God. I obliged and bent my head by telling muruganukku arogara. He kept the razor on my head and started shaving. The scrch scrhc sound of the razor brought an unknown feeling in me. Slowly my hair started falling in my lap. He turned my head to the right and shaved on my left side and repeated the same on the right side.

    Then he asked me to turn and shaved the remaining hair on my back side. My husband was standing and smiling at me. I felt very shy. The barber told mottai headshave is complete and to get up. I touched my head and felt it was rough. I asked him to shave once again.


    thoughts on “Mottai stories

    1. It is a pity, that now I can not express - it is very occupied. I will return - I will necessarily express the opinion.

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