. the few, the proud, the bald
Vidushi Seneviratne and Thiruni Kelegama
It takes only five to ten minutes, and the end result is
that more and more people are stepping out of the barbershops with
Bald is beautiful
"I had lovely long locks up to my back,"
says Roshan, who works in the media section at JWT. "And it
was then that I decided to take the drastic step, and shave all
it all off. I know it was a radical move, however, it was pretty
neat. Now I find it very easy to be spotted, as my head has a tendency
He also added
that he didn't do it because he wanted to make a fashion statement,
and that now he can take as many showers a day as he wants to without
having to worry about getting a cold, or best of all, having to
bother with combing his hair.
a former member of the bald circle, who also works at JWT, was unfortunately
forced to grow his hair quite recently "because I met with
a couple of accidents recently, so it would be safe to say that
I was forced to grow it!"
a haircut, which serves to hide his scars, Dannelle, said that he
shaved it quite some time ago, "precisely in 2001, July."
Why did he
do it then, we had to ask. "Because I thought it would be comfortable,
and I can wash my head when I wash my face every morning. And you
do not have to use a comb at all, and that is such a big relief."
heads has its own history. In Egypt, many centuries before Christ,
barbers were prosperous and highly respected. The ancient monuments
and papyrus show that the Egyptians shaved their beards and their
heads. The Egyptian priests even went so far as to shave the entire
body every third day. At this time the barbers carried their tools
in open-mouthed baskets and their razors were shaped like small
hatchets and had curved handles. The Bible tells us that when Joseph
was summoned to appear before Pharaoh, a barber was sent for to
shave Joseph, so that a unkempt face would not offend Pharaoh's
In Egypt, around
1500 B.C. in Egypt a shaved head was considered the ultimate in
feminine beauty. Egyptian women removed each and every hair from
their heads with special gold tweezers and polished their scalps
to a high sheen with buffing cloths
head was often seen as a sign of holiness or reclusiveness such
as the shaved heads of Buddhist monks and nuns and the tonsures
of monks in the Christian tradition.
shaving ones head has been done for many different causes.
Some for obtaining that 'cool' look, some because they say that
it is easy to manage, and some because of their hair loss
however, there is also this case of doing it for a friend. In the
States, in a particular college, a young undergraduate had been
diagnosed for cancer. As he started undergoing chemotherapy, he
started losing his hair. Therefore his friends had all urged him
to shave his head, and they had done the same too
he would not be seen as the 'boy with cancer'.
another person believes shaving is the best way to go had this to
say. "I had a shaved head for about four years, but unfortunately
I had to grow my hair again, as I cannot go to work like this. But
if I had a choice, I would definitely shave it all over again."
When asked about the plus points of having a shaved head, he had
this to say
"It is very comfortable and was very easy
shaving one's head is not a new thing. "It was first done in
Sri Lanka long time ago by a film actor named Sampath Sri Nandalochana,"
says Mr. Reggie Candappa, who has always admitted that bald is better.
"I treat my head like my face
I shave it every morning,
and even apply aftershave lotion. If I do not shave it every day,
I have a days growth on my head, and I have become used to
it." And shaving it made managing my hair very easy, he added.
"I only have to make sure that it is shaved, and that there
is no hassle about having to do that. I do not even have to usue
all sorts of products to maintain it
. And I also think that
if I had any hair, I would look much older!" When did he first
shave his head, we had to ask. "I did it about ten years ago,
and when my grandchildren saw it, they said, "Seeya, you look
so cool!" he reminisces. "And that was it. The way they
said it made me never want to grow my hair again. So, I have had
a shaved head ever since."
can also be a family thing
. as in the cases of Ashan, Rajiv,
Sanjeev, and Prashan. "We all played rugger," explains
Ashan, "and we had very short hair back then.
never got down to growing it again, as it has proved to be very
comfortabl e, and easy to manage too." "I shave it a couple
of times a week," says Ashan smiling when asked about how he
takes care of it.
With all these
people with shaved heads around, one does tend to wonder what happened
to the long accepted fact that a full head of hair is always the
from the number of people who thought that this 'was the way to
go', we were convinced that in the end that, yes, bald is beautiful.
a seething mass of humanity heed an inner call
Walking.." in The Sunday Times revived memories of a close
friend and mentor of mine, known to all as German Swami, Gauribala..
Before his demise in Jaffna, in 1984, he was one who did the fire
walking at Kataragama, annually during the July Festival, for over
10 years, walking bare-foot from the North, along the coast-line,
via Batticaloa, Pottuvil, and the Yala Sanctuary to this Southern
- with whom I was associated very closely as a member of a group
of six, including the one-time Governor-General's, son, Soulbury,
better known in Kataragama and elsewhere as Soulbury Swami, alias
Annaikutty and Sandasawami, two Australians, a Tamil, Swami Gauribala
and myself - often told us that the walkaton pilgrimage to this
place corresponded to the Biblical return of the 'Prodigal Son'
to his Father's Home, after his wanderings in the temporal world,
sans anyone organising the journey back or telling him to do so.
was expected to sprout from within each individual's 'heart' impelled
by 'an inner spiritual call' and the Journey was analogically parallel
to the return from the periphery of mortal Samsara to the Centre
of Spirituality in one's own self. Kataragama was said to symbolically
signify this in a spatio-temporal-experiential manner. It was a
ritual of self-abnegation and mortification, in a sort of Pooja
as an offering of one's karmically earned, mortal self to the Unknown.German
Swami performed this many times in his lifetime, and when he started
on this pilgrimage, others, who had a similar 'inner call' joined
him (or he joined them) on the way and their numbers grew, until
the whole show became one seething mass of pilgrims, carrying packs
on heads and shoulders, by the time the concourse reached Kataragama
before the festival-partaking alms doled out to them, en- route
by householders by way of sustenance.
the sacred destination, some performed other modes of Penance like
rolling half-naked on the scorching sand, skewing their tongues
and cheeks with spikes and dangling, roped on hoists etc. German
Swami told us that all such acts are possible owing to a dramatic
transformation of our normal, familiar, mind-consciousness to a
supra-mental state, triggered by intense faith and devotion, similar
to the states attained by Saints in ancient times when they were
tortured or burnt at the stake. In this state of self- hypnosis
the conventional consciousness within Time/Space/Experience reaches
a Bindu-one-Pointedness and other forms of Awareness (or non-awareness)
takes over, very much like one under an anaesthetic. This is where,
perhaps, the activation and attributes of the Pineal gland comes
- Sam Wickremasinghe