25 September 2009



oh No, This is not a result of a fight with the barber, nor did he pay less. He is a high cast Brahmin performing death rites at Banaras. The priests shave their heads in  different styles, leaving more hair, many styles there. You would have seen HARE KRISHNA crowd chanting and dancing on the streets with shaven heads and little hair dangling behind.


These guys are performing post death rituals. Buying a ticket to heaven for the departed soul, its quite expensive and these Pundits, priests play with their guilt.
We treated our dad badly, here's some money can you send him to heaven ?
oh yea ! twenty thousand rupees
what ?   i don't have that kind of money
fifteen ?
ok Done. But your father will go to heaven in economy class, no comforts.
How much is first class ?
aaaah !  sorry dad, money is useful here, vokkay send him in economy,  second class. Do you have third class ?

no toilet facility in second class
its ok, Dad was always constipated anyway.


Yeah i know, its been a while
What was i doing ?
Mostly nutting, some work, a little money camed, i traveled, i am fine, 80% fine, i was not well for some time.
nuttin serious, juss cold fever cough, avoiding any medicine traveling with fever, not a good idea,
silly meee....... 
y' know i am not a sensible guy.

why shaved heads  all of a sudden after a long silence ?
i know this post is very rude.

i have been getting lot of mail requesting pictures, shaved heads, roads, distance, temples, places. i'll be writing some information kind of posts and stay away from annoying you
for a while.
i dun knows why so many are interested in shaved heads



Shaving of heads is mostly connected with post death rituals. 
it has to be post death, there can't be a pre death ritual.
oh na na na, pre death ritual is called murder

The chap is holding the ashes to be immersed in the river Ganges thus polluting the river.

Many South Indians go to temples like Tirupati to shave their heads after fulfillment of a vow

'if i get  a green card i'll shave my head at Thirupati temple before i board a flight to the US'

hmmm...  'Not a good idea'  friends advise. 'Go to US report for work, make some money and you can always come back to Thirupati temple to shave your head.

They never forget. They always come back to fulfill their promise to god.
There are a few adjustments with god

Shaving of head is a kind of sacrifice.
is it ?
i dun knows
buttoo women shaving their heads is a huge sacrifice.




Women shave their heads too. The temples collect all the long hair and sell them to wig makers. Tons of dem, in truckloads... i am not joking, Serious.  
What ?  you dun beleeve me ? ....  its bijness, its money, lot of money there. 
 Hoye'.... You better believe me !




Well, this is cambleet head shave. i mean shaving of the beard den the head. 
This is SANGAM
Sangam is meeting, fusion, Three rivers meet here. Ganga Jamuna, Saraswati. the place is Allahabad.
Saraswati is not a mythical river. Traces of this river can be seen in the satellite images. It doesn't exist now.
You see the Sangam of only two rivers, Ganga (Holy Ganges) and Jamuna. It was all water to me.
i couldn't see two rivers meeting.
Where is it ?
here -  said the boatman
i juss believed him.
So, this is a combleet head shave in stages  on a boat, holy boat on two holy rivers.




Ah reddy reddy to perform the ritual, people come here from all over India and abroad and this gorilla, yours truly went there just out of curiosity and to take pittures. i was not disappointed. This is very early in da morning.




people go there for various reasons, This lady is immersing an idol, i dunno why, i asked her she kept quiet, juss gave me a cold stare. This is at six in da morning




All this yappening in da middal of a river, sorry two rivers. This is a holy place.

head shave

Cooling off after a head shave, he is happy, this is not Sangam of Ganga and Jamuna, This is anodder holy river Krishna in Andhra Pradesh

How you been ?
i am sorry about my absence
no particular reason
i'll be around
some more traveling to come
have to get well soon
all my love


Aaarti said...

Hi Raufee

me too been unwell.. orre the cold and tired!!! but feeling better now.. had gone to Ambur for an uncle's 60th bday function, was good fun... :))

Nice post, i always wondered the connection between shaving head and paying respects to the dead.. still dont understand it.. oh well... !!!

U went to Banaras? hows the place? heard its quite dirty and roads are covered in filth.. is that real????

take care~!
dont travel while ill..!! :)
Oh and Belated Ramzan wishes.. remembered dinner last yr at ur place..

Ruth said...

I see shaved heads everywhere. I see coconuts. I see molded paste that looks like heads. Even the sun looks like a shaved head now.

I get so nervous looking at those razors, yikes. But it is also fascinating to watch it, the progress, like peeling a peach.

We have guys here who wear a little tail at the nape, like a mini-mullet.

vishesh said...

lol :P want to visit that place to see all those peoples yand affcourse the three-two rivers(or one river?) :P

Alicia M B Ballard said...

Dearest Raufie

Nice to have you back.
Sorry to hear you were "down" a bit...

Shaved heads?
Interestingly, shaved heads in India do not come across as "aggressive" as shaved heads here; it appears the intent behind the shave comes though.
So, the convergence of rivers... did you "feel" it?
Third one dry - oh my

Keep well my friend, and know you are missed and much loved

Peter said...

I found your blog (too) late (thanks to Ruth) and then you almost stopped! It was worth waiting; this post is wonderful; we learn a lot - with your humourous touch - and the pictures are amazing! If you now feel better, I hope and look forward to more of this and similar things! :-)

The Survivor said...

Hello Rauf sir

Hope you are taking care of your health now :)

Good to see you back after a long break.

The pictures again a beauty capturing moments something that we don't talk about much...

Vagabonde said...

I just found your blog through Ruth of Synchronizing. You have beautiful pictures. Here in the US young men shave their hair as it is the style right now.
I am very interested by the Indian culture. My youngest daughter married a young man whose parents came from Kerala and still have a house there. I shall come back and read more of your posts but I have to keep cleaning after the flood we just had (I live near Atlanta, Georgia.) I show some of the flood pictures on my blog: http://avagabonde.blogspot.com/.

tulipspeaks said...

You get to see mass shaving of heads during Thaipusam in Malaysia. Interested to visit? :P


Mo said...

Priests whatever religon rip people off it seems

Claudia said...

Hello rauf! I loved your post and am glad that you're feeling a bit better.

Four Dinners said...

Howdo old bean. Soz I haven't been around much and well glad you're feeling a bit better. You take good care of yourself mate. Cheers me up and regularly educates me (sorry) no end reading your posts.

Had to leave Preacher behind and start afresh....again....long story

Be well old pal


Claudia said...

Picture no. 7 made me come back...

Vagabonde said...

Thank you for coming to my blog and leaving a comment. I answered you on my blog but since I do not know if you will come back to read it I am copying it here:
“Welcome to my blog Rauf and thank you for writing a comment. Your last line was “Vagabonde?? Hardly!” and I’d like to explain to you what I mean.
The main definition of vagabond in the English language is of a vagrant, a nomad or something like that. When I was searching for a title for my blog I thought first of a French name since I am French. I finally decided on the 2nd and 3rd meaning of the word vagabond (vagabonde is the feminine form.) In French the second meaning of the word is of someone whose life is made of unpredictable facts and does not really submits to all the rules, an eccentric or bohemian type. The 3rd meaning is of someone who goes from subjects to subjects, whose imagination travels and who travels without set ideas. I travel with books, by walking, riding, going in buses, trains, planes, ferries and ship. I also like to talk on a variety of subjects. So the word “vagabond” in French had more meanings that I could use. For example the book by Jack Kerouac titled “Lonesome Traveler” became “Le Vagabond Solitaire” when it was translated into French. Here is another example from a book of Vikram Seth called “Heaven Lake: Travels Through Sinkiang and Tibet”. In it he says in English: “I sometimes seem to myself to wander around the world merely accumulating material for future nostalgia.” And in the French translation of the book the sentence becomes: “J'ai parfois l'impression de vagabonder autour du monde dans le seul but d'accumuler le matériau de futures nostalgies. “
Thank you for giving me an opportunity to explain and actually that is giving me the idea to write a post about all this. Please stop by again.”

Hayden said...

wonderful photos, as always... but oh that last one is just gorgeous! Glad to hear you're feeling better... stay well, Rauf -

Priya said...

Nice to see your post after a long gap. Hope to visit this place soon in future.

rauf said...

whatoo ? you just recovered from cold fever an all and you are off to the hills again. There is some attraction the hills keep calling you.
i did the same, i was sick with cold an fever and this time took longer to recover, did more stupid things, still coughing.

these are two years old pictures Orteedee, i have posted Banaras the holy city and streets of Banaras long back and i forgot to post pictures of the SANGAM. Just spent a few hours in Allahabad.

Me toos, can't unnerstan the connection. Perhaps its like this 'look dad i am shaving my head for you, couldn't do much for you when you were alive'

oh i was sick on Ramzaan Orteedee.
i din go nowheres. just sittin an restin.

rauf said...

oh RUTH, the main reason i have a beard is that i don't like shaving. i hate these razor blades. why torture myself to look civilised.
Even if i had shaved i would just be a monkee.

You should see mass shaving of heads in Thirupati Temple in Andhra Pradesh. Hundereds lines up, men and women. I went once with Bala's older brother Kanan, who got a government job in Doordarshan as a camera man. So to thank gods he wanted to shave his head, his mom insisted. Ramesh came along. He carried his own razor. But it has to be done by the temple head shaver. hundreds of them. Right after the shave and a wash, sandalwood paste is applied on the head. i have pictures of busload of shaven heads but that was long ago on negatives or slides.

rauf said...

Ever been to Thirupati VISHESH
i am not sure about the third river, Saraswati. in a BBC documentary i saw some satellite images showing traces of a third river supposed to be Saraswati

rauf said...

Dearest ALICIA,

Na Na Na Alicia, my country does not have aggressive shaven head thugs like the skin heads in the west. Our thugs are pretty decent, well dressed, well groomed, they are famous, our thugs are very cultured, after all we are in the history books. our thugs have devotees, our thugs have very large following. Our thugs give blessings discourses, wow ! You can't find such holy thugs any where in the world.
our thugs sit in the Parliament. Many members of the parliament have criminal records, no court can touch them.

Hope you are doing fine, must be busy with new exhibitions, you are a celebrity Alicia !

Lots of love and Hugs

rauf said...

Dear PETER, Nothing was very seriously wrong with me, lack of energy, physical, mental is all the reason i can give for my long absence. i created this blog with a purpose and i realised that i have ended up annoying my friends and my readers. i had to sit and think. i didn't want to make this blog a cheese cake, a chocolate or an ice cream for every one to enjoy, i would be losing my direction. Going through this blog comments and debates is not a pleasant experience. i still want to speak my mind. Some blogs like yours are a sheer joy to visit. i really wish my blog was pleasant place. Hurting and annoying my readers is not intentional, i do my best to present well substantiated facts and sometimes my crackpot theories. i want to keep it original. This blog hardly has any literary or artistic content.

Thank you Peter and i would like to thank my readers for bearing with me.

rauf said...

i am fine YOGESH,
Now i seriously believe that i was away on a very long voyage lasting months. Staying away from the computer or the internet for a while can create such a feeling. Actually i was out traveling only for a few days, came back with cold fever cough and i was not in a right frame of mind to write.

Thank you Yogesh, hope you are doing fine.

rauf said...

Thank you VAGABONDE,
Shaving heads is pretty common in India. First head shave is within months of the birth, boy or a girl, Hindus Muslims or Christians, its an Indian coustom. People spend a lot of money to celebrate the event. Its called 'Mundan'. Later on heads are shaved for various reasons, happy or sad. Here i have shown shaving of heads connected with post death rituals. Shaving of heads is pretty common all over the world but women shaving their heads is found only in India, not common in affluent class. Yes we too have the disease of various 'classes' and castes (in other words racism)

It must be a unique experience dealing with your youngest daughter's in laws. Kerala is a small state in south India, neighbouring my state of Tamil Nadu. Language culture food and attitude changes every 100 miles. If you are dealing with a Tamilian it would be a completely different experience altogether.

Thank you so much for explaining different meanings of the word Vagabonde in French, i think i belong to your tribe. i am familiar with masculine and feminine form of different words as my mother tongue is Urdu. Every word has masculine and feminine form.
Tea, coffee is feminine.
Coca Cola, though not an Urdu or an Indian word is masculine.

rauf said...

AMMUDEE, whattoo ? i don even have a passport dee, how can i comming ? ?
You commees heres. Go dembles and dembles and dembles like my other Malaysian friends do. i find Malaysian Indians are more religious than Indian Indians. They come on Sabrimala pilgrimage toos. local guys relax on the rules buttoo Malaysians are very strict on the rules and rituals. Aiyoo ! ORREY bore !
Have you been Tirupati and shaved your yeddu ? i went many times dee with friends, not to shave my yeddu buttoo to guard their chappals while they stand in the queue for darshan, takes hours and hours. i had a darshan toos, once. Surprised ? i was outside and i was inside in a minute, how ? its a long story.
When you commeengs Ammudee ?

rauf said...

MO, you bet, a glorious rip off and people willingly and happily get ripped, weddings, funerals or any ritual, priests are called and they take advantage of the guilt factor. you can pay and wash off your sins by paying to the priests or to the temples. You should see the temple collections, money and gold, Tirupati temple in particular, runs to staggering amounts, you can run a country with that money.

Who pays ?
The guilty.

Here is a funny story of the head priest (Chief Priest, nothing to do with shaved heads) of the same Tirupati temple stealing temple money.


rauf said...

Thank you..

rauf said...

FOUR DINNERS, i tried the manic preacher blog many times and every time 'Permission denied ' was staring at me. Never knew you went back to 4D.

Things change so fast and the world doesn't seem to be a happy place any more. Same here, the only difference is, i have no responsibilities. Things will change again FOUR DINNERS. The world be a happy place once again.
please give my love to Caz and Jax
Take care. Go gentle on things.

rauf said...

Thank you HAYDEN, The last picture is Krishna Nadhi (Holy River Krishna, Krishna is name of a god, 'Hare' Krishna' cult fame) Vijayawada in the state of Andhra, not very far from the place Tirupati where the boy shaved his head

rauf said...

Thank you PRIYA, Hope you are doing fine.

Vagabonde said...

Thank you Rauf for your very witty comment on my blog. I took your advice and took a picture of Cody from below. It was very hard as he constantly moved his head and he was against the sun. I tried many times with my Nikon D40 SRL but finally I used my little Olympus digital, Stylus 830, and I got one shot of him looking straight ahead. I took about 15 shots on it! I added this picture to the end of my post to thank all the commenters. It’s not a great picture, but that’s the best I could do. I have a new respect for photographers who take pictures of animals.

rauf said...

No No No VAGABONDE, i was not trying to teach or advise you. i cooked up the dialogue seeing Cody's funny expressions. i always do that, i have cooked up a story which will appear in my next post where i drag my cat to the court and accuse him of various crimes. i kept postponing due to my laziness now he is no longer a kitten but still playful.

D40 is a great camera, very much in demand here in India, one camera and ten buyers, so the prices have gone up.

Now let me take the liberty of advising you.

With D40, ISO 1600 setting please take Cody's pictures in low light, say soft window light. Cody is a handsome cat but his pictures would be wonderful when his pupils are dilated. i use the same trick for my portraits. Applies humans as well. D40 is very good even at ISO 3200. Please Keep the dial on A (Aperture priority) Set the aperture at 3.5, camera will select the maximum shutter speed. Your house has good soft daylight seeping in. Its a joy to take indoor pictures in your house. Please avoid using camera flash on Cody, pictures will be harsh and it drains the battery. External bounce flash works well if you have a white ceiling. Cody sleeping on the table is very soft and beautiful.
i'll post this on your blog as well.

Vagabonde said...

Thanks again for your photo lesson. I tried what you suggested on my camera but it was raining today and quite dark outside. I place the setting to A then I “think” I pushed the right button but after I clicked it took a long time to click back and in the meantime the cat had moved so the picture was just blurred. I tried again, same thing. I did take 2 pictures of my husband and somehow they came out – quite different from each other but I am not sure what I did.
So I am going to have to spend some time reading the instruction book and take some sample shots. That cannot be now though because we still have work to do about the flooding. But I’ll try and see if I can take a course on line when I get back from my next trip (at the end of the month.) I see you have an email address; if that’s OK with you I could send you the pictures of my husband so you could see what I mean. My camera came with a little book called Guide to SRL Photography so I better start reading it.

freefalling said...

"no toilet facility in second class
its ok, Dad was always constipated anyway"

hahaha - very funny.

Missed you.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Ahhh I loved seeing you say " reddy Freddy"... my dad used to always say that when he was ready to go and wanted to round us all up.. it has been a long time since I heard it.. thanks for the memory...

I never realized that the designs used in the head shaving had special meanings.. I just thought that is how they did it because that is how they felt that day.. meaning is everywhere... thank you rauf!!! You are such a fine teacher!!! take care!!

Peter said...

Re your comments: Don't worry about boring us; your blog is in my mind one of the most interesting on "the market"! :-)

Nautankey said...

ayyo not able to see images at work..will check at home.

imagine a person vowing for shaving if his hair grows well? looks like he may go into a loop

Sewmouse said...

More wonderful photos, Rauf.

Thanks for the visit to my blog, I laughed at the comments you left.

Anonymous said...

your blog is beyond wonderful and I think you are a very wise person.
So sorry that you haven't been well.
Hoping you are feeling better?

Your pictures are splendid as ever.
I love the comments in your comments box above.
Love from an admirer in the US(I have changed to TYPEPAD)

rauf said...

Thank you VAGABONDE, i think the camera went on a time exposure.
Works well with full open aperture, 3.5 or 4 less than 5.6

Please try Hi1 3200 ISO indoors
you may find this useful, its in Pdf format, you can save it and read later


please feel free to write to me and to send pictures vagabonde. i would be happy to guide you with what ever little i know

rauf said...


Yes, we can send our departed ones to heaven and it costs money.
i pay half now and promise to pay half after getting a call from my dead father from heaven.

Have you reached heaven dad ?

i had no seat, the flight was over crowded you stingy idiot, you could have made my flight comfortable and they have landed me in a freezing place

i am following you dad, you taught me to be stingy. Do you see any fire anywhere around dad ?

No, but this is a dump

Thank goodness dad, i paid the priest enough money so that you don't land in a furnace.

Don't pay the balance money to the priest.

oh thats my dad !

i have some serious issues Letty girl. When i am writing mails, or writing a post in the blog or responding to comments, i seriously think that i am talking to my friends personally face to face. What is the right time to write or post comments i wonder, Letty girl would be sleeping now , not nice to wake her up.

Sorry for late response, my putter packed up, had to format and re install everyting.

rauf said...

Oh GWEN, so good to see you back, Well, much to the relief of my friends i was absent toos. But you know Gwen, my readers are very polite.

oh the significance ! there are many, and many different styles of shaving heads. i have a picture of mine with a white porcelain plate behind my head i was trying to create a halo around my head, wanted to become guru, swamiji, had to hold it myself and i dropped it, its not easy to hold a big heavy plate behind your back. it was broken to pieces. i thought of some contraptions to hold the plate and inserting a powerful flash light, what if i get electrocuted ? Instant Nirvana, i dropped the idea.

Have you seen Hare' Krishna people Gwen ? You'll see them in airports mostly, selling books
handing leaflets, chanting dancing. Shaven heads, neat with tiny pony tails knotted up. Serious business, there is money in it Gwen. Do you think people will waste their time for nothing ?

rauf said...

i think you are referring to my post 'Marketing 2' PETER, yes it was controversial and annoying. Somebody has to speak out and to my surprise there are many on the net doing just that, specially on Youtube. Truth is not always pleasant Peter. Well, Truth also comes in many colours and flavours.

rauf said...

HIYEEE NATWARLAL NAUTANK Its a general belief that thicker hair grow after a shave, don't know if its true. Have you heard bets like ' mai apna sar mundwaaloonga ' ? (i'll shave my head) or apni moonch mundwaaloonga ? (Moonch is moustache)
The loser shaves his head or the moustache.

i want to be a terrorist, hijacking flights of sinners bound for hell and land them into heaven.

Poornima said...

Quite a challenging topic.nice blog

rauf said...

Thank you SEW, Have you watched a TV serial 'The Big Bang' ?
its brilliant.

rauf said...

Wisdom and intelligence have caused more harm than good ELIZABETH,
We survive largely due to the fact that there is a majority of not so wise and not so intelligent.

rauf said...

Hi POORNIMA, First time ? Welcome to Daylight Again.
Being here is not a very pleasant experience i'm afraid.

Poornima is full moon (its for my readers Poornima) Its a beautiful name. Your page is open, its beautiful, very pleasant feel.

Challenging, yes, Not everything is negative Poornima. The dear departed ones live in our memories. There are people who take advantage of it. What ever we do for our dear departed doesn't reach them, though we would like to believe it does. Not all beliefs are harmful. i may feel that feeding the poor would make the departed soul rest in peace or acts of charity will ensure a place for them in heaven. You see money spent for some good cause, many hospitals schools, built in their memory. This is a result of belief, right or wrong.

Antarman said...

first time here ! liked the pictures!

rauf said...

Thank you ANTARMAN, welcome to Daylight Again.

sonia a. mascaro said...

Hi Rauf, glad you are posting! Thanks for your nice visiting on my place. I love when I see your name on comments!
This post is just wonderful, with great photos and I always learn a lot about your beautiful and amazing country.
Have a good weekend.

rauf said...

Have a lot to say SONIA, right now i have no energy to write something serious. i have been posting just pictures with little write up.

My work involves staring at the monitor for long periods and it hurts my eyes. i stay away from computer as much as possible.
Hope everything is fine Sonia

Vagabonde said...

I replied to your comment on my blog. Also I showed pictures of the broken roads in my post about the flood – quite a few were hurt. Thanks for coming to visit me again.

Anonymous said...

piracy affects porn but it's still winner during the crunch

Anonymous said...

piracy affects porn but it's still winner during the crunch

PRAKAS said...

I wished to find whether some ritual, law are there in Hindu Scripts regarding to shave head only after the death of parents or not?
But there is no comment regarding this please help to fine this.
Yours Truly,

Prakash Sarkar
Durgapur, West Bengal 713205

Antarman said...

In hindus..yes there is a ritual where head is shaven after the death of father.

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