Giving thanks with a personal touch

LOCKS of hair from both young and old devotees cover the floor of the many barber shops set up in and around the Batu Caves temple for Thaipusam.

Thousands of devotees shave their heads bald to fulfil their vows to Lord Muruga.

A devotee from Johor Baru P. Leela, 57, who has been coming to Batu Caves for Thaipusam every year, feels happy to go bald as her prayers were answered.

Leela, who also carried the milk pot as another pledge to Lord Muruga, said her prayers for the well-being of her son were answered.

With her was her four-month-old grandson M. Lukshesh. Like his grandmother, he, too, went bald as his mother G. Jayachitra, 36, had pledged to shave her baby’s head as he was born after five years.

“I didn’t have a child for five years after the first one was born. So I vowed to come here and give my thanks by shaving the baby’s head,” she said.

P. Karuppaye, 39, also had her baby girl, Kavikka Annam, three, shaven bald for the third consecutive year.

This was following prayers and vows that she had made when she was pregnant with her child and had wanted a baby girl.

The operator from Sungai Kapar, Klang, already has three sons.

Buven Gunasekaran, 26, from Shah Alam, has been shaving his head for the last three years during Thaipusam.

“I made this vow when my cousin’s twins were kidnapped three years ago.

“Upon finding them, I vowed to shave my head bald and so I have been doing it for three years now,” said Buven.

“I have never wondered about where the shaven hair of the thousands of devotees would go. For me, I only think of it as shaving and donating it to god as part of my pledge.

“But if it’s going to go for a good cause instead of just being dumped into the river, it would make the cause worthwhile,” he said.

There are also those who feel strongly about where their hair is going to.

Pavithra Kandasamy, 48, said she cared about the environment and therefore she would want to know where her hair was going after being shaved.

“If thrown carelessly, it can pollute the environment. Collecting and disposing of the hair in an environment-friendly way is important for me,” she said.

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