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A little off the top for luck

Like father, like son. It’s been that way for generations in the Jain family, where a baby boy’s first haircut is an auspicious and joyous occasion.

Like father, like son. It’s been that way for generations in the Jain family, where a baby boy’s first haircut is an auspicious and joyous occasion.

And 39 years after Atul Jain had his long, black curly locks shorn and his head shaved in a 3,000-year-old Hindu ceremony, dozens of relatives and friends gathered to see his son Javeen’s ritual tonsuring. The Toronto Star was there for the father’s ceremony in 1970 and yesterday for the tiny tot’s mundan sanskar.

“In this ceremony, it’s believed that when a baby boy’s head is shaved within the first year, he will be blessed with a long, prosperous and fulfilling life,” said a beaming Jain before Hindu priest Dhirendra Tripathi began the religious ceremony.

Conducted in Sanskrit in the Jain’s Whitby home, it included prayers and blessings for the nine-month-old boy, as well as offerings of flower petals to the planets. Javeen’s father and mother, Kelvinder, participated along with his paternal grandparents, Swaran Lata and Vinod Chand Jain. His sisters, Jasleen, five, and Hrithika, four, watched proceedings closely.

At the time of their father’s mundan there were less than 50 South Asian families in Toronto.

“When we arrived 39 years ago, we knew almost everyone in the community,” said Deepti Neto, a Jain cousin. Today, there are 1.26 million South Asians in the Greater Toronto Area.

During yesterday’s ritual, all eyes were on longtime family friend and barber Rocco Crocitto, who was cool as a cucumber as he gave the tot a buzz cut with his clippers. Javeen sat calmly on his father’s lap as family members clapped and cheered. The little boy appeared somewhat nonplussed by all the fuss.

Beads of sweat glistened on the barber’s forehead after he massaged shaving foam on the boy’s head and began giving him a clean cut with a straight razor.

Crocitto was horrified when he accidently nicked the tot when the little boy jerked unexpectedly.

“It’s good luck,” grandfather Vinod Chand Jain chimed in.

A few minutes later, a smiling Javeen returned to the ceremony wearing a traditional kurta or suit and a bandage.

 
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