The shiny pate is a fashion statement for many men who feel it adds to their macho looks

It’s convenient for the summer and also fashionable,” says Mumbai-based hair stylist Thotreichan Sasa. He is speaking of bald heads! “The cases of early balding has gone up these days and going for a clean shave is the easy way out. A few fashion models are also going in for the bald head style.”

The mottai is no more a butt of mockery. More men are flaunting a tonsured head. Not for Tirupati, as you may think, but for the fun of it. Both collegians and middle-aged men are going for that close-cropped look.

They say it defines them. Take Murali Krishnan. He has nurtured a bald head for 15 years. His inspiration comes from bikers, models and the Skinhead looks of the early 1960s. “I am crazy about bikes and I love racing,” says Murali Krishnan, who participates in the biking race at Pattaya every year. “Even as a young boy, I used to sport a rugged look and my choice of brands are more masculine and sporty.” It was during one of the theme parties that Murali first shaved off his head. “It was in 2001 and I dressed up like Aalavandhan. I also occasionally paint and tattoo my head. Since I received lots of compliments from people and I chose to keep the look,” he says.

Something about bikers and bald heads. Biker Kaya Natarajan also preferred the bald look when he was in college in the 1990s. “I was studying in London and I used to shave off my hair regularly. Initially it was to save money on hair cuts. Later, I got involved with heavy metal music and I also went in for piercing.”

For some, the inspiration comes from movies and music. “Remember Bruce Willis in Unbreakable?” asks Jayashankar, a techie. “Initially, my bald look invited comments and strange looks. But not anymore.” Shehroze is a die-hard fan of Andre Agassi and Michael Jordon. “As both of them sport a shaved head, it prompted me to adopt the style,” he says. Sriram Janak, a wildlife photographer refers to the Reggae bands and singers as his idols. “I am a fan of Black music. I was introduced to it in high school. Incidentally, I also started losing hair very early. As the Reggae singers sported the look, I too lapped it up,” he says. “I only regret it when I see people with dreadlocks.”

Friends Rajesh Venugopal and Sridhar Sundaram are known for their Frenchies and their permanent mottai. “A clean-shaven head, always invites notice. People used to ask me if I had tonsured my head as a religious thing. Part of the idea also comes from my love for biking,” says Rajesh who owns a cruiser bike. “But more than the style, it’s about being comfortable with what you are. For me, keeping a tonsured head means being carefree. It also gives one a macho appearance. Only when I find it boring, do I grow some hair,” says Sridhar, who shaves his head once in six months. Most men with a bald head also tend to experiment with facial hair. They all either sport a goatee or a Frenchie, a handlebar mush or a beard. “The presence of hair on the face compliments the absence of it on the head. Even a nicely chiselled side-bun will go well on a bald head,” says Thotreichan Sasa. Hair-stylist Veerakumar from Madurai says that he gets an average five young customers every week asking for the clean-shaven look at his Hi-cut parlour in K.K. Nagar. “The college guys like a cropped look. And the ear-studs and tattoos are the suitable accompaniments that.”