Sunday, November 9, 2008


Beard, I feel is a natural gift to the “unfair sex”(read men) on this earth. It does not require any of nourishment nor investment. But unfortunately very few people cultivate this priced crop.

One day I decided to grow beard. The decision did not have any obsession., nor any spiritual, financial, logical, emotional, physiological or intellectual reasons. A coupe of days after my resolution, beard sprouted around and across my chin and cheek, forcing me to pass a few traumatic nights: felt as if sleeping on a thorny pillow. This experience taught me sense of tolerance.
Neither beard per se nor change in my look, amused as much as the observations, suggestions and critical reviews poured in from all corners around me. The comments were with all hues- candid, sarcastic, impudent, nostalgic etc.

The first remark was from Girish, a pessimist, who called me as “Modern Devdas” asked me “Who is that unfortunate Paru that rejected or dejected you and brought you to this state?” Rahul passed a sarcastic remark” A girl might have said that you would look nice with a beard that is raiason`d`eter for your funny face. ”Sunny was curt,” In either style you won`t look impressive.” I received a warm welcome from a regularly bearded fellow to his “Dadi dal”. An elderly person staying at my neighbourhood sensed a relation between on going “”sacred month (according to Hindu calender) to my owe of not shaving. On the other hand to an economist working at my office, my ‘bearding “ appeared as an austerity measure to save money for feeding petrol to my newly purchased scooter. Some female collegues had an oblique look at me, but did not dare to whet their appetite of curiosity. Similarly my bosses had inwardly smile, may be nostalgic, remembering their hey-days with such experiments and experiences. My beard was a hot topic in my bachelor friend circle. It was considered as a strong signal towards my home, indicating preparedness for marriage. So many jokes and shares were tailored, all impromptu.

I never knew that just by maintaining beard can bring such a dramatic change in ones personality. Some compared my bearded face to that of a typical kashmiri militant`s, where as to Subbu,a south Indian friend, it appeared like that of Telugu cine star Chiranjeevi. The cruelest of all was my look terrified a small kid of my neighbour. I became personanon grata in that house since my look was sufficient for that child to cry for atleast an hour. But the saddest part of the story was that, the dogs in my colony considered as a thief and started to bark and chase me calling the attention of the whole colony.
I had to listen to a variety of suggestions on how to maintain beard, what sort of style, and types suit me, etc. From stubborn Fidel Castro to revolutionary Ho-che-Minh, Bulganinand Kruschev to our own I. K. Gujral and tytler fashion were all referred to follow. The list of illuminaries whose beard I was advised to study included Tagore, M.F.Hussain, Salim Ali, Carl Marx etc.

All good things have to come to and end. One day Axe fell…..sorry razor fell on my lovely attractive beard. I received an interview call letter from an multinational company, supplying shaving cream, for a plum position its marketing division. Obviously a shaving cream company strictly expects its employees (or aspiring employees)to be clean shaven. Thus my experiment with beard ended. But the queries did not end, just changed their course, ”Why did you shave?”