Beardy tales

When God made his creatures, he thought he should add something to the male of each species to make them look better. The lion begot its mane, the peacock its feathers and we men received our share of beards. The rest of the animals accepted their gifts gracefully. The lion didn't paw its own mane out, peacocks don't pluck their own feathers. We humans, however, have to shave.

My grandfather used to rub his cheeks against mine fondly when I was a kid, and his day or two old white stubbles used to tinge and nib my chubby cheeks. It was a lot of fun, but then I used to wonder when I would get my own beard. Elders used to laugh at me, assuring me that the time will come: and I looked on with innocent wonder. By the time I was in Class 9 or 10, the two of my classmates out of a hundred who had a full beard were the object of general admiration and authority on many subjects. One of them even acquired the nickname of 'dari', the Bengali word for beard.

The first sprouts on my cheeks came around class 11 or sometime. The initial hairs used to be so soft and flowing --- I think they added a little to the nerdiness that I needed to cultivate then. Every now and then, I would run my palm over my moustache down to my chin tapering off the beard as if in deep contemplation. And while I did that, out of the corner of my eye I would be very aware of anyone watching me so that I had a self-important look and feel about myself: I had to look "manly". At that time, scissors still worked on the beard: I didn't need razors yet. My sister had volunteered on some occasions to practise her cosmetological skills on me, and she was amazed how quietly I could sit around her when she had the blade at my throat. :)

Along came the day when I had to shave for the first time. Upon my mother's insisting, dad had given me a 2 min crash course in shaving (meaning I had stood there and watched him shave, while he narrated what he was doing and all intermittently asking about the progress in studies). When my turn came, I was so proud and confident of myself. The little cuts on my cheek and chin spilled a little blood from here and there from some bruised pimples, some areas under the jaw remained full of unshaved random stubbles, and boy did the after-shave hurt! But I came out beaming with pride, sporting an ear-to-ear grin while mother fussed over why the blood hadn't fully stopped yet.

That day set off a long set of experiments with various styles of beards and moustaches. Right from damn serious-looking moustaches to funky french-cut beards... been there done that all. And the fun of accidentally slipping a part of the moustache so that you have to crop it all, or convincing a friend that he would look better without a moustache and then forcefully shaving off his moustache so that you can mock him in full view of everyone else... muhahahaha!! :D Somehow in an engineering college, friends never forget to remind people without a beard (the late bloomers, that is) that it somehow indicates masculinity and therefore their chances of finding a bride were going to be difficult. Oh the evil grins with which that verdict used to be pronounced! :D

However, shaving now has reduced to a need-to-do basis. Some party coming up? More importantly, will there be girls there? I'll go fully shaved and groomed! First day at work? I'll go spic and span. But a normal working day at the lab or at school? Baah, who cares! All that used to be fine until sporting an unshaved look became the cool thing to do courtesy Hrithik Roshan or Abhishek Bachchan. And the poor losers are lazy people like me, who are accused of imitating these buggers. But the simple answer becomes, WTF cares what others think? But I'll tell you what the best part of having a beard is. You shave yourself clean in the morning and sometime in the evening you run the back of your palm over the chin to feel the evening shadow: that feels energizing. You have been pondering over a lab experiment for a week and haven't shaved. Then suddenly the idea clicks, and you type the solution in furiously and get the results! To celebrate, you go and take a shower, and then shave off the week-long beard. That makes you feel fresh... and young! :)


  1. but have u ever thot so deeply about moustaches? But they are so disappointing..:).

  2. uh oh reh gaya sona....anyways, I just want to say this...unless the no shower no shave thing actually helps you come up with new ideas, wouldn't be kinder to humanity if men did those things everyday and then maybe if they really wanted to celebrate they could *gasp* shower again? It's not like you guys smell like a meadow all day long...

    Jokes apart, it sounds like an interesting ritual men share, this love-hate thing with their beards and moustaches :)


  3. Two weeks ago I had accidentally cut a part of my mushtache while trimming and I had to shave off the damn thing. I'm still waiting for it to grow to its full glory, so you had to rub it in now with your tales of facial hair eh? :-p

  4. What's with men and their laziness to shave? Listen young man, a shave a day will get the belles your way :) (if that helps as an incentive!)

  5. Pallavi, are they, now? Hmm.. I don't keep one, anyway :)

    Sky, chandi le lo! Roz roz nahana, ab gaya wo zamana! And the ritual is something we're born with: in the 23rd Chromosome, you see! :)

    Hari, Muahahhahhaha.... now I'm truly happy! :D

    Anumita, only if that were true! Tell me honestly, will you be tagging along with a clean shaven Amjad Khan or with John Abraham with a small stubble? See, I knew it! :D

  6. true!!!! a whole post dedicated to something nobody bothers writing about!

    it feels very odd to shave off a moustache after a long time...and then to let it grow back again!!

  7. v sweet :) loved the last line specially - all kinds of celebration ...

  8. You laugh at my plight, eh? Hm...

  9. My first visit here and an engaging post to comment on.

    Without referring to months of growth (as in real longish beard), I'd say if a guy is young and handsome, a couple of days of stubble growth gives an appealing and cool look. Makes his face more interesting.

    And, girls, if you can imagine being caressed gently in an endearing manner.. on your cheek (I specified :P) with that stubble, wouldn't you want to say romantic too? haha!

  10. The first time you have your beard shaved, it looks really really odd. It was during my Engg days in first yr when I was told that I'll be ragged if I didn't shave.

    That first day of my Engg is when I shaved first..

  11. dude
    plzz.. thats a lil too much bout beard :)
    these days lools like its a fashion among guys. growin hair wherever it is :D

  12. Rajarshi, yeah... everything is worth writing about if you find the right words. :)

    Ricercar, thank you! :)

    Hari, want to see it again? Hahahhahaha!! :D

    Indicaspecies, hey!! Welcome onboard! Thank you so much for those encouraging words... now I have another reason not to shave! And about the girls... *sigh* :)

    Jeevan, Ahh the engineering days... that is when I stopped having my moustache and have never grown it since :)

    P.S. - Nice profile pic... is it IITB?

    Janum, come on!!! See... it is people like you who accuse us of following or building styles: end of the day it is just plain laziness for us! :)

  13. "To celebrate, you go and take a shower, and then shave off the week-long beard. That makes you feel fresh... and young! :)"
    I don't think I understand. Is the shower due for a week too :P

    Being a programmer I have a strict algorithm for shaving.
    if( Monday OR Wednesday ) Shave;
    if( Saturday AND Party AND Girls ) Shave;

  14. Hi,
    A very much concern woth boys..
    Beard is a symbol of maturiy and growing as a Man.

    Nice read..
    Take care

  15. hmmm....actually with the risk of sounding like im just goin with the crowd..ive gotta agree with the clean-shaven look being preferred ;) and just coz u mentioned John Abraham...he happens to b an exceptionally gud lookin exception to the rule.... :P

  16. The rest of the animals gracefully accepted their gifts gracefully. -Correct that.

  17. i shd say i was among those two or three guys who grew beard in high school. and then it existed all thru my +1 and 2 where i trimmed it occasioanlly and then came engineering. That was where it took it all off, both beard and moustache and it felt so better. especially the moustache part, i'd get no hairs in my mouth when im eating and no more itches. since then i've been getting a clean shave every week, may i shd increase it to twice.

  18. Naah it is Ghanteshwari in Sambalpur district of Orissa.

  19. I don't understand why people maintain goatees. Aren't those more high-maintenance than actually shaving???

  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. My first-shave experience was more or less like you. I was beaming with pride having used that ultimate sign of masculinity - After shave (Ok, only second to ultimate which is AHEM. Rubber. But I was unware of it that time. Poor sex education).

    P.S. Came to your blog for the first time. You are linked. :-)

  22. Twisted DNA, err... I remembered that the shower was due for a week --- actual figures are undisclosed! :D

    Shruti, welcome onboard! Actually, a potential beard is more a symbol of maturity than the bear itself! :)

    Di, you know, Mr. John has some of my looks! :P

    Wonderful person, jo hukum sarkaar!

    Maverick, yeah thats true --- minus the beard and the moustache the face suddenly felt a lot lighter! Once every week? Umm, I dunno --- my weekly average these days might be 2 or 3: following the algorithm Twisted DNA mentioned!
    P.S. - Welcome!

    Jeevan, hmmm :)

    Princess, yeah they are--- and I personally hate them as well!

    Kalyan, hey, welcome here, of course! Ultimate proof of masculinity? Ahem Ahem... no comments! :D

  23. I'm thankful to say that I can't relate to your post.
    But I really enjoyed it.

  24. I hate shaving. Period. And I love that stubby look - makes me feel desi sadakchap hero hehehehe :D

  25. Princess, well, what will you know the pleasures of the bearded kind... :)

    Supremus, ooh, thats my man!! :)


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