Wednesday, 11 June 2008

In praise of the beard

I have been having a beard for over two decades now. Many are the people I have misled into thinking of me as an intelligent, erudite, caring, sensitive human being by the sole virtue of my beard. Likewise, many are the sticky situations I have got out of with Houdini-like adroitness, by simply stroking my beard and looking thoughtful.

The deception came later. Initially at least, the idea was to save valuable time in the morning. A habitual late riser, sharing as I did a 1 BHK apartment with one wash basin and one toilet with three other office-goers, mornings in our little flat were incredibly chaotic. Tempers, like bowel pressure, ran high and irritation ruled the roost. Words were exchanged, doors thumped, and trains missed. That is when I made the pleasant discovery that I could shave off, pun intended, a precious ten minutes from my ‘rush-about’ time, by not shaving.

The rest, as they say, is history.

The feedback from both family and friends were ecstatic. Covering up at least part of my visage with the fuzz they considered an immense act of kindness from my side. The more charitable amongst them said: since your face is certainly not your fortune, any embellishments that you can add on, such as a moustache or a full beard, can definitely not add to the suffering of the beholder; if at all, it can only alleviate the pain.

Looking back, my co-existence with my beard has been a happy one. True, there have been hiccups along the way, like that time in a hotel in London, while helping myself to a generous portion of bacon at breakfast, the Bangladeshi restaurant manager whispering a hoarse warning in my ear, mistaking me for a Muslim. Or, those days immediately following the 9/11 blasts, when airport security at Frankfurt singled out bearded passengers for special checks which was humiliating, to say the least.

Now for the immediate provocation for this post: one of my young blogger friends from Mumbai whose blogs (she has two) I read with a lot of interest, has come up with a post in which she states unequivocally that moustachioed and bearded men are not her cup of tea. ”When it comes to gentlemen professing l’ amour for me, smooth faces get brownie points...” says she. I am aghast. I feel distraught. I hope what she is articulating is not the general trend among young women these days. If such indeed is the case, my heart goes out to the bearded young men of her generation.

Or may be, they can take heart from the bard saying: "He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man."


Cynic in Wonderland said...

ye wolf in beards clothing! and i thought you were all of those things. sighhhhhh

IdeaSmith said...


Deepa Krishnan said...

Just found your blog...and am enjoying it. I'm pro-beard, by the way.

Rada said...

Obviously, you have not heard of something called "self-effacing humour"!:-)
Disappointed you just left a tag and no comments! :-(
Thank you and Welcome! You are pro-beard: Evidently a lady of discerning taste and spohistication! :-)

Sud said...

These are tough times for those of us with facial hair. I used to sport one myself, until my ex-girlfriend talked me out of it.

gerimox said...

@rada:Ur young blogger friend is right of course.Times change, and so do trends . . .But it shudn make a diff to d babesnatcher tho :P

Rada said...


Your ex-girlfriend talked you out of having a beard? Shame on you, man! :-)


Kalichu, Kalichu..ippo uncle-nte nenjatta kali, alle?


Velayudhan said...

i hope i am late to respond. Before marriage, i used to shave twice or thrice a year. Afterwards i dont have time to think about it. luck is in the form of acceptance from all quarters.

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Stepping Sideways... by K. Radhakrishnan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.