Twitter, Facebook, Blogger, Wordpress- name it and you’ll find a big bunch of unhappy people. They are pissed off with the system, corruption, Shiv Sena, NaMo, SG, RG, Malala, etc etc. We have a awefully huge list of ‘ Things to get pissed off at’. On the other hand I have realized people no longer care about what I think. The finance Minister is not going to roll back because Mr Jon said so. So i have decided to sit back, relax and smile a bit. And I’m going to walk back in time to relearn the art of smiling.
Very recently a former foreign diplomat cum MP cum minister’s son gave out an interview to an Indian daily. He’s claimed to be one of the well known writer on international affairs on a well known international daily. As a parting shot, he gave a swipe at Indian men wearing moustache which is unusual as per international standards.
Down here in southern parts of India, moustache used to be the ‘symbol of manhood’. During my boys’ school days we shared tips and tricks on how to ensure thick and lusty growth of moustache. Moustache was for boys, what tits were for girls.
My family had a rich tradition of thick moustaches. My dad, uncles etc were symbols of manliness (in terms of moustache). I admired their well kept and thick moustaches. Keeping up with the genes I had the first wisp of hairy growth among my peers. I was looked upon with awe and admiration. Someone suggested shaving can trigger a thicker growth. I went and asked Dad for a razor. I don’t know what prompted Dad to go beserk & i never asked again.
All the superstar actors in Malayalam wore their mundu and twirled their moustaches on seeing the villains. I dreamt of a day when I will chase away the bad guys after twirling the moustache and delivering a few fiery dialogues. Besides the Indian cricket stars too spotted moustaches. Even though they lagged at bottom of the table and never won anything outside the country, they did whip up enough passion on TV screen.
The fall back of studying at a boys school was we never knew what girls thought on our symbol of manliness. We believed they would swoon over us the moment they see us. The belief was dashed to smithereens on reading a Sushmita Sen interview. She was the hot girl back then. Someone asked her on the link up with Nagarjuna. She laughed it off and replied ‘ I can’t kiss a man with moustache. It makes you tickle!!’ That was something i never thought of.
Soon the Saurav Ganguly era started in Indian cricket. His stylish footwork and majestic off drives were a beauty to watch. Unlike the seniors he whipped up passion on and off the pitch. He never wore the thick moustaches. He preferred the thin, soft one. Soon I became a fan of it. It gave you a look of adolescence. I decided not to shave my moustache so as to stunt the thick growth. Meanwhile I fell in love with Roberto Baggio’s thin one and tried it out. Then came Veeru Mandi from Kamal Hassan & i wore it for sometime. I was a source of amusement but I loved it.
Slowly the Hindi film industry brought out a new change in the way men looked. Hrithik Roshan swept off half the country off the feet and left the other half burning with envy. Soon men started waxing their chest , shaved off their facial hair, wore skin tight jeans & tank tops. They hit the gym and sculpted up the body.
South India was the last foothold for the moustache loving men. But it didn’t take long to give way to clean shaven men. New heroes appeared on screen without any moustache. We all tried to dub them as too effeminate and flash in the pan. But it couldn’t keep the box office coffers from ringing.
Meanwhile Mohd Azharuddin was unceremoniously thrown out of the team. Soon Ganguly took over. He decided to give the team a new spirit and passion to win. Apparently as part of an image makeover, everyone shaved off their moustache. Yea imagine, Kumble too. To make it worse india became a team to beat.
One fine morning i woke up and looked at the mirror. The college days were over. I was still single and no girl had fallen for my external symbol of manhood. I would be joining an MNC in a couple of weeks. Besides I felt it’s taking awful lot of time to groom the moustache. So complying with international standards I took a razor and shaved it off.
Soon I was flooded with love letters ( Well that is a figment of my imagination. Sigh)
Afternote: One day we noticed Dad running around with a funny expression. To our utter horror, he shaved off his moustache. Mom went hysterical. Me and Bro had a great kaugh. He realized it was a mistake and sat at home for a week, until it started coming back. But today he wears it thin more as a stubble!!