Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The bearded conundrum

I stepped out of my room, stood in front of the mirror near the wash basin and observed my face diligently. I could see a strand of hair jutting out on my chin, and wondered, "I really should have my share of brush with the razor". As a teenager, one of the most exciting things to do is to get hold of the razor, and whether you have facial hair or not, you just want to feel the blade going up and down your cheek. My father would look upon me quizzically and wonder, "What are you doing standing in front of that mirror? Your concentration must be on studies only." I still rue that I did not have any answer to that question.

Anyway, as the strand began to grow at the rate of a few nanometers per day, my urge to get hold of the conventional razor only increased. I used to be in awe looking at people who could transform their looks from bearded to clean shaven. By the way, those days, you hardly had the Gillete Presto or those flashy razors to clear the hair, but it was the old-fashioned one, where you insert a blade on to a small platform, and screw the holder tightly on to the blade. So, one had to be extra careful, as the sharp blade could easily make a dent on your cheek, and you could be caught sporting a blood stained wound, and the pimples would just compound the problem. But, that hardly deterred me from laying my hands on the razor. It would fascinate me everyday as I observed my father pick all the parts of the razor, fix them up carefully and sway the razor as though it was as easy as using a computer today. So, one day my father decided that I was ready to hold the razor (yes, yes, nothing was decided by me; there was always a wrapper class around me to take care of such things). It was an exhilarating feeling, and I was proud of the fact that this was the step that marked my transformation from an immature boy to manhood. It felt like, as though, I was earmarked for selection to play for the Indian cricket team.

Yesterday, I was absolutely bored by the fact that I had a stubble, yet again. I was kicking myself that the hair was growing at a rapid rate. I thought I shaved yesterday, I wondered. I wish there is a mechanism to bypass this everyday routine, I thought, hopefully. It is pretty hard, when you get up in the morning, stare in front of the mirror, and observe the thick layer of hair enveloping your face, leaving you with no choice but to take up the razor. At least, now, you do not have to worry about the conventional blade and the cuts and gashes. So, it is a quick shave, maybe lasting less than two minutes, with my father's tone ringing in my ears, "Don't shave in a hurry. Get up early, and shave at least a couple of times, and don't do a patch work." All that I used to do was nod my head vigorously, get back to my lethargic ways and wait for two or three days, before the feeling of "I really have to shave" hit me. As life goes on, and as my beard grows on, I just have to look back on those days, when l used to run around not with a shaving cream and a razor, but all the other insignificant things that appear so significant now.


  1. Ah! The travails of growing up! Good post!

  2. I did my first shave as it was required in NCC.

  3. Facial hair is awesome man...there is so much to experiment over there...its like an untapped fashion statement....

  4. Alpine Path,Welcome and thanks!!! Please keep dropping by!

    Shubhika,Really? :-)


    Abhishek,Wokay fashion God(or demon)!!! Come up with some new style :-)

  5. I have always hated shaving

  6. You are in US. Easy, grow funny beard which all my classmates have done after they "made it" in USA which means growing beard among other essentials like eating beef, boozing and chasing women. I noticed a bearded oldie professor who explained in his web site that he took his American students to Bangalore as part of their learning experience in software design to software code factories there- the outsourced sweat shops which use coolie labour to code to speifications of their masters in USA. I couldn't get the purpose of this visit, except that he was injecting a shock therapy showing them the Indian coolie labour which will ensure their unemployment. I recognised him, he was a maths lecturer of yore in Karnataka, a colleague of mine who was berating us teaching computer science. He is bearded now and looks serious as a computer science professor! Beards have their uses.