until surgeons sculpted a new one, using cartilage from his ribs. They planted it on his forehead, and eventually it would be pasted back on its God-allotted location. This guy is virtually thinking with his nose and breathing with his brain. No wonder China is a superpower.
Most of us may not have had a Xiaolian-like experience, but I can confidently say that the nose is the most sensitive public part of our body (opinion is rather divided about our most sensitive private part, but we won’t go into all that).
Had Lakshmana not chopped off Surpanakha’s smelling device, we would have had no Dussehra, and even Diwali would have been a low-key affair. Ravana’s widowed sister was not exactly a beauty queen, but what Lord Rama’s brother did to her practically ended her remarriage prospects.
Spurned and disfigured, she persuaded the Lankan king to go for an ‘honour kidnapping’ to even the scores. The rest is either history or mythology, depending on whether you swear by the BJP or swear at it.
Not many people would admit how obsessed they are with their noses. As a teenager, I used to stand in front of the mirror, wondering why the Great Sculptor had done such a shoddy job bang in the middle of my face. I lamented that had He (or She?) devoted a few more minutes to shaping this part, my chances of pataoing girls would have multiplied like rabbits.
My desperate imagination used to chisel my piece to perfection, but the special effect didn’t last long and soon it was back to the same old flesh-and-bone extremity. I did learn to poke fun at my protuberance (big word for a big thing), thanks to the French tragicomedy Cyrano de Bergerac, in which the hero says his nose is so large that it “precedes me by a quarter of an hour wherever I go.”
Years later, when my expecting wife was sweating it out in the delivery room, I was praying that my expected child should have her shapely item and not my snout. But God exercised the ‘right to reject’ and chose Option C: None of the above. As a result, my four-year-old issue has a nose (and a mind) of her own.
Tomorrow, if she elopes with her boyfriend – I’m talking about my daughter, not wife – I won’t have the locus standi to shout like a feudal parent: “Meri beti ne meri naak kataa di!”
Having become a selfstyled expert in nasal matters, I’ve come up with a groundbreaking theory: you are responsible for your own nose and there’s no such thing as a family nose. I hope potential honour killers have got the message. If they haven’t, then not even the ‘all-powerful’ Rahul Gandhi can stop them from going to the Sudhar Ghar (jail, yaar).
Once behind bars, as the drunk Veeru said in Sholay, the honourable family of murderers will be “chakki peesing and peesing and peesing…”
PS: I just got a call from Xiaolian’s chief surgeon Liaoxian. He offered me 98% discount on a nose job. Flaring my nostrils like Mika, I said: “No, thanks. I’ll prefer the original, which is perfectly imperfect.”