Ever beard of it? | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Ever beard of it?

I knew that you would take 'beard' for 'heard'. It's precisely for this talkative nature of mine, since my picking up the language of my naturalisation, that I have been untiringly annoying my audience to make conclusions of sorts about me. Even to the extent of people telling me as a boy that I wouldn't grow a beard on growing up. Rajbir Deswal writes

chandigarh Updated: Apr 04, 2013 09:32 IST

I knew that you would take 'beard' for 'heard'. It's precisely for this talkative nature of mine, since my picking up the language of my naturalisation, that I have been untiringly annoying my audience to make conclusions of sorts about me. Even to the extent of people telling me as a boy that I wouldn't grow a beard on growing up.

Yes, Durga Chachiji, my schooldays' matron at home, told me this, perhaps to threaten me into being silent, "at least for a minute". For an unknown fear later in my adolescence, I started shaving early, apprehending the prediction might come true. My worst fear was about growing an imperial beard (on one side of the chin!). But over the years, I grew a good stubble, thanks to my later-day capability to hold my tongue, and mind my own business of life - as per my 'Shavian' observation.

The beard has been mysteriously mystic since ages, despite the fact that it grows as naturally as any other hair on the body. A kind of suspense is found looming large over a beard, big or small. It ranges from spirituality to intelligence, philandering to vagrancy, and so on. Generally, people who lose their crowning glory flaunt beards, as if to compensate for destiny's not-so-fair-distribution-of-hair. A French Cut, Confucian, Goatie or just a stubble - all varieties should have a face most suited for them - a fact very few bearded men know.

I never wanted to grow a beard, except for once in my university days. In the late 1970s, the stubble was neither liked by girls nor parents, who would be very prompt in telling us to "at least shave the chin and look like a civilised one!" For about a fortnight, I grew a beard to have a photo clicked in a studio and later shaved it off, little realising then that I would later lament my action. A friend handed over a letter addressed to me by one 'Yours D'. All the boys decided to double as Sherlock Holmes and zero in on the writer.

Since the letter was in a female hand, they sat by the side of the girls turn by turn, trying to match the handwriting. And I just kept reading to myself, I don't know how many times, "Rajbir you look handsome in your beard!"

During a vacation in the US recently, I again grew a Big-B-type beard, after nearly 35 years. We were going on a ferry one day when a marine with a navy-brand beard bumped into me on the deck. I am sure it was only for the beards that we smiled a little longer at each other, than it would have been in the normal course of business. Identification brings closeness as strangeness is not identifiable. But beards, as I said, do have certain things to conceal. The girl was traced later, but only on her own confession. Ever 'heard' of it? You'd have!

rajbirdeswal@hotmail.com