Thursday, November 20, 2003

Mooch Nahin to Kuchh Nahin

Nothing says "Give it a Go" like sportin a mo! --Col. Blighty Sudafed

Mooch Nahin to Kuchh nahin--popular Hindi heartland proverb

East or west, moustache is an issue. In rural India, the facial hair in the upper lip region is something to be proud of. They have no choice, as lack of a moustache attracts unwanted attention and unsavoury comments. Urban India has somehow shaved off the necessity to keep the faith.

When this writer decided to come clean for the first time, the reaction in friends and family ranged from a wicked smile to outright outrage.

A village elder said: “Rajput is known by his moustache. "Did Lord Ram have moustache?" He had no answer. And I kept up the offence: "When Ram, the best a man can get (Purushottam) didn't have, why should I." I must say he was convinced. You can't fight religion. But nothing would make him shave his own.

Moustache-lovers have so much belief in November being the month of moustache that they call it Movember. By a cruel turn of fate, Dileep Singh Judeo, the man who can't breathe without feeling his moustache, has his in trouble.

Early in November the Union minister had said if he did not win the Chhattisgarh Assembly election for his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) he would shave his moustache, the "hirsute appendage of the upper lip, with graspable extremities", the symbol of a man's pride.

Mid-November he was caught on tape taking what appeared to be bribe. And his party is on a shaky ground. If the party loses the election, Judeo loses his moustache. He's lost a lot already.

His opponent and tormentor-in-chief, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Ajit Jogi, is safe. He doesn't sport any hair.

What is that makes a moustache so much macho? The fact that most powerful dictators in the world had moustaches? Stalin, Hitler, Saddam Hussain, Parvez Musharraf, the list is long.

Advani is more acceptable to rightwing hardliners than Vajpayee is. Is it the moustache?

Does moustache make man more attractive?

According to a Roy Morgan survey: "79 percent of women prefer men to be clean shaven and 2.1 per cent prefer beards."

The pro-moustache people rubbish the survey saying it was backed by Gillette.

There are no surveys yet to show the percentage of voters who prefer their candidate clean-shaven.

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