My beard growing journey began as a sign of rebellion.
Throughout my time at engineering college, we had to adhere to strict rules to look ‘presentable’. This meant no round neck t-shirts and DEFINITELY no long beards. So once I graduated, I went through an experimental phase – I grew out my hair and tried valiantly to grow out my beard. I realized that it doesn’t grow evenly, and so for a while, what I had was a really long goatee!
While my beard helped me hide the double-chin that mysteriously emerged while I was working at my IT desk job, it also became an important part of my identity – I realized that the long hair + long beard combination has great recall value. I went through a shaky period in 2009, when almost everyone I knew tried to convince me to shave the beard off in preparation for my wedding. But my amazing wife Shilpa, who has stood by me (and my beard) through *cough* thick and thin, supported me in my decision to retain my individuality.
My beard and I have a come a long way together, and it has managed to elicit some pretty crazy reactions from kids (“Mummy, how Uncle has so much hair?”) and adults (“Can I braid your beard?”) alike. There used to be a time when I’d regularly get pulled out from security lines at airports for additional screening, but that has stopped now after more men went through a fashionable phase of growing out their beards.
Somewhere along the way, my beard became more than what I had meant for it to be. Today, one of the things I love most about my beard is that it functions as a great bib: for biryani, bugs AND beer