It's funny how much a look can define you. All my life I've been clean shaven. Prior attempts to grow a moustache had all been disastrous with the hair below my nose resembling the bar code you see in grocery products. Yet, out of boredom one fine day in 2008, I decided to give it a full pledged attempt.. I also went whole hog, aiming ambitiously for a french beard/"Arabi thaadi". After initial mixed reactions from various quarters, people got used to it. New batches of residents arrived and they all soon got accustomed to "the fat guy with the frenchie". That description defined who I was in the hospital. One of 2 doctors in a hospital with nearly 600 docs including heads of departments, staff, interns and students with a thick french beard.
This weekend, after 2 years, impulsively, I shaved it all off. There was no real rhyme or reason. I just felt it was time for it to go. So I got up, closed the recently dusted textbooks and went and got a shave. The reactions were a real eye opener.
My co-pg who has worked with me for 2 years was the first to see me as I was returning down a dark alley. I whistled to him. He stopped, stared at the figure coming through the dark, took a step back and tensed, wondering who dare whistle at him. It was only after we reached handshaking distance and I spoke that he realised it was me.
My juniors had a gala time when they saw me. It was like a clown had come to amuse them at the operation theatre (ot). They all took turns lifting up and pulling down my mask and showing me off to each new doctor who entered the ot.
To avoid the embarassment of being taken through each of the operation theatres and face-stripped in front of all the surgeons and nurses, I tried telling them finally that I was Roshan's twin, only 10 years younger. Somehow, that excuse didn't work. I can't imagine why... it sounded like a solid one when I said it. Hmmm...
This new me, as my dear Sardar pointed out, takes me out of the category of "PROGERIA" and now leaves me as just a "FAT YOUNG MAN". Hmm... I wonder if I can make "Fat young man" a cult status like what Amitabh did to the whole "Angry young man" persona.
Seniors ? Well, getting scolded from them is nothing new, but the treat of watching them shout at you while trying to supress a giggle - that's a novelty ! It's fun to watch them squirm trying to be serious and failing miserably for once.
My other co-pg felt that the pic in between, with me sporting the Spanish moustache was what I should have retained for a few days. Yes, I'm sure, that would have been a big hit. Just let me get my spanish matador outfit too and start waving red towels at my seniors... ola !! Charge, you evil bandita !! Senor Roshan will smite ye with his razor sharp wit.
Of course, the responses keep coming as day 2 progresses. The man at the xerox shop who sees me every other week didn't recognise when I went for my weekly printout of notes I'll never read and stopped me as I tried to enter his cabin as is my usual habit. There have been shrieks from the 4th floor as I've entered the hostel ( now I know how SRK and Hrithik feel when 'their fans' start screaming on seeing them at malls... really guys. It's not cool. Stop it. We superstars have a life too, you know. We're just like you and your pals.. only cooler, hunkier and ..umm, fatter ? )
Atleast one girl has taken me out of the "Om Puri" type of sexy and put me in the "young Paresh Rawal" type of sexy. I'm sure she got it confused with Salman and Aamir Khan, but she refuses to accept her mistake. Poor girl.
Anyway, this is me. This is who I am. This is who I've always been. Never really one to judge people by their appearances ( mock, yes, tease, definitely.. but never judge !! ) But apparently,as I've found out in the last 48 hours, a beard can make a huge difference. And I'm loving it. Now I can finally stop settling for Ila Arun and and propose to my current dreamgals, Minissha Lamba and Sonam Kapoor ( Better to get slapped by young and sweet goddesses than old and cranky demigoddesses... Shakespeare said that. True Story. )
"80 till I die" just turned "40 till I die." Ya, baby. Who's yer fat young fearless daddy now ?