CONVERSATIONS WITH MY BEARD RESUMED
“You have aged and so have I. Though it seems I last talked with you yesterday, three years have since passed by. You have grown older and I have become whiter. While I am sure that white is a sign of wisdom (as in my case), I am not sure about you. The passing years have only made you more forgetful and most of the time you keep staring vacantly even when someone talks to you. I am not too sad about that for in the process I have been allowed my freedom to grow wiser (that should be longer and whiter).
Well, this morning it happened at last. I saw the look in your eyes when you peered into the mirror, not that you had not done so earlier. You do that every day, but that narcissistic look which had been absent for the last three years had returned. I knew it had to happen. Though your wife does not say anything as she had given up trying to get through that head of yours, I did overhear her friend who had come visiting, say to her ‘What’s wrong with your husband I say. Don’t you think that it’s time he trimmed his beard?’ Your wife said ‘Well I did try once or twice but he mutters philosophically – live and let grow. I have given up after all it is his beard, why should I object!’ I am sure you also overheard them.
I was worried then for that vacant look in your eyes was often mistaken for a heightened level of spiritual awareness, while I knew that more often than not where that spirit had come from. Whoever gave you the idea that once I have grown long enough and turned white on your face, you have the freedom to say whatever you want?
All sages and holy men have flowing white beards though the corollary that all men with flowing white beards are sages. Of course there are those with black flowing beards and as aged as the white bearded ones (though I do not know how they manage that) but they look sinister, don’t you agree. Sorry I am not trying to bringing in any racial prejudices here. Of course I will accept that there are sinister looking white flowing ones too. They are dangerous, so keep away. I am not suggesting that you are one of them for after all I adorn your face.
Take for instance that 92 year old man with extra-long white flowing beard. People say he is a sage. I do not disbelieve it for who else could have discovered the reason for the occurrences of earthquakes. Wow! He said that the reason for the landslides and earthquakes are on account of honeymooning couples. See what happened to Kedarnath. I still wonder as to how many honeymooning couples on the hills it would take to generate that level of seismic levels to bring about the level of destruction witnessed. Well I think the Government will be well advised to take this seriously and restrict the number of couples (by way of visa if possible) visiting the hill stations. They should of course rope in this 92 year old sage with the extra-long white flowing beard as a consultant.
Well, what is this ruckus about certain male Gods not allowing women to worship them? The wise man (once again with the extra-long white flowing beard) says that they will be punished if there is any breach in this regard, and the women dare. I say let it go, there are already more than enough number of Gods craving to be worshipped, leaving out a few of them will not hurt, in fact it will lessen the burden. Don’t you agree?
A few days ago I overheard one of your friends (a clean-shaven one) say ‘I always wondered how do bearded men kiss their wives/lovers without causing them a discomfiture..’ Well you know better, but you did not really express yourself properly. Of course, even I have wondered what women prefer. I am sure your wife does not mind for I have been on your face for such a long time. Your friend must be plain jealous, just ask him to grow one and find out for himself instead of asking you. You know my limitations, I cannot ask a women’s beard that is not the done thing. So why don’t you find out?”
It was after a long time that my beard had resumed his conversations, once again with only the night lamp on and I staring vacantly with my laptop open in front me. I had to quiet him down somehow for otherwise he would go on with his ramblings and keep me awake for the rest of the night. So I said –
“Sorry, but the bitter truth as told to me by a woman was that a beard is not the man, it is just that, a beard. It will never put food on your table or take care of your children. The physical appearance of a man is not very important even though it cannot be entirely ignored. Women will prefer men who have beards or not but up to a certain extent. Life decisions cannot be made based on the growth of facial hair or lack of it, it has to be more than just that. So you see that you do not matter where life decisions are involved.”
There was a small purring sound only in this case it was not a cat but my beard. I knew that I had hurt his vanity.
“Can you promise one thing?” he said.
“What?” I asked.
“You will stick to your ‘Live and let me grow’” he pleaded.
“I will think it over,” I said, but I knew that I really had no choice for I could at least fondle him like a pet cat and de-stress.