I Mustache you About your Facial Hair
There are many ways that I stand out as a foreigner living in India, but one way that I “fit in” is by proudly sporting facial hair – typically a mustache (Hindi: moonchh) or full beard (Hindi: daadhee). From the Mughal emperors of the 17th century to the modern day chai wallahs, the history of India is filled with an innumerable quantity of magnificently decorated male faces. Even a recent visit to Old Delhi’s Red Fort revealed a man selling beards at the entry gate. How could I resist such a great photo opportunity and gift item?
I had been working in India for nearly 4 months, so to avoid looking like a shaggy yak from the Himalayas, I thought it best to go for my first proper haircut and beard trimming. As with many things in India, I found Mucchad Salon entirely by accident when my taxi driver decided to take a detour one evening. Their logo, which features a fine handlebar mustache, caught my attention and caused me to note it’s location for future reference. Mucchad Salon (Mujahidpur Rd, South Extension II, Delhi) is a 3 seat venue advertising itself as a unisex salon. Though based on their logo, and my recent visit, I maintain the theory that it is visited mostly by men.
Upon taking a seat, I asked for a haircut that is short on the sides, short in the back and long on the top. This was easy to communicate as the style is worn by many young men in India, including my stylist that day, Imran. The scissors began clipping away and in 30 minutes I was the proud owner of a new hairstyle. An additional 15 minutes for a precise beard-trimming and the task was complete. Imran kindly allowed me to take a selfie with him to commemorate my first haircut in India – a momentous occasion indeed. I proceeded to the front counter and was pleasantly surprised to receive a final bill in the amount of 150 Indian Rupees ($2.35 USD). I will certainly visit again soon!
As I reflect on my recent beard-trimming experience, I can’t help but think about these Indian men who inspire me to take facial hair to a new level…
Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) – a Bombay-born English journalist, short-story writer, poet, and novelist who wrote The Jungle Book (1894)
J.R.D. Tata (1904-1993) – a French-born Indian aviator, entrepreneur, chairman of Tata Group and the shareholder of Tata Sons
Ranveer Singh (1985-present) – a well-known Bollywood actor who appears in many Hindi films and advertisements
Boman Irani as Dr. Viru “Virus” (2009) – a fictional character in the wildly popular Bollywood film “3 Idiots” whose mustache (and eventual lack thereof) plays a key role in the movie
And… should you endeavor to continue your scholarly pursuits in the field of Indian pogonology (or the study of beards), you may wish to pick up a copy of:
- Hair India, A Guide to the Bizarre Beards and Magnificent Moustaches of Hindustan, McCallum & Stowers (2008)
Or for a shorter read:
Be it beards or business, mustaches or Mughlai food, facial foliage or friends, India has much to offer to the international visitor. Have you considered visiting incredible India?