Can We Please Cancel No Shave November?

Pop Culture

Can We Please Cancel No Shave November?

Illustration: Akshita Monga/Arré


remember a walk down Camac Street in Kolkata with Ananda, a man with a formidable moustache and a beard down to his knees. As I dodged the traffic and stares, he told me why he treasured his facial hair: Without it, he was a nondescript chap. But with it, he got questions (including racist ones) thrown at him all the time: “Dada, aapni ki foreign?” “Dada, aapni ki magician?” “Dada, ei re aapni ki Osama?” (Brother, are you a foreigner? Are you a magician? Oh no, are you Osama?)

A moustache on its own is so ubiquitous among Indian men, that unless it’s truly spectacular it won’t earn you the kind of attention Ananda got. Which is why, older Indian men seem to be rather flummoxed about the purpose of Movember, or Moustache November, a campaign that urges dudes around the world to grow their moustaches for a month and contribute towards prostate and testicular cancer research.