The six decades of my life so far are not certainly of biographable quality but I have been through moments that might very nearly qualify for the same. These moments, which I am able to mull over now without any feeling, like a cow masticating its breakfast, were at the material time something that shook the very root my existence. There have been several incidents that made me run the whole gamut of emotions from A to Z. They always brought people scurrying to me in an expression of joy, anguish, anger, disappointment and censure depending on the nature of the incident. But so far I have never had so many people expressing such divergent views at any situation as I am now facing, the subject being my new beard. Beard is nothing new to me. I have sported it ever so often before but presently it has become the center of controversy because of its sheer magnitude. My previous versions were kind of meek affairs aimed more at diverting people’s attention from my receding forehead. The present one has literally made me appear faceless, having covered every available space in my face and the only point of resistance being my nose! Right now my face may not be the one that launched a thousand ships but it has certainly caused a thousand eyebrows to rise in an expression of incredulity. Solicitous enquiries keep pouring in wanting to know if there is any murky reason behind my beard. Everyone seems to believe that behind every beard there is a murky episode and the longer the beard the deeper the murkiness of the episode. What stuns me is the unanimity of the view that every beard must have a reason behind it. No one is willing to dismiss it as a mere whim of a lazy man. I have now come to the definite conclusion that hair, too much of it on the face or lack of it on the head, will never cease to arrest people’s attention. The fast disappearance of hair on the head, being a fate that befalls a majority of men, is merely observed but not discussed while the facial one does excite every one’s imagination. All this boils down to one point. People attach more importance to hair than any other part of their body judging by the number of references made to it everyday. Enormous amounts of money are spent on preserving it both quantitatively and qualitatively on its appointed place. More than 50% of TV advertisements relate to concoctions that make it stay rooted to its place without changing its colour. They tell us sordid stories of jobs lost and husbands going astray due to lack of attention paid to keeping the hair healthy, happy and smiling. What puzzles me is this. When hair occupies such an eminent position in a human life, why does anyone use it as a preferred epithet when it is required to reprimand an adversary in the lowliest possible terms or to express lack of interest in any specific material possession?