The Bollywood Moustache


Joyfully, India is simply bristling with mystic moustache charmers and hirsute enlightenment. Take Mumbai for instance, where the common sign for a washroom is a bushy moustachioed face (and that's just for the Ladies). Granted, the common Indian lip-rug tends to be a small yet well-groomed affair, but according to the Guinness Book of Records, the world’s longest moustaches have all come from India.

For instance, Kaylan Ramji Sain (deceased) famously sported an 11-foot long monster, and there are Indian fakirs alive today who are hung like a moose's antlers. Gujarat Gurjar (60) for instance, spent twenty years cultivating his two-metre Fu-Manchu and now ekes out a living performing sub-nasal rope tricks. Indeed, such far-flung poverty has been cause of much concern within the Handlebar Club lately. One member recently noted, "Just look at all these wasted beef and mustard sandwiches! There must be thousands of starving Indians with damn good moustaches who could have polished this lot off!"

The moustache is traditionally a sign of virility and authority in India. Many a dusky princess has succumbed to the sight of a Maharaja's stupendous furry love wand. Facial hair is also popular within the Indian military. The 16th Bengal Cavalry was highly regarded for its luxuriant waxed full beards. To shake off their corrupt image, the Indian Police force has now followed suit. Officers are being paid to grow military-style lip epaulettes in an attempt to enhance their social standing. Superintendent Mayank Jain said, "Sadly, our police are better known for growing pot-bellies. For obvious reasons, the popular "Bollywood Villain" style of moustache has been barred from our officers."

A few years ago there was a legal battle betwen air steward Victor Joynath De and Air India, who had banned his handlebar moustache from their aisles on health grounds. "I never dreamed of trimming it," he said, "In the 33 years I have worked for the airline, my moustache has attracted many adoring eyes inside the plane and on the ground." But Indian Airlines thought otherwise and reduced Mr Joynath De to a desk job at Calcutta airport. He took his petition to the highest court in the land, claiming that growing a moustache was his fundamental right. I am delighted to report that Mr Joynath De won the case, his lawuers having cited Sikh stewards' permission to grow their hair, beard and moustache without any restrictions.

Finally, dear readers, a friendly reminder on social etiquette. Though India is no longer part of our vast Empire, we should be grateful that they take our filthy hippies off our hands once a year. But then who needs to travel to India when all the glitz and glamour of Bollywood is on our doorstep? My recent chat with a fairweather "eco-tourist" in Brighton was most enlightening. I quote: "We're like, really Buddhist? After finishing my textiles degree, we hitched to Kanpur and lived on Sri Baba's ashram? Really cool - until Ben's pierced goatee went septic and I had my period." At this point a quaint English proverb springs to mind: "If an ass goes a-travelling, it won't come home a horse."