By Dinesh Wagle on November 20th, 2004 in Wagle Monologues
Originally published under UWB banner
beard (noun) hair growing on a chin and lower cheeks of a man’s face: a week’s growth of beard. a false/grey/bushy/long/white beard.
Thus defines the Oxford dictionary the word beard. We in Nepali call daari to what they call beard in English. Therefore, the hair on chin and lower cheeks of my face is daari. I cannot give you the exact number of my daari.
However, I can tell you how important they are to me. Very important. Daari generate talks, start conversations, and create such an atmosphere where people feel free to express themselves. They are thought provokers. They attract attention from both sexes. You might understand why my daari is popular among women. I will explain why men are interested in my daari.
Let’s start the discourse, I call it Daari Mahatmye, from the latest news. Today, I am no longer a bearded man. No daari, clean shaved face, cute and shining, at least for some of you people out there.
This is today. Until yesterday, the story was different. I was a man with beard. My daari was my identity. Some colleagues would call me “Daariwal”, the person who grows daari, or just “Daari”. I certainly didn’t have thick daari. They were somewhat bushy, thin, black but beautiful. That’s why, at this moment, I am missing them.
Fidel Castro has daari; Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam) wears long beard.. Why not me? They seem perfectly satisfied with their daari. So was I. Then why did I shave? One reason: Because I wanted to shave. Another: I did because of the talks. They generated too much talk. I as a person was being sidelined by my daari. I was being hid in them. People wouldn’t talk about me but my daari.
For Kiran Chapagain, a beardless fellow at the Kathmandu Post, I was Osama bin Laden, America’s most wanted man. Whenever Kiran would meet me, my daari reminded him of Laden. “Oh Dinesh,” Kiran repeated this for seventh time in our last conversation. “There is no difference between you and Laden. That white piece of the cloth on head is the only thing that is missing.” Did I look like a man America considers its number one enemy? I know, he wasn’t being rude to compare me with Laden. He just couldn’t hide his thoughts. My daari did the job by helping people start conversation.
Ameet Dhakal, the News Editor at the Post too would remember Taliban or something similar whenever he saw me. “Oh.. Dinesh”, he once told me before talking something about Daari. He said he shaved everyday except on Saturdays. That’s a day of relief for his cute daari.
Almost everyone would talk about my daari whenever they saw me. I would patiently hear their comments. For some, I was in deep tragedy. For others, I was a lazy man. For some beautiful women, I was a handsome guy. For other women, I was a jhyaure.
After hearing so much references of Muslim personalities regarding my daari, I became determined to find the relationship of daari and Islam. A quick search on Google and I found one website with this text (edited version):
Importance of the Beard in the words of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam):
- “I have no connection with one who shaves, shouts and tears his clothing e.g. in grief or affection.” Reported by Abu Darda (R.A.) in Muslim, Hadith no. 501 .
- “Trim closely the moustache and grow the beard.” Reported by Abu Hurairah (R.A.) in Muslim, Hadith no. 501.
- “Anyone who shaves has no claim to the mercy of Allah” Reported by Ibn Abbas (R.A.) in Tibrabi.
Well, I really don’t buy whatever Mr. Rasullullah has to offer. There were no reasons behind my daari. I didn’t find much time for them. This might be one. I wanted to have them for some time because I always wanted to have long daari when I was a child.
This might be another reason for me to sport daari.
In fact, I am a late comer when it comes to Daari. One of my uncles Achyut Ghimire who is younger than me by a few months started shaving his daari long before I had any hair on my cheeks that was suitable enough to call Daari. I envied him. Perhaps, that made uninterested in shaving.
I also found a story of Abraham Lincoln, the letter of Miss Grace Bedell and his daari. “All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husband’s to vote for you and then you would be President,” the 11-year-old wrote to the Republican Presidential candidate. He replies, “As to the whiskers, having never worn any, do you not think people would call it a piece of silly affection if I were to begin it now?” The site, where I found these letters, writes, “The rest is history. When Abraham Lincoln left Springfield on February 11th, 1861, bound for the White House, he was fully bearded.”
Well, no Grace Bedell has ever written to me with such suggestion. And I don’t think, at least for the time being, I will sport daari for a long period. Of course, I might enjoy different styles of daari in coming days. French Cut? Who knows?
When people saw me without beard, their reactions were intense. “Dinesh! Where the hell is your daari?” Everyone wanted an explanation. Did my girlfriend change her mind and come back? Ameet Dhakal too was surprised. He reacted by repeating what he had once told me: that he doesn’t usually shave on Saturdays. Milan Mani Sharma, another guy from the Post, thought I looked very fresh and ‘new’. Murahari Parajuli, a fellow reporter at Kantipur thought I was a “chicken chilli” meaning a hairless chicken.
Yuvraj Acharya, a Post man who is master at making conversations, related my shave to the World Toilet Day. An article about World Toilet Organization written by me had appeared in Kantipur. “Oh.. so you had vowed to shave on the World Toilet Day?” he wanted to know. Ganesh Rai of Kantipur simply smiled pointing at my beardless cheeks. I can’t remember all those people who offered their opinions regarding a bearded Dinesh or a beardless Dinesh. Did I say Dinesh? No, they all were talking about Dinesh’s Daari, not me or that is to say Dinesh. Oh..Daari! You took me away from myself. But I don’t hate you. Because you are right there on my cheeks.
5 Responses to “Beard (Daari), What a Lively Thing U R!”
1. Uzz! Says
November 28th, 2004 at 4:08 pm
Dinesh looks like a terrorist.
2. sanjay neupane Says:
November 30th, 2004 at 6:36 pm
It’s fantastic dinesh. I remembered the story of linkon and his daari. It took about 2 min to remember that was tild by u. any way i enjoyed ur daari mahatmya. I also feel to write in this forum. But lost where to start. But i deffinitely read and try to write too. any way dinesh keep it up.
3. ck Says:
December 3rd, 2004 at 11:53 pm
jis ka dari hai, uska sari hai aur jis ka muchha nahi uska kuch nahin. this much for today. to be continued….
4. H.S. Says:
December 7th, 2004 at 12:34 pm
Hey dinesh, u look much much much better with your thin daari. I think your daari itself is a new style to the daari makers. It gives your face a different charm. so, give a damn to those filthy comments and grow your beard until it looks just like that in your photgraph. You really looks coool with that! It’s your life after all. So, why worry?
5. Binita Says:
December 12th, 2004 at 7:23 pm
I think people with beards look really great. My husband sports one when he wants to. I think u should grow your beard again. Its cool. You look more serious and intelligent. Forget about all the names that people call you.