MIDWAY : Maintaining individuality

Abhaya Raj Joshi

It grew up with me and enjoyed the taste of almost every thing that I ate. It did not bother me when I was a kid because it was in its infancy too. I didn’t care enough to notice its slow growth until suddenly after fifteen years of nurturing it I decided to give up on it. No I am not talking about my pet or a plant that grows slow. I am talking about what men have and women don’t, what some men to grow, some like to keep short and some do not keep at all. Yes I am talking about facial hair. I still remember when a teacher at school asked my friend to shave his facial hair. “Cut your facial hair son, I won’t be surprised if someone thinks you are a teacher in this school!” The whole class burst into laughter. Although I had far shorter facial hair than my friend, I thought it was also time for me to shave.

But time went on and it grew along. But one fine day, I went to the barber to cut all my facial hair. I came home to receive giggles from my sisters. But it all ended after sometime. Now the hard part was to go to school with a different look. Will everyone laugh at me? Will anyone notice it? What will happen if they also were amused? Then I decided to act normally as if nothing had changed and mustered up courage to face the challenge. I got on the bus and as usual sat down on my regular seat. “Thank god” I said to myself because my friend was absent. But there were other people in the bus who were my classmates but they were only my so-so friends. I had just relaxed after finding the situation to my benefit when one of them said,” hey look he’s cut his moustache!” But I was lucky that the bus had already reached school.

Thereafter, feeling quite unsuccessful, I shored up “plan B”: to cover my face as much as possible with whatever I get. Classes started and because I used to sit on the front row, no one even got a hunch. All went well and the last class began. I was relaxed about the fact that I was successful in my plan. But suddenly the teacher said, “Abhaya you are looking different today. Oh! now I get it, you shaved!” That moment my blushing cheeks were as red as apples from Humla. But to my surprise, no reaction came from my classmates. That day I was a relieved person. My fear had left me and I was back to my own self again. Now after a whole year in college, I do not care about what my friends would say if I cut my hair short or shave off my facial hair. Maybe this is what maintaining one’s individuality with time is all about!