No one wants to be a stereotype. Even if we are, then we try hard to keep a low profile. Everyone hates stereotypes. Stereotypes suck. Stereotypes are perhaps, the scum of the earth. They have no business being alive because all they can do is be a stereotype. Stereotypes are often categorized as desperate individuals seeking attention, and in most cases, it’s right. Stereotypical people piss me off beyond imagination – they make my blood boil and I’d much rather ignore their existence than rant about them, but unfortunately, last night I discovered a horrible truth about myself. I’m a stereotype.
I was on my way home, riding my disgustingly rickety bike (which is going to fall apart any day now), and I rode slowly. Very slowly, waiting for the rain to pour down. Its been close to seven months without a rain in Bangalore, so when the skies became dark and overcast at 5 in the evening, and when the wind picked up, bringing with it the familiar feeling that comes before a downpour, I hurried to finish my work and rode back slowly.
The drizzle started ten minutes into the drive, and it felt so good. For once, I was looking forward to a heavy downpour. When the first drops of the cold rain fell on my skin, my thoughts went to something the bastard from the cigarette shop across the street from my office had told me: “You South Indians are all alike – you grow a beard without a mustache and before it begins to look good, you shave it off! You have no self-control when it comes to facial hair! Look at my father,” he said pointing to an old, withered creature sleeping on the sidewalk next to the cart, “He hasn’t shaved for ten years now. His beard is longer than him!”
“Hey!” I said, getting slightly offended. “I shaved my beard-without-mustache off because a special woman told me I looked better with a complete French beard. That’s why I shaved it off. Don’t stereotype me!”
“If I knew typing,” he said, “I wouldn’t be here selling cigarettes, saar.”
Futile as it were, the argument ended with him short-changing me by half a rupee. So, as I drove back, I couldn’t help but notice the men around me and in particular, the general area around their mouths. As I re-read the last sentence, I feel so horribly disgusted with myself. Most people had a french beard. Some of them had a beard but no mustache. Some were clean shaven. Some were women, whom I’d mistaken for men. Anyway, I realized that the cigarette guy was right – South Indians have absolutely no self-control when it comes to facial hair maintenance. We constantly waver between worrying whether having a mustache will get in the way of kissing a beautiful woman or whether having a beard will spoil the fun of slurping sambar.
I’m such a stereotype. I’m not gonna shave for the next ten years.