Pavitra Sankaran: The Moustache

A hairy story from the Duckbill Workshop in Chennai.

“Ouch!” Yash nearly yelled but bit his tongue just in time. He had better not let Dad hear him. He picked up the razor again and ran it slowly, and much more carefully this time, through the foam on his upper lip.

He had three minutes before the alarm rang. he had to dry the razor, put it back and wash his face with soap to hide the smell from the shaving foam, before Dad woke.

Yash was fifteen and desperate. He was the only boy in his class without a moustache. And had no signs of growing one. Not even a little bit of fuzz. Not the faintest, slightest hint of one.

Yash had tried everything to make one grow. He had applied hair oil, Dad’s and Mum’s, and even Yamini’s (yuck!). He had applied eggs, beaten and separated. He had even secretly bought one of those Hair-You-Grow sprays advertised on TeleShopping.

And now he had decided to start shaving anyway. Maybe that would remind his hair follicles.

Dad had a luxuriant moustache. Grandpa had a marvellous curly one. Even Grandma had a few strands on her chin. But Jaswant uncle had the best moustache of all.It spouted from his face like a forest, like a true Amazonian rainforest, like something that belonged on the face of Maharana Pratap Singh. Yash wished and prayed and hoped, one day his moustache would be like Jaswant uncle’s.

On the Saturday after he had cut his lip shaving with Dad’s razor, Yash woke up feeling slightly giddy. His eyes were gummed shut. He staggered to the bathroom and splashed water on his face. Something was wrong.

Yash looked into the mirror. He nearly fainted. There it was. A moustache. A magnificent, black, large moustache, turned upwards perfectly at the edges.

But Yash knew this moustache. He had seen it on…Jaswant uncle! It looked exactly the same.


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