Netherfield Ball – The Invasion of the Bearded Men at Sanjay Kak’s Book Launch, India Habitat Center
The party secrets.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Even the mere thought triggers hair-raising pain. Were Kashmir to break off its marriage to India, and the Indian army were to quit Kashmir, our beloved motherland would lose its manly face.
For what is Kashmir but India’s beard?
This anatomical reality became as clear as a hairy man’s waxed chest when The Delhi Walla attended the launch of Sanjay Kak’s book Witness: Kashmir 1986-2016: 9 Photographers.
The evening offered a spectacle beyond belief—a great number of Kashmiri men and all of them with a beard. Mr Kak had a beard. Photographer Kaushik Ramaswamy, who, incidentally, is a true Indian—his father was Tamilian and his mother is Bengali—also had a beard. Even the cheery young man guarding the makeshift bookstall had a beard (see photo 3 below).
Since beards have a way of looking alike, everyone looked like everyone. This means I cannot caption the photos below–sorry.
Even though a few women were rumored to have been sighted—including a famously reclusive lady novelist, said to be attired in a leather jacket and jeans—the conspiracy of beards was such that it seemed impossible to locate the beardless sex.
The evening went on to hit its most memorable moment when I came face to face with an incredibly bizarre sight: a man… without a beard! Sagir Ali was standing alone in this homeland of hairy manhood. On being confronted for committing this fashion faux pas, the clean-shaven cheeks coldly replied, “I’m from the Indian army.” (See last photo).
Whose beard, whose lips