Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bearded days ...

I know what you are thinking. You expect me to write a post talking about how it's been a long time since I visited this part of the woods, blah blah ... well, that is true. But nope, I am not going to talk about all that. Instead, just like a Michael Bay movie, let me jump right to the action.

So this morning I was walking from the Mambalam station in Chennai to my aunt-uncle's house. It was 5 in the morning. Barely a furlong (it was shorter than a furlong ... but I like to use the word since I have no clue how far/near it is) from the house, a policeman stops me ... and this conversation unfolds:
Policeman: Hey, where are you coming from?
Me: From Bangalore. Now I am walking from Mambalam station.
P: Come here, show me what's in your bag.
I open my bag and show him what's there.
P: What do you do?
M: I am a software engineer.
P: You don't look like one. You look like a terrorist ... like Osama Bin Laden.
I keep quiet.
P: Show me your ID card.
I show him.
P: See (pointing at a clean-shaven version of me) ... this is how you should be. What can't you be?
M: I am sporting a beard for style ...
P: But anybody who is a terrorist has a beard ... don't you know that?
M: Not true. I can show you photos of terrorists without a beard.
P: No way.

At which point, I decide that 5 in the morning isn't a good time to get into an argument. I just smile and walk home.

And after the “action” comes the rumination. I remembered Rajjo telling me about the time he visited Lincoln Memorial (or was it the White House?) with an unshaven look and everybody kept staring at him. So, we've reached that stage finally. We had probably reached that stage quite some time back; it just caught up with me now.

So what do I plan on doing? I needed 2 seconds to decide ... I've found a solid enough reason to keep the beard now. It's my own crusade of sniffing out the bigots of society.

On a slightly related note, later in the day, I was at the client office and needed to use the rest-room. I go to the end of the corridor and see doors – Ladies, Managers, Gents. And no I am not trying to channel Dilbert-isms here. I was genuinely shocked to see this. Do managers pee nectar? What sort of company even comes up with such practices? Again, there are probably a thousand companies in the world that practise such “discrimination”, it's just my first time.

I am really pissed.
(and not the managerial kind!)