Ved came down the stairs and sat on the table. His parents and his brother were already seated.
“Here comes the Beehive man.”, his father whispered.
Irritated, Ved looked at his mother. She signaled him to eat.
“You’re the one spoiling him. Why don’t you ask him to shave that beard? It looks disgusting!”
Ved ate without looking up. He was already having a tough time at work. His boss had stopped giving him important assignments. The new guy was the star in the office these days. He never understood what the hype with clean shaven guys were. Sporting a beard was manly.
After bearing some more of his father’s lewd comments, he stopped eating half way and went off to his room.
After a while, his brother came to his room.
“Bro! What is wrong?”
“Nothing. Go away!”
“I won’t. Tell me what is bothering you.”
“You don’t want to know. Just- just leave me alone.”
His brother sat next to him silently. After about 15 minutes,
“I’m not getting any of those good assignments from the office. A new guy gets it all. Dad always complains about something or the other whenever he sees me. And Shilpa-“, he stopped midway.
“Shilpa? Who is that?”, he asked with the hint of a smile.
“A new girl at office. She doesn’t even give a glance in my direction. She is friends with everyone else except me.”
“You like her.”, it wasn’t a question. He could make that out. Ved didn’t say anything.
“What is with the beard?”
“That is another problem. My friends and I decided to take the No Shave challenge. I can’t shave this off mid way. It would be like failing the challenge. It is my prestige issue. ”
Vinay left the room and was back with his phone. He began reading out of it,
“Around 345 BC, Alexander the Great decreed that soldiers should not have beards. He feared that during the battle, enemies might pull beards.
In a survey, women found full bearded men to be only 2/3rds as attractive as clean shaven-men.
Bearded men are 51% less cheerful than clean shaved men.
Scientists think that men shave to make women feel safer.
And when it comes to success outside relationships, 98% of the Forbes 100 list of the world’s richest men are clean shaven.”, he looked up at Ved.
“And in Popeye, Olive would have loved Bluto if not for his beard.”, he added his own point to it.
“Dad is not your enemy. But don’t you think he just pulled your beard at the dinner table? And that Shilpa, how do you expect her to be friends with you when you look so scary? Sure enough, don’t you see that your beard is what is making you so depressed?
As far as that job is concerned, I remember you got good projects until a couple of months back. Your beard must be the reason there too. You could solve all your problems if you forget that challenge. I’m sure your friends will understand.”
He placed a hand on Ved’s shoulder.
“Go sleep. It’s late.”, was all that Ved said.
Next morning, Vinay woke up to see a clean shaved brother getting ready for office. Needless to say, his father was very cheerful that morning. Over the day, he got a text saying Shilpa had come to ask him a favor. In a week’s time, Ved was the popular guy in office.
Vinay looked at his phone and said, “What an Idea sirji” 😛
Accepting and acknowledging the tag from Sajith.