Colossal forts, imposing palaces, towering temples, colourful attires, captivating culture; there are infinite things that allure many to visit Rajasthan. I went for the sensational moustaches. Yes, you read that right! Old-fashioned gentlemen clad in white kurta - dhoti, with heads carefully wrapped in traditional multi-coloured turbans, necks loaded with inherited antique jewellery and well-groomed moustaches bedecking a wicked smile – This specific image has fascinated me for years. The ultimate mystery of a well-behaved mooch compelled my interest in the fascinating subject, and I decided to unveil the wizardry myself.
As a dutiful tourist I have wandered around most of the prominent monuments, but I never abandon my quest – decoding the Rajasthani mooch. While roaming around the local markets, temples or monuments, you will inevitably come across men with the most interesting moustaches. I made it a point to approach and praise them. And that did the trick. After engaging in many conversations, I realized there were endless stories and remarkable facts lauding this masculine accessory. Every man generously shared theirs with immense passion and pride, and that made me realize how serious they are about their mooch business.
While casually speaking to a middle-aged local shopkeeper in Udaipur, I learnt it took him years to grow and efficiently manage a set of fierce moustaches that extended till his sideburns and chin. His typical mornings include an hour of dedicated mooch time - he starts with gently brushing his hair, puts in a little mustard oil, brushes it again to give a final shape. He makes sure to keep swirling the ends with his fingers throughout the day, for that royal twirl. A private guard at a famous local eatery in Jaipur disclosed a wonderful secret. He generously applies butter to make his well-defined charcoal tinted mooch stay in place. That's a considerable investment, you see! When I politely requested for a picture, he instantly pulled out a little comb from the front pocket of his brown jacket and tidied up his facial hair carefully before posing for the portrait.
This Rajasthani mooch is not just a bunch of facial hair. It is an emotion.