The Ugly Indian Man

Indian men achieve ugliness through practice, writes Mukul Kesavan

My male friends and I live in what you might call a 'bachelor pad', and our hygiene standards are perfectly in line with that stereotype. I won't go into too much detail, but let's just say bad things grow in all kinds of places from time to time.

It's not just the physical space that suffers from utter and proud negligence. It's also our own bodies. Beards grow long, and often food particles hide under them for days. All kinds of things find housing under long, unkempt nails. Rooms are enveloped in a unique mixture of body odour and perfume at all times.

As men, we're infamous for having a little too much self-acceptance, so you can imagine we're very secure in these habits. There's no lack of unique rationalisations either. Sometimes we look in the mirror and like to imagine ourselves as mad scientists, far too engaged in intellectual life to attend to physical concerns. With those who will try to change us, we will share nice little Harvard articles by other men to prove that we don't, scientifically speaking, need to bathe everyday.

As men, we're infamous for having a little too much self-acceptance, so we're very secure in these habits.

In this essay from 2007 , renowned writer Mukul Kesavan writes that 'Indian men are not born ugly. They achieve ugliness through practice.' Kesavan leaves no stone unturned in describing our disgusting habits with comic detail. I related hard and laughed out loud. If you are a man or know one, you will too. Here's a sampler:

Examine the nails of any Indian man: the cuticles will be yellow with haldi and the underside of the bitten-off tip will be spotty with accumulated dirt. When you think of where they put those nails, this is not surprising. I’ve seen respectable men conducting conversations with their index fingers two-digits deep in their nostrils, digging with industrial enthusiasm. If you ever see a desi man delicately rubbing the tip of his index finger over the pad of his thumb, beware. Don’t go near him: he’s rolling the bogies he’s mined into little balls.
The ugly Indian man: Of hygiene, hair and horrible habits
Indian men aren’t born ugly: they achieve ugliness through practice