This is a mind opener for those people who judge people by looks. Starring Mr. Newman Fernandes.

Mr. Newman Fernandes was the principal of St. Xavier’s College, Mapusa, Goa while I was there from 2002 to 2005. I by no means want to attack or ridicule him but I just want people like him to know that his actions are not justified.

Let me begin with the part when I hit puberty and then started to grow a beard. Yes, suddenly the face started to fill up with lots of hair and I for some reason (mostly and maybe because I was a metal fan) though that it was really cool. Well, to set the record straight, I still think beards are cool. If Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni and Tom Araya could keep a beard, then so could Lovell D’souza!

Newman for some reason never kept a beard. And I, being a nice student of the institution, for some reason never asked him why. I could have just walked up to him on any given day and ask him, “Sir, Michelangelo had a beard, but where is yours?” Well I never did that. But one fine day, I’m standing outside the St. Xavier’s college canteen gate, quietly sipping on my cup of tea, checking out all the hot chicks that made it to the institution. When suddenly this hand grabs hold of my beard. Well guess who zeroed in on me. The principal was standing there with my beard in his hand while time froze for a few seconds till I could recollect what exactly was happening. My brain over-clocked trying to recollect what nonsense I might have done in the past few days.

  • Broke college property? – No.
  • Abused someone verbally? – No.
  • Came smelling of smoke for practical sessions? – Maybe.
  • Caught screwing around with some girl in college? – In my dreams, Yes. In college, No.
  • Faked lab reading and staged experiments? Yes.

Sh*t. This guy is the principal. And right now I’m so screwed. Before I could give him the “WTF” look he said, “You fellow, where do you think you are come? This is an educational institution this is not the way you come to college!” Ok, so I was wearing some real dirty  jeans, must have had some metal band black t-shirt on by default, but surely I wore a clean underwear. And then he lets me know, “You are growing this beard for what? Is this some new fashion? You think anyone will give you a job with that beard? You give me your I-card.” Ah, the classic statement – “You give me your I-card.” “Tomorrow come to my office first thing in the morning and show me if you have a chin and then you can take your I-card back.”

“F*ck you man, I don’t give sh*t”, that’s what I thought. :) But I just said, “Ok, Sir” and he left. You don’t mess with the head of the institution when your career is in his hands. So there went my I-card, “Lovell B Q D’souza, SYBSc” up with the man to his office into the box of blacklisted students. The disgrace of the college would be collected in a box in his office. Well that was that.

I walked up to my cousin Ryan D’souza who saw all this happening and was enjoying all of it. Nothing like amusing yourself at someone else’s cost. I was like, “He told me to shave my beard.” Ryan, “Tell him you have some sickness and you can’t”. Me, “duh!”

Part two: The Psycho relatives.

Now if you stay in a village with all your relatives being your neighbors, life can be bliss, life can be a sh*t hole. I had my share of both. Till today I find my relatives very amusing. Yes, somehow I find their conversations very funny, not that because they crack god jokes, mainly because they talk sh*t most of the time.

Some relative to my mom, “Is you son sick? Why is he so thin? Hope he is not doing anything bad you know.. like ‘bad’. May be he is in bad company. And what’s that? No one in ‘our family’ keeps beards. What is this rubbish?”

Me (in my head), “Well f*ck you!”

First of all I wasn’t sick. Yes, I would get the occasional fever and I still get it now. Thin? WTF? I always though I was on the heavier side. By ‘bad’ I assume they were referring to sex, drugs and booze. Well the answer is no. Bad company, well maybe yes, but I don’t regret any of the nonsense I’ve done in life. You f*ckers, the so called ‘bad company’, you know who are, you guys rock! And, who the f*ck defines which family gets to keep beards and which family doesn’t?

Back to the beard.

So I sadly cut off my maybe four inch long beard with a scissors that might have never been used again. Then the rest of the remaining hair got shaved off. Next in line was some amount of Pop’s Original Old Spice after shave. That stuff burns, especially if you’ve shaved after months.

The next morning I’m back in college, standing there at the college canteen gate, like a rape victim. Feeling the cold morning breeze hit my chin. No a good feeling at all. I get a few stares from some people who see my face for the first time since they ever joined college. My friends laugh at my baby face look. We exchange a few set of highly sophisticated abuses and have a good laugh.

I walk up the stairs to that dreaded room labelled “Principal’s Office”. I step in and Mr. Newman Fernandes gives me a big smile. I give him a big smile too, more out of sarcasm. He runs through the content of the box, locates my I-card and hands it over to me. I get to walk free. I give him a nice, “Thank you, Sir” and I carry on with life.

Well Newman, now this part is for you.

Two of my other friends and I wrote the final year exams with our beards, nailed the exams with our beards, gold plated you and the name of our college (when we secured the highest number of distinctions ever), with our beards. We walked up and collected our certificates from you, with our beards.

I got a job, with my beard. I interviewed for one the biggest company in the world, with my beard. The guy who interviewed me had a beard. I got the job, with my beard. I proudly took my beard along with me on my first day, and my I-card also has a photo of me with my beard. And, till today as I type this I have my beard.

So next time, any of you fools out there ever discriminate a young guy because he has a beard think twice.

PS: Please do not leave any comments targeting Newman directly (I shall delete those). He’s a nice guy, but stereotypes too much. Let him live his life. But yes, you can post politically correct comments.

Power to the beards!

13 comments so far

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  1. loved reading this Lovell and it brought memories to me about college!!

    At my time we had Fr Nicolau who was the Principal and later Fr Antimo and to my bad luck my dad was the Professor there as u know!! So u can be sure I was observed like a hawk…but still managed to bunk and any guy I spoke to was reported to my Dad!!

    Newman was one of my Professors – he wasnt a bad guy but then guess he had to be a disciplinarian – but the guy did have a good sense of humour!!

    But beards off to you or rather beards on to you!! You have done well for yourself!!

    • I’m not saying Newman was a bad guy. But when you mess with the beard, it gets personal.

  2. My brain over-clocked trying to recollect what nonsense I might have done in the past few days. and the next 5 lines…

    that was classic, original and hilarious..


  3. “In your first interview at that biggest company in the world, you were interviewed by a guy with a beard! ”

    Not the sort of detail I’d leave out.

    • Done, done.. Added it to the post!! Sorry about that.

  4. I am happy you got this out of yer chest Lovell… you poor scarred dude ;)

    • Simonyi my good friend.. Thank you for appreciating it. You dunno the pain and trauma I had to go through to keep my identity in place :P

  5. Hahahah…awesome stuff man….n to think on what grounds he was outsted…:P

  6. Hmmm, guessing, its time for me to keep the ‘B’ and maybe the ‘MO’ would look good too,

  7. Ah! If only more guys were as passionate about the beard! More power to u and the beard growers inc…may your tribe increase! Amen

  8. “I get a few stares from some people who see my face for the first time since they ever joined college. My friends laugh at my baby face look.”

    Hahahahahahahah!!!!! i still remember seeing ur face clearly for the first time wen we went to chennai…anna, u luked so cute…so lovell-y :P

    • Oh is it?! Well I did not want to frighten the firangs!

  9. hahaha this is funny shit I had totally forgotten what a stress buster your blog was bookmarked it again now to randomly read some stuff when i need a good laugh :P