Others by how they behave. Examples - you are an a**hole, he is such a prick, she is so dumb.
And yet others need to be classified on the basis of their most striking feature, one that can't and won't escape your attention no matter how hard you try. Examples - you have curly hair, so you'll be called 'Maggi', he has wide ears, so he'll be 'Agarkar', she's HOTTTT!!!
It is about a character belonging to this third category that I wish to speak about today. For he is simply not a man, he's a beard!
Known variously as Baba, Baabbe, Dadaji, Buddha and other epithets associated with his age, he claims to be 39 years old. And then comes the problem of his religious beliefs which even those believing in the same name of God as him loathe. Who likes an extremist? I'm sure the reason he goes and stays in a place of worship for 10 days before his festival-in-chief is because his wife throws him out! Doesn't want him to be around and spoil a joyous occasion with his always-say-die spirit!
He then goes on to behave in the most outrageously touchy-feely way possible. To joke with him is to invite Laden himself onto your head, for he will, in a way publicised by Sajjan's portrayal of Betaal, peck away at you with such a look of revenge in his eyes as though you were somehow responsible for advising Dubya on Iraq.
And then comes his love for the balding opener. Now don't get me wrong, the latter is someone I idolise in life for his simplicity of thought. But our Beardy will fight for the latter's small achievements to be played up in a way that would be embarrassing for the latter himself. Which is why we believe that Mrs Opener is Beardy's adopted daughter, coz no one behaves the way he does for Opener even for his own son. Son-in-law, most definitely, aarti and all inclusive.
Then comes the problematic problem of Beardy's penchant for Kaun Banega Crorepati. You see, Beardy is sort of our assistant boss, and since boss goes away before edition closure, our Beard is mostly the chap in charge. And he, who is busy playing Houdini all day, suddenly awakes from his mental slumber at 9pm and orders wholesale changes to all you have done. As Pink Floyd said: "All you create is all he'll destroy".
We call this the KBC effect - almost like Big B asking - "Arre, 9 baj gaye kya?" And when you wish to discuss it with him, Beardy - not Big B - on second thoughts he's also a Big B - Big Beard - or WB - Weird Beard - anyway back to the point - will take offence as if you have eloped with the aforementioned daughter, who's already happily married to Opener.
Which brings us to the most overwhelming issue - the Houdini act.
What is it that he does when he disappears and reappears and (repeat cycle) (repeat cycle) (repeat cycle) (repeat cycle) (repeat cycle) (repeat cycle) (repeat cycle) (repeat cycle)?
He writes stories. About pitch canopies and tractors. About how a particular university's ground will host WC warm-up matches. Which the DDCA promptly denies the next day and laughs at him. About how a former Delhi opener (not even a has-been, a never was) finds Mr Arrogant's technique worthy of Test cricket.
He rehashes stories from press releases. Puts his own byline. And runs it on the front page. While ignoring inputs sent by reporter on the ground.
He junks the juniors' sweat. Says it isn't relevant or necessary. Then goes to stadium. Interviews same player. Asks for your copy to be cut short so he can run a 200 word box on the player's birthday.
But the Beardy incident that takes the cake is this:
Once the "39" year old Beardy was feeling the chill in his bones, IN SUMMER, because the split AC vent, that is about 10 feet high and 15 away from where he sat, was "blowing directly onto him". So he decided to shift to the outside of the department, where the kid affectionately known as 'The KID' sat. He called for IT assistance for his computer to be shifted there. IT wallah duly did so. He then wanted his monitor moved too, since the photograph of his beloved Alma Mater was on it, revealing a hitherto-unknown technological wizard side of him.
IT chap told him it wouldn't be necessary. He insisted he wanted it, rather brusquely, or shall I say in typical Beardy fashion.
IT chap says "Ispe aapka naam likha hai kya?" Beardy gets pissed, even though one as devout as him should ideally be devoid of any emotion during the period of fasting, and says, "Mere roze na hote to main aapko deta iska jawab" and proceeds to question IT chap's parentage for the next 10 minutes, though to give due credit, he has never used a swear word in my memory. Then, he ends with "Mere roze na hote to main aapko deta iska jawab" and IT chap turns around and says "Baaki kya raha" and walks off.
Such is the tale of our beloved Babaji.