Some four years ago, barber shops were full! Everybody, I heard with even a whiff of a mustache was trying to shape it downwards like Wing Commander Abhinandan’s whiskers! Even mummy’s eyebrow pencil disappeared as those without whiskers, used hers to get Abhi’s curved mushy look.

“Look at me!” they said, and still say, strolling away from the hairdresser's razor, “I’m a brave heart too!”

“Oh no, you ain’t my friend. It’s not just the mustache that made him a hero in a land bereft of men of courage and valour!

There’s more to the Wing-Commander, just hear me out dear mushy-wallahs!

His was not to complain when all he was equipped with was a fifty-year old MIG 21; an aircraft labelled a ‘flying coffin’ for all the deaths it’s caused. What a lesson for some of us who say, “I’m not equipped to fight. I’m weak, sickly, uneducated, shy, fearful, penniless! Let someone more equipped fight while I applaud and grow a similar mustache to show solidarity!”

But the Wing Commander took that old machine up, and gave chase to an F-16, a much superior American built jet fighter. He did not radio for support but gave chase, alone! Quite unlike you and your ‘lynch’ mobs and ‘Romeo’ squads who attack one lone man and lynch him isn’t it?

Abhi fought alone!

Not just alone, he crossed the safety of Indian skies, into Pakistan airspace! Yes, enemy territory! And we, who within the safety of our comfort zones, our WhatsApp groups, attack and shout and yell with rabid hate, would you cross alone and do such talk to the very ones you deride with words, or do you hide behind TV screen or social media?

Abhi, then, my recently mushy friends, got shot down, and was injured. He was attacked by fierce mobs. Did he kneel and plead for mercy? No! He fired in the air, jumped into a pond, swallowed his papers, tried to fight back to the end, but was captured! Then walked shackled, bloodied and injured but with fearlessness and dignity! And that same courage was seen as he was questioned by the enemy, his voice firm and brave, not giving in an inch.

And later as we cheered, he walked tall and strong, not revealing through limp or demeanor, his injuries, back into Indian territory across the Wagah Border.

Learn from him, you who sported and still sport his mustache, and others who have made him a hero. Stop whining about your weak body, but take the MIG 21 you still have, and without using the mob, your gang, your majority or minority support, stand alone, lock onto the enemy spreading communal hatred, and take him or her down! Fight alone for the eradication of poverty, against police atrocities, against intolerance, then walk tall like Wing Commander Abhinandan did!

You who are still in yon barber shop, come out; it’s not just a curved mustache..!

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