So that’s nearly it for another year. The nights are closing in. Christmas is coming. People everywhere are gearing up for the office party and its traditional festive fisticuffs.
We’re coming, alas, to the end of ‘Movember’.
People are a bit cynical about the annual blokey fuzzurnalia, but frankly, it’s all in a damn good cause. Balls, you see, are something close to men’s hearts (and in many cases also their brains).
But like all good causes it now has to come with politics. Office politics.
Who raises the most money? Who looks most like a seventies porn baron? Who posts the most awful selfies on Facebook?
Thankfully, however, these modern machinations of the moustache are but nothing compared to those that beset the most fractious workplace in History.
This was an empire so luxuriantly hirsute that it eventually stretched from the goatees of Golconda right up to the chin-straps of Chittagong.
It was a whiskery world of forts, firmans and facial fuzz that was actually founded by a man called ‘Barber’.
So let’s take a trip into History’s hairiest harem, because it’s…
Mughal Movember!… and here are our Piliferous Protagonists.
Big on diversity, Akbar was the leader who always heard-out everyone’s ideas, and he thought they were all equally as cool.
Always just one of the guys, his firmans were all addressed ‘Dear Colleagues’, and he loved nothing more than chilling with his office homies. The away-days of his time were legendary, taking the team on far-flung jollies to the Punjab, Malwa, Gondwana, Rajputana, Gujarat, Bengal, as well as that notorious trip to Afghanistan.
So greatly loved was Akbar that he became known as Akbar the Awesome, which literally means ‘Awesome the Awesome’. Or ‘Awesome Squared’, as he likes to tell anyone who’ll listen.
Here seen clasping a picture of one of Akbar’s legendary bowling trips, Jazza really only had two great passions, and neither of them were profit or productivity.
The first was girls. Never one for picking between the pretty ladies, he had a harem the size of Leeds. His wives, if they wanted, could have staged a five-a-side football tournament. With substitutions.
His other passion was booze. His parties were infamous extravaganzas of drink, girls, sex, drink, girls, and drugs. And sex. But mostly drink. He even created his own alcoholic cocktail: a brutal mix of opium and arrack known as the ‘Jahangirbomb’. It’s said to have been the most disgusting liquid in human history until the invention of Dr Pepper.
Not one for the usual seventies porn-star Mo, Jahangir’s annual effort is, just like him, more at home in the free-love and narcotic world of the swinging sixties. He calls it his ‘Crosby, Stills and ‘Tache’, which is actually quite funny if you’re plastered on bhang.
His selfie captures him perfectly in his natural state. Legless.
The Shaggy Jagirdars
Swanning around the office with his drooping fuzzer and an upturned snout, he’s the most judicious of all the jagirdars. Old rupees through and through, he can’t stand leering newcomers like Indra. He may still use powerpoint and write passive-aggressive notices in Comic Sans, but he’s the Mr Reliable who holds the whole office together.
The Razor-Shy Rajputs
He and Indra, though, can’t stand each other. Indra, the cheekiest chappy in the office, has got the sleazy designer stubble and the oh-so-trendy quilted baseball cap. He’s the rakish Rajput for whom the only way is Agra.
This Movember he’s been cultivating a cracking, curly, ski-slope of a ‘tache which will be a great talking point in the cool bars of central Delhi. This is a good thing for Indra, because despite what he thinks, his banter is terrible. In fact, it’s so sexist it makes Abu Bakr-al-Baghdadi look like Beyoncé.
He’s pretty sure he’s the office comedian, though, and likes nothing more than having miniature paintings made of his arse, or sneaking some bhang into the coffee and watching Irfan get paranoid about the staplers.
Thank heavens, then, for Shah Jahan. He became office line-manager after Jahangir caught exceptionally bad man-flu and basically died. Despite being a bit of a stickler for the rules, he’s popular and his figures are good. He’s the boss who can usually keep Indra and Irfan from impaling each other on spikes. Come retirement he’ll leave a profitable company with swanky new offices in Delhi.
But he’ll mostly be remembered as a ladies’ man. Unlike his sex-pest predecessor, Shahj is more into romantic dinners and jewels. He’s also been known to woo the ladies with a nice garden, and gifts of the most beautiful building created in the history of all the world ever.
For him, Movember is just another opportunity to trim off the Errol Flynn mozzer and schmooze a few of the local princesses. After all, it’s never too late to meet Wife No. 10.
The question, though, is who will succeed when he retires/is randomly declared mad and locked in a fort.
The office fave is Dara Shikoh. He’s young, dashing, and trendy with a lovely light and airy Mo. A wondrous wisp that shows an other-worldly cool. He’s sure he’ll get to lead the office soon, and he’s planning to bring back the awesome days of Akbar: the banter, the boozy trips to the bazaar, the bowling. Especially the bowling.
And he’s got ideas, too. He’s been on a consultancy course and can totally use Prezi. He’s the bright future for the company, if he can just ace that final interview and also not get strangled.
Dara’s great rival for the position is Aurangzeb. Unfortunately, Aurangzeb is an asshole. Looking like a hybrid of Saruman and Grumpy Cat, and with a personality as charming as bout of haemorrhoids, he’s strict, serious, and extremely angry. All of the time.
There will be no more breaks for bhang. No more bum miniatures. The opium den will be banned, and jokers like Indra will be fired, and hopefully – if he can just get the okay from Head Office – impaled on a stick.
Aurangzeb hates Movember and all its frivolity. In fact, he hates it so much he’s grown a beard so no one can ever ask him to do it. Git.
And finally there’s Tom.
Brought in on secondment from Endeavour International Consultants (EIC), Tom thinks Movember is frankly a bit unprofessional. The kind of nonsense you might see at a less-good rival firm like Venture Overseas Consultancy (VOC).
He has little time for the heathenish ways of the office, and is there to bring in some up-to-the-minute modern workplace methods. He’s got all the data, the maps, the stats, the modern tech. He’s got the Oxford degree (Politicks, Natural Philosophy, and Oeconomics) and has contacts all the way from Lahore to Leadenhall Street. He’s also got that breezy charm that means he starts all his emails with ‘Hello!’, or ‘Morning!’. Aurangzeb doesn’t like this.
Unfortunately he’s also got a penchant for the opium den, a girlfriend in all the major religions, and gambling debts as long as the Grand Trunk Road.
Some say that Tom’s the future. But, because he cries at anything spicier than a rogan josh, and thinks a Sikh is a kind of kebab, no-one believes them.