Not all heroes wear capes, true. Some have a signature moustache, think Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman of the Indian Air Force. Held captive for three days in Pakistan after his aircraft was shot down in an aerial dogfight, the braveheart returned home to a hero’s welcome.
After taking down Pakistan’s F-16 jet with his Mig 21 Bison, Abhinandan is now taking over the pop culture. Merchandise with his imprints, his gunslinger meet mutton chop beard moustache, are already in demand, then there are parents who are naming their kids Abhinandan.
Dhiren Makvana gets his moustache trimmed similar to the one sported by Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, who was captured and later released by Pakistan, inside a salon in Ahmedabad. ( REUTERS )
A quick browse across the internet would spring up various products including T-shirts and accessories with the his face, his iconic moustache, and his famous ‘I am not supposed to tell you this’ printed across them. Websites such as T-Shirt Bhaiya, Fully Filmy, Amazon and Eknumber.in are selling clothes with ‘Abhinandan’ prints. Even Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has released a special jersey to honour the hero. BCCI’s official Twitter handle tweeted a picture of the jersey on the day of Varthaman’s release that read, “#WelcomeHomeAbhinandan You rule the skies and you rule our hearts. Your courage and dignity will inspire generations to come 🇮🇳 #TeamIndia”
Flea Markets like Janpath and Sarojini Nagar also getting a lot of inquires for such merchandise. “Hamare yahan kafi log poochne aa rahe hain ki Abhinandan ki T-shirt ya sweatshirt hai kya? Maine khud ke liye bhi ek website se li thi, toh mai unko bhi wahin bhej deta hun, ussi website pe. Abhi maal hamare market mei ana shuru nahi hua hai, par aap dekhna aane wala hai,” says Ashu, who works at a menswear stall in Janpath.
Eateries too have been offering discounts and freebies to celebrate the hero, one such example being Pizza Hut – that offered free pizzas to any customer who was named Abhinandan.That’s not all! Abhinandan has become a top choice for baby names for new parents, too. The twitteratti have also been sharing posts about people who are naming their kids after the Indian Airforce pilot. Navpreet singh, a Delhi-based entrepreneur, shares with us, “My wife is due in April, and if we have a baby boy, we will name him Abhinandan. I really admire his courage, and naming my kid after a real hero will be my way of showing respect to the armed forces who do their all for the country.”
His moustache, now being called Abhinandan Cut is what people are asking for. “I read online that some 650 people got the Abhinandan Cut in Bengaluru. Here in Delhi, the demand is high, too. Many of my regular customers have asked me for it too. Those who do not have enough hair also are asking for tips to grow it. Maybe this will be the trending cut for 2019 now,” says Moosa , a Delhi-based hairstylist.
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First Published: Mar 07, 2019 13:05 IST