I never photographed well… I know thousands of you will say the same. Some with an air knowing fully well that they do look very well in the picture and hoping that the person holding the picture will say vehemently “oh you look lovely”. Some are honest… I fall in the latter category.
It wouldn’t have mattered much except that I was 24 and had not found a suitable boy on my own. The task therefore lay; and heavily at that; on my poor mother’s shoulders.
“Do you have a picture of hers”; my aunt asked my mother. “One in which she looks really nice”. “Oh yes”; gushed my mother.
“Ah…. Very well….”, pronounced my aunt after a few minutes of looking at the picture my mother had produced. Then choosing her words carefully so as not to offend my mother said, “She does look lovely in the photograph… but perhaps you have something in which she is a little older..?” For you see my mother had given her a picture taken when I was 8 years old. It was the first and last time I looked good in a photograph.
Then began my ordeal by camera! Picture after picture was taken….and discarded! I am not a drop dead gorgeous kind of girl… well that you would have surmised with the fact that I was 24 and let my mother look for a guy! But photographs really do me injustice!
Class pictures. Pictures for the placement brochure. Old albums. New Year pictures. Birthday ones…all looked alike. I hated being photographed! I do not understand how on earth you are supposed to look at an inanimate object and smile as if it was your best friend! I felt ridiculous and looked ridiculous when the washed proofs came in! I was always glaring at the object that seemed the bane of my life!
‘Someone’. He was the friend that I knew not if I would see again. And I knew it was important that he had a picture of me- at least it would matter for some time… and god knows I tried… but I knew that it was not to be so-that he would leave India with a picture that would show me happily smiling into the camera; for each time the camera clicked, I would look at his face expectantly and would see him shaking his head with disappointment.
I once sent a picture to a friend of mine… he was a friend of a friend of mine (whew!). Friendship is one thing that does not prove the transitive property. But I really liked him. And he wanted to see how I looked like. After a lot of hemming and hawing- I sent him a picture with the lines saying, “The prettier one is not me!”
Bang came the reply on seeing the picture- “Oh. So you are the one in the black dress”. Touché.
My reply was a monosyllable: “yes.”