I *heart* Bombay (and well..Boston)

I'm urban..in the way other people are mountain-people or tunafish junkies. I love city life...something about dreary concrete blocks and grumpy people totally gets my juices flowing. Ergo, this will be a blog about me, my two favourite cities (Bombay and Boston), my addiction to Vietnamese coffee and my views on Gregorian chant and it's efficacy in curing some types of tympannic membrane rupture. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Reflections on a photoshoot

Audition time and I realized I neither had a set of pictures with me in them nor the cash to actually go get something professional. I tried all my contacts - some were in Goa, one was getting married, one was err..in financial difficulties and would charge me a bomb. In full panic mode (and after intense procrastination...both usually my hallmarks), I finally agreed to head out to Lokhandwala with my cool friend (and fellow Tshirt shopper) Sonali to check out the studios there. After all, with wannabe actors and models a dime a dozen (or Rs. 4.67 a dozen to be more patriotic) there, I was bound to find someone there who could hide my blemishes (read stress zits) and make me look ...er... "cool".

Finally, I found someone cool, interesting, experienced and what was most important - in my price range (strangely also my criterion for a prospective date) and set up an appointment for the next day. He asked me to bring several changes of clothes ("Only cool ones please, no fullsleeve shirts or pleat-wallah pants") and wear makeup! Well, I wore makeup once in grade school (I was Dr. Sunlight in our school's production of some bizarro play encouraging 4th graders to take personal hygeine seriously) and I wasn't planning on wearing any again...unless you count the foundation I'm forced to use to hide hickeys..

I went through my wardrobe (3 shelves of a Godrej steel behemoth) and finally found something "cool". An el-cheapo shirt I bought at Fascination that had grown (or shrunk rather..) to become my favorite shirt and a pair of jeans. Full of trepidation, I headed to Lokhandwalla and the photoshoot where I discovered I was to be shot outdoors...on a VERY busy street no less. Oh how fun! How do the skanks at America's Next Top Model do it? I'll tell you why they have no problems...cause there's not 200 unemployed men staring at them from 5 feet away while they try their best to pose! That's why! Anyway, I wa frogmarched (that's the word for it...phottographer to one side, lighting assistant on other and chai-walla lackey bringing up the rear) into a carpenter's shop where I was supposed to "pose" with err..tools. While I've had my share of posing with "tools", these were a set I'd never seen in my pampered middle-class life. Much to the amusement of assorted carpenters (Jesus?), I proceeded to pretend to saw a plank of wood and plane it. (OK, so I just re-read that sentence and every cell in me is screaming to make it "pretend to "see" a plank of wood")

It's hard to get direction! 'Look cool", I'm ordered. What the Fuck is that? If I knew how to look cool, I'd be draped around a hottie at Zenzi or something instead of sweating at a carpenter shop! Plus, it's just as hard to "look cool" on demand as it is to "say something funny". My photographer cracks me up trying to show me what cool is. Then he scolds me for smiling and tells me to look serious instead. And cool at the same time. I am never gonna win this one methinks. Anyway, the deed is done..and off to Photoshop it goes! Time to get rid of those scars, zits and blotches that the Bombay air has carefully deposited on my skin. All done and I see it on the computer. I'm SO embarassed as the entire photo studio comes around to see the results. I quickly pick up the shots and exit right. The next day at the audition, the "almost too young to be critiquing me" people pick up the one that's least hideous and say we're filing this away for future reference. And don't call us, we'll call you. Umm. OK. I mentally notch up another ..notch? on my cliches I've heard list. It ranks right up there with "It's not you, it's me" and "I'm just not ready for a committment right now".

I met my awesome friend Andy for a coffee and for some honest-to-goodness, no-sugar-coating views on my photos. He gulped, sighed and asked me what mood I was in at that moment. I said I felt vunerable, alone and insecure. "Yep, you look good!" he says. I wonder if the answer would have been different if I told him I was feeling awesome, top of the world and my self esteem hadn't been better. "Of course, that would change everything" he replies...these pictures are bad! Fat, fat, fat, bald, cold, fat, vacant. There.

Anyway, in the truest tradition of my favorite show on reality TV (till the Amazing Race comes back on) America's Next Top model...I present to you....my best shot.


  • At 11:23 PM, Blogger protocool said…

    hey Vik,
    You are not only as good as those wannabes on america's next top model but definitely better with all those grey cells flanking your vivid pictures. So dont worry about being cool on request. No matter what they say u r the coolest one since the kelvinator fridges ;)
    Love, Prafs

  • At 1:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    As I was saying, HOT.


  • At 6:27 AM, Blogger Meenakshi said…

    Put up the rest of the pics! I want to see them!! I saw some of the ones on Friendster-- looking good Vikster.

    What are you auditioning for? What happened with channel V? And I thought you were coming back to Boston!!?

    Did you slash those T-shirts yourself? It seems a little too risque for you too Vikster!!

    Toodles, Meenu

  • At 8:06 PM, Anonymous the third decade said…

    yeah, let's see more of the photos!

  • At 2:19 AM, Blogger mumbai_jerry said…

    nice photo...you look good....btw what were you looking at??

  • At 11:23 AM, Blogger jedi said…

    that was dissonance alright. didnt think a photoshoot could be this hilarious and the results this astounding. Awesome pic, once again.

  • At 11:04 AM, Blogger raccoon said…

    I remember seeing a Harrison Ford Photoshoot when I was a teeny kid and he was on at the planer and the saw...and yeah...he managed to look VERY cool!

    Nice pic - are those sweat splotches on the tee?? a sweaty tee and sweaty hair would have been great too. Good lighting.

  • At 8:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It is a great pic! you look fab.

  • At 5:02 AM, Blogger Vikster said…

    Protocool: Thanks! Those aren't grey cells though..more like grey hairs..

    RO: You're biased. your opinion does not count.

    Meenu!: The rest of the pics are on my Flickr. You have the link. The audition was for Channel V like I told you earlier..Boston will not happen. As long as M. still lives there.
    As for me and risque, hell yeah baby, I've changed!

    Third decade: If I knew you, I'd email you a link to my Flickr page..

    Mumbai_jerry: I was looking down. That's my interpretation of the "look cool" pose.

    Jedi: Cheers mate.

    Raccoon: I was at the planer and saw as well..it's just that those pics looked like crap.
    Those aren;'t sweat stains..they're cleverly disguised swater stains from those squirty-bottly things..

    Anony: Thanks dude!


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