#6 – The one you can’t selfie

In this time and age of selfies, there is a set of pictures that you just can’t take of yourself, print and hand out. The picture that needs to be taken in a studio with bright lighting, particular background, right size and perfect looking. The passport photo.

Or should I say that dreaded passport photo. I’ve had my worst photos taken at studios when I go for these pictures. It starts right from the time I step in. The photographer has a glance in my direction while taking someone else’s picture and says, “this will take a few minutes, please go get ready”. I look at myself in the mirror there, up down not once but thrice and decide I’m good to go. I did spend a good 15 minutes at home looking into my mirror, painting my face and smoothing down the ropy strands of hair. He is done with the previous client and turns in my direction and says “please go sit”. Under the harsh studio lighting, through the entire length of all the lens attachments in the camera, he looks at me and says “do some touch up madam”. There it goes.

So I give him a stern look and say this is enough, please go ahead with the picture. By this time, I just want to get it over with. So I give my widest toothless smile and look in the

This is how it starts

direction of the camera hoping I’m looking straight into the lens(It takes time to get adjusted to the bright light bouncing off of everywhere and I keep squinting in the process).

Now, the photographer keeps barking instructions – open eyes wide, not that wide(I look like Mr.Bean when he’s trying to look serious), chin up, head turn slightly to the left, no no right, little, little more, that’s too much, left now (sounds like helping someone reverse in the days when there was no reverse camera). Now I’m fed up and its showing on my face. I’m practically glaring at the photographer and he says, “Perfect madam! Hold the pose”!

The end result

I would like to say the nightmare is over but no, there’s more. The photo is uploaded to a desktop where the guy in front of the computer makes a few clicks and voila! I’m unrecognizable! He changes my skin tone so I no longer look dusky dark but more like a Caucasian with distinct Indian features. He smooths out all pimples and blackheads making me magazine cover worthy. The fringes I had kept covering my receding hairline were promptly removed to reveal a nice bright patch of skin.

I know any amount of protesting will make my picture become like godzilla’s twin(he has the power to make that happen unfortunately) So, I resign and pay up to collect my pack of passport photos.

I take it out very rarely after that. Only when I need to add that ‘other woman’ photo to any form/application. And I always wonder who she is.


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