I recently got engaged to the most beautiful girl in the world (yeah yeah, hate the game, not the player!). I had a very good time as part of the engagement function. Though I was a little speculative about this whole Hindu Engagement ceremony, I actually sort of enjoyed all the attention I got.
After the priest declared us engaged, with the kind of attention we were receiving, I wondered if we just achieved something that human kind has never achieved before. I was able to witness our guests becoming happier than us. The way we were wished by people, for a second, made me wonder if we got married already. The photographer was having a tough time trying to frame us all with at least one person not showing their back to the camera. The videographer laid two chairs and three stools, one on top of the other and balanced on one foot, just to get a glimpse of what the hell was going on.
Talking about photography, I know it’s all done for the remembrance sake. But should the groom definitely be smiling with his tooth shown always? During the initial photo shoot, after the first two pictures (where I thought I smiled my best smile by the way), the photographer gently asked me if I can smile a little more. I tried, this time, seeming like a guy who is happy that he is finally getting engaged. Photographer wasn't satisfied. He said ‘innum konjam saar’ ('little more sir'). I slightly got impatient and thinking of being a wise-guy, I mockingly showed my teeth and smiled. He said ‘avlo dhaan saar, hero maadhiri irukkeenga!’ ('thats it sir, you like a hero now!’). I had a brief Vivek’s "this piece?????!" moment and the photographer kept taking a few thousand shots. I wasn't sure if my attempted joke became one on myself or if I truly looked like my photographer's hero. When I came back to senses after being temporarily blinded from the zillion watts flash, I asked him to show me the photographs, which were not too bad after all.
Realizing I had to maintain the smile for the entire evening, (not that I had a choice, as the photographer was very conscious of how my smile varied with time - he must have had a mental graph with smile on Y-axis and time on X-axis!), I continued to do so effortlessly. After a few photographs, I slowly felt a pain in my jaws and realized it was not all that easy to fake a smile. To add to the complexity, my facial components are wired in such a way that if I maintain a fake smile for prolonged time, my eyes tend to close automatically. Awesome. Now the photographer got something else to point to. He said 'saar, kanna moodaatheenga saar' (‘sir, please don’t close your eyes, sir’). I nodded, made sure my eyes are wide open and continued the shoot. In a few seconds, my smile faded away. He stopped and pointed that my smile is missing. I realized, got back my signature smile and he fired a few shots, then requested to me not to close my eyes. My face did not seem to get the hang of the process.
Like a scientist, he suddenly exclaimed 'saar, neenga nallaa sirichaa unga kannu moodikkuthu saar! (‘If you smile hard, your eyes close automatically sir’). As a resort, I explained and later pleaded to the photographer about the "smile-eye" coordination problem I'm blessed with. He innovatively thought of a '1-2-3-ready' technique to make sure my eyes are open and the smile is retained at least for that one split second when the camera shutter opens.
That sort of helped, but not for long. The problem grew further when the bride joined. She knew what kind of a monkey face I can become while facing the camera (compare to behind being one). My open-smile-closed-eye-closed-smile-open-eye syndrome continued for a little while and the pressure was building, as the girl was quite comfortable smiling away to glory. The photographer can't help but compare me to her. He politely said 'avangala paarunga saar, andha maadhiri siringa saar' (‘ook at her sir, try to smile like her sir’). I looked at her. I know she has a Colgate smile and I would look like a happy buffalo if I tried that. I laughed aloud, almost uncontrollably. Looking at all the drama, she joined too. Photographer took that as a good opportunity and fired a few shots. He was either satisfied by then or I got better with time or he felt I was totally hopeless; he never complained about my smile that evening!
But I am definitely looking forward to working with him during my wedding, even if he is not.