I loved my India Today article.
It was well researched, well written, and well shot.
I had the time of my life with that one piece.
Bhaskar Paul the photographer spoke Bengali to me the whole day as if I was from Calcutta and I kept reminding him I'm a Delhi Bengali and a Mumbaikar at heart. But he insisted that I could do with a little improvement.
We didn't eat through the day. There was just so much to do. So many changes I needed to have. I wanted them all. I wanted all 5 changes. I had a makeup artist for the first time since my wedding to put make up on me. And immediately Bhaskar wanted me to remove it all. He said I was way too pretty to be so pancaked. I laughed. A photographer who had shot top Bollywood actors didn't want ME to have make up?! I was on a high. That energy remained until dusk. We shot through 5 different changes; a casual but form fitting lovely black shirt and my favourite Diesel jeans, a Desigual dress I had picked up at the last minute from Dubai in January (thank God!), a red and black sari with reception jewellery which my husband and I posed in and it looked like we were married again, albeit much fatter, a casual work look that is ethnic and still very me and my absolute favourite Maneka Harisinghani dress with black swarovski and a pink trimmings that go perfectly well with the cover of my book (Losing My Virginity and Other Dumb Ideas)
Bhaskar made me pose in each outfit. First sitting, then standing, then leaning, all the while trying to figure different smiles, different moods, different styles. I loved it all.
However, in between I got a little tired. He could see that. I didn't have a maid. So my child wanted to cling to me. I had to look after her in between shots, redoing make up, changing outfits and feeding her. The husband was at home to look after but with a cricket match going on, he was too consumed to really care. However, when the pics got out he was extremely proud of me. I knew he wd be. I just needed to give him time.
By the evening once we had finished, Bhaskar and I had some upma and coffee and went through the photos. I pointed out how fat I was looking and threatened to never talk to him if he didn't photoshop my belly and thick arms. He turned to me and with a naughty smile said. "Didimoni, how about I just leave it and see what the people really think? If you're fat, or not!" I pleaded. But the photos have come out with not a trace of adjustment. I know. I could have looked thinner! But I prefer it this way.
This is who I am.
I am all those moods. I am playful and most comfortable in a lovely dress that highlights my complexion. I am sexy in a low cut blouse and jeans. I feel traditional in a sari and wear fusion kurtis when I have fat days. And I love wearing glam dresses that make me feel special. A black cocktail dress any day!
When Bhaskar had entered and I had shown him my clothes, he had turned to me and said, “This is a very high class magazine. Are you sure you don’t want to wear anything better?” And I had told him, “You know, this is probably the best I’ve got. Cos I’ve never had the money to blow on a Dolce and Gabbana. I’m middle class. And proud of it and that’s what I want to project….how a mother and a woman can really be pretty just by smiling!”
And we shot. And at the end of the day, he turned to me and said, “You know what, I’ve seen prettier clothes. However, the most ordinary clothes and the most glamorous clothes only look good if the person wearing it has inner beauty. And my dear girl, you do.”
Olina was another wonder. She made this happen for me. I thought that she would not put more than two photos in small boxes and let it be. She called, she wrote, she made me feel larger than life. When the 4 full-page photos came out, I was ecstatic. I was jumping for the whole day at her beautiful words and the photos. Not even a model ever had the kind of coverage I had. Moreover in a magazine that is circulated all across India and the world. A magazine that is known for “substance.”
I pray this is the beginning of a new journey for me. I hope everyone wishes it for me too.