Tuesday, July 27, 2010

When 'The Best' is Not Good Enough!

The other day I decided that it was time to get some portraits done of my toddler son and set about the task in earnest. After asking around, I managed to pinpoint 'the best' photographer in town for kids’ portraits and decided to fix an appointment at the earliest.

This was sooner said than done! The man’s office assistant repeatedly stressed that ‘sir’ had a busy schedule and hence we would have to be content with just a short session. Though I had a full-blown photo shoot in mind, with a few family portraits thrown in, I decided to agree to their conditions so I could first get a look at his work and then go for a second session.

She first suggested a time when my son usually takes a nap, and I told her as much. The next available slot was for 12.30 pm on a Saturday. I thought that to be a very awkward time, especially for children’s photography—usually the photographers prefer to shoot at a time when the child is likely to be in a good frame of mind.

Against my better judgment, I decided to go ahead and fixed the appointment. The chosen day dawned bright and sunny. On Saturday mornings, our household hardly stirs before nine in the morning. However, on this particular Saturday, we were up early and rushed to complete all our chores quickly.

Around 10 am, the photographer’s assistant phoned to confirm that we would indeed be at the studio on time. I assured her that we would. She also added that ideally my son should wear a sleeveless outfit and if there were to be any costume changes, they would be chosen by ‘sir’.

I estimated that it would take about an hour for the photo session. So, by noon, I had lunch ready on the table so there would be no waiting once we returned home hungry. I dressed my son as suggested and tried to get him to have a snack, which he predictably refused.

Sharp at 12.30 pm, we were at the studio where the assistant asked us to wait in the lobby. We waited, and we waited, and waited. Every time we asked, she would say that ‘sir’ would be here in a few minutes. Half an hour passed, and still there was no sign of ‘sir’. By then my toddler had taken to scampering around and wiping the floor clean with his nice clothes.

I began to wonder how much longer I could keep a check on the kid when the power went off. I sat in the stuffy room expecting the generator to be switched on any minute—nothing happened! Then I thought maybe they were conserving the backup power and would turn it on only when the shoot began.

By then, we had been waiting for almost 40 minutes. Then, the photographer sauntered in and I breathed a sigh of relief—happy that we could finally start. But no, that was not to be! Turns out that the studio relied on the generosity of MESCOM to ensure that they had power supply during photo shoots!

That was about all I could endure on a hot, sultry, afternoon! We decided to call it a day and told the photographer and his assistant that we would reschedule at a convenient time during the upcoming week and went home.

Imagine my shock when, on the following Monday, the man’s assistant calls me at 5 pm and says, “Ma’am, this is to confirm that you will be here at 5.30 pm for the rescheduled photo session!”

I ask her why I was not informed about this in advance and she casually says that we had fixed this time slot during our visit on Saturday. I firmly told her that we had done no such thing and it was not possible for us to be at the studio at such short notice.

I was fuming as I disconnected the call and wondered if the woman had any idea how much time it took to get a toddler ready without upsetting his good mood!!

That was when I realized that if I wanted to get some professionally done photographs of my son, I might have to settle for less than the best. And after my experience with 'the best’ in town, it did not seem such a bad thing after all!!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

In The Summer Time...

Today, the photos shared by a dear friend of her family trip to Mysore brought all the memories of childhood summers spent in that city of kings and palaces flooding back! Seeing my friend’s children at the Mysore zoo took me back to a time when my cousins, brother, and I posed for similar pictures each year.

Every summer, the moment school closed for the holidays, we would all converge upon our grandparents’ house in Mysore, with or without our parents for company. My grandparents’ quiet abode would turn into a bee hive of energy and activity for the next few weeks. The ruckus that would spill out onto the streets was enough to put to shame even the boisterous spectators at a cricket match!

A ‘tonga’ ride through the city streets, a trip to the zoo, a visit to Chamundi Hills with its famous temple dedicated to the Goddess Chamundeshwari, a glimpse of the musical fountains at Brindavan Gardens, and at least one evening spent taking in the breathtaking splendour of the Mysore Palace with its twinkling lights, all topped our list of activities to indulge in during the languorous summer.

Our favored mode of transport during the entire summer would be the tonga and not just any tonga, but the one with Gafoor and his horse Moti !

The Yezdi Children’s Park with its miniature buildings and children’s traffic park as well as the Railway Museum with its toy train were some of our other usual haunts.

When we were not traipsing around town pretending to be tourists, we spent the day playing card games, board games, and all kinds of outdoor games. A couple of summers we even built a ‘tree house’ of sorts and spent the days pretending to be jungle-dwellers!!

And, of course, on Mondays, without fail we would all be present for the evening ‘puja’ at the temple next door.

Before you jump to conclusions, let me set the record right. It was not any divine calling that took us there; rather it was the delicious ‘prasadam’—a type of salad with ‘moong dal’ and cucumber with a garnish of mustard seeds, curry leaves, and a dash of tangy lemon—the very thought of which still makes my mouth water!!

If only I could relive those splendid summers all over again!

(Thanks Reks, for inspiring this post!)
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