I have to thank Falstaff for this one. I am suffering from my Friday evening angst. I-can't-believe-work-has-finished-so-soon-but-wait-I-can-blog-till-I-go-for-the-party-I-wish-I-had-a-topic angst. It's what I face at the end of softer weeks at work. Which as you know, by now, did become rarer the past couple of weeks. However, sanity has returned (hopefully) and you'll see more of me. Anyways, here goes.
I must write about passport-sized photographs. I wish I could like Neha, post all the photographs that have ever been taken, and really show you what I mean. But all of them are in Delhi. The one in Bombay will not capture what I am saying. Hence, let me try a pen-picture.
In school, I used to have a moustache, which used to make me look very un-Brad Pitt like. More like a cross between Danny Dengzonpa and Priyaranjan Dasmunshi, only very irritated for being a cross between them. This is the photo which was taken for my passport. Till the passport expires (soon enough, though), I am forced to look at it everytime I have to travel abroad. Actually, my looking at it is fine. It gets really bad at immigration counters. While I may give my broadest smile to the person behind the counter, my photograph only shows disgust, determination and anger. Which might explain this South African experience.
College passed by, relatively harmlessly, though I did frown once again in my B-school applications. I had the experience of youth on my side though, and didn't care a trifle. After all, living with a frown - disgust, determination and anger - for twenty-one years does impose its own wisdom.
So, I sailed through. B-school is where I decided to start taking chances. Which had disastrous consequences.
Somewhere during second year, I was going through a bit of mental trauma and gaining weight at the same time. I decided to grow my hair. Do note that there is no explicit connection between the two sentences. However, in my mind, I needed a change. Hence, hair had to grow longer*.
The last haircut I had was in July. Around the end of September, my hair started resembling a work-in-progress nest. I had images of Hugh Grant and his tousled hair in my mind. Unfortunately, the mirror image couldn't keep pace with my mind. To the outside world, there was a cap. Thankfully, it was Europe and decently cold.
When I came back to India, the nest had transmogrified into luxurious tresses. Kidding. It was longer no doubt, but instead of getting a bounce and a shimmer seen on TV, my tresses either decided to rest heavily on my head and slide in noisily behind my ears or do a Meghnad Desai on me inspite of all my please. It was one bad hair month after another.
This was the time when the companies started coming to campus and asking for resumes. Unfortunately, a fine one-page standard format resume won't do for some companies. Especially for banks and FMCG companies. Make that most of the companies I could have applied to.
These companies instead ask candidates to fill a four to six page form. Which is okay. Except for the minor issue of a passport-sized photograph.
I had taken my last set of photographs in college. These served me well during the summer internship process. However, as luck would have it, all of them ran out. I had no choice but to consider taking a photograph of the hair. The camera had other ideas.
I gelled my hair, combed it (after a gap of seven years) and pasted it over my skull for the photograph. I even wore a light blue shirt and a bright red tie to look the part. Unfortunately, by the camera refused to entertain these corporate ambitions and almost out of spite, highlighted the strands of hair peeking out behind my ears. While John Abraham has made a career and an endorsement on the same look, I wasn't sure that the companies behind those ads would have liked an aspiring model to handle their brand management.
I tried hiding the strands behind the ear. However, the hair had become a massive heavy structure by now. A little tug behind the ears let loose a small wave and the top of my head had a shape which would not be unfamiliar to fans of Boris Karloff, as Frankenstein. When I tried to get the top to behave, the sides split down the seam. And I am still talking hair here.
Twenty minutes in the shop and I gave up. I wasn't going to cut my hair and my hair wasn't going to cut me any slack. The companies would have to take a walk.
Thus, ended my chances of getting any job which demanded a photograph. Actually, with hair like mine, a couple of companies which did pre-placement events also had the shivers... about hiring from my business school.
One day before placement I did get my hair cut. A couple of companies which didn't require photographs and which I carefully avoided meeting (since I wanted to join them) had given me shortlists. I did get the job that I wanted. Since then my hair has been well within the legal limits. So have been the photographs.
* What I am not telling you is that I went on student exchange where a haircut cost 5 euros at a shop run by someone who looked like a cross between Rudolf Hess and Stone Cold Steve Austin. I said pass.