CW: Some crude humor
I sensed that they could no longer stand each other. So, I sent them running and set a drone after them.
You see, I had always wanted to shoot. I grew up watching so many 007 movies, I was confident, by the time I reached a certain age where I could straddle a gun or a lady as the occasion demanded, I would go onto dangerous missions with a 100% success rate, where I and I alone would be humanity’s last hope.
But there were three problems. First of all, in my country, there was no majesty to serve. The second one, by the time I turned 15, I was already straddling spectacles of -5.0 power on my nose. And the third and most important one, I had living parents, who naturally, straddled me with expectations even M wouldn’t dare.
I wasn’t a smoking gun where studies were concerned either. But a very convincing book I read once made me believe, that if you desire something with all your heart, the universe conspires to give it to you or something like that. So here I am, shooting people and sending drones after them.
I don’t take my assignments lightly at all. I am still on missions that could be humanity’s last hope. Just consider the present case. This boy and girl, who are planning to be man and wife, have what I would say as good a chance of getting along with each other as the spy and his mole of a girlfriend. Clearly, they have been ordered by the great Indian Joint Familia into such an arrangement. I see an earnest desire in them to slip into a compatible mode, but they couldn’t manage to give convincing shots of holding hands, holding lotuses on boats or even sitting with their backs to each other in sunflower fields, so I asked them to run. Now, with a minimal amount of exposure to emotions on their face, the popup of forests in the ghats grabbing the frame, I will be able to produce a charming ‘save a date’ invitation that would gather their friends and relatives to a big fat wedding. Where would they go if I had not skilfully masked their insecurities and given a boost to nascent tenderness that could blossom into something good for humanity?
I have another couple scheduled for a mid-morning shoot. They are my favourite kind. They have earned the money they are about to splurge, and don’t dance to the tune of the throneless monarchs reigning the homes they were born into. Instead, they dance to the tune of the latest chart-topper from either Bollywood or Billboard. They even have an out of frame choreographer cuing them onto their dance moves in the atrium as I shoot. I can see it clear as the daylight flooding through the ceiling that It’s a bond built on ease and grace. And it shows in their moves. I feel confident I have recorded the first dance moves of a couple that will continue, at times Calypso, at times Kuchipudi, but most of the time in step with each other well into their sunset years.
The candid photo and video shoot for another couple is scheduled for the evening. As always, it’s such baloney. It’s like Moneypenny trying to take a clean shot at her target on a moving train. Doomed from the beginning. Thankfully, Q always equips me with a couple of lifesaving lenses. I use my wit and charm to make the couple do away with layers of paint on their face and send them off onto a couple of misdirections to snap on them in their unguarded moments, just like the Jaws- albeit a little lovingly.
Pre-wedding shoots are a breeze that grazes 007’s suave butt as he checks out the hot babe stepping out of the waves in her bikini. The wedding day or days leading to it is when the big guns are brought out and deadly shots are fired. My crew and I check the venue thoroughly and set up the equipment for any situation that may emerge. You never know who you miss out shooting from the best possible angle, only to repent later. But unknown to my crew I leave a few aspects to my spontaneity and resourcefulness. Otherwise, where is the fun in action?
The bride and the groom are always the easiest ones to capture on their big day. They have their set paths and positions and of course expressions. It’s the others, I take pride in presenting at their best. You see, friends, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, uncles and aunts are the ones who are mixing up mehndi with mithai, carrying garlands or bouquets with garrulous talk and overseeing the serving of feasts to the guests with snipers for eyes. It may seem impossible to capture them in their charming best but I never say die.
One thing that never fails to amaze me is how a particular moment always brings out the sweetness in people they wouldn’t believe they possessed. It’s a fleeting moment though. It runs on their faces for a shorter screen time than a random local in a colourful turban. The sight of the bridegroom tying the mangal sutra around his bride’s neck with the turmeric rice showered on them, the bride walking down the aisle with her father, or the couple saying Qubool Hai in turns, as the case may be, always seems to make people renew love in their hearts. They seem to float an inch above the ground or project a halo around their head for a few seconds. That is when my team and I dive in for the pre-title sequence. The family group photographs afterwards are okay, but they are just post-credits – endless and boring.
I know there are more missions out there that will test my capabilities to the extreme, as the world becomes besieged by viruses and wars. There may even come a time when people don’t want a Wedding Photographer to intrude into their intimate ceremony and I may lose my contracts. But I’m sure, that is going to neither shake me nor stir me. I will still find a way to lay siege to the lair and throw in my daring stunts to save humanity. If I give up, then who will showcase the best moments of their lives to their grandchildren long after the spotlight has shifted from their prime time?