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Friday, April 07, 2006

The Usual Suspect

It's been a couple of years, so I thought I'd go in and update my passport photo. Well, I don't really see the need to do that, and I can't understand why on Earth people insist on passport photos that are not older than six months. I mean, unless I was some hopelessly dark teenager on the verge of discovering the wonders of Fair and Lovely fairness cream, I don't think any of my facial features change as much. On the other hand, I suppose that one could be a victim of a terrible accident that leaves one's face horribly disfigured...but I don't think updating your passport photo would help much...nor would using your old photo as an example of what you once looked like...not in the heat of the immigration and customs check process, anyway.

But back to the passport photos, and the constant updating. So, after the age of about 11 or 12, and because they tend to issue passports for 10 years, the photo that was used back in the day was not updated. Therefore, it came as no surprise that at some point one of the immigration officers had a serious issue with me looking like a former shadow of myself incapable of growing facial hair. What did surprise me, however, was that in spite of being warned about it in places like Dubai, Bombay, Chennai and Delhi, but being allowed to continue on my journey thereafter, it was a fellow Malayalee immigration officer who didn't allow me to get on my flight at Calicut Airport. I guess I should have applauded his loyalty to his uniform and his motherland, but at that point in time my reaction was more along the lines of, "What the $@#&?!?!?!"

Anyway, it led to the photo in the passport being updated. But it didn't stop there because as you grow older and are allowed to carry your own identity, you find that everywhere you go they need to have a record of what you look like. So, it made sense to carry extra copies. Then came the whole "passport photo not older than six months" mandate. Whatever dude. Meanwhile, in the process of updating my self-image for record-keeping purposes, I realized that of all the pictures that people have taken of me in wierd or revealing positions, with various facial expressions to boot, the passport photo is the least flattering of them all. To echo the sentiments of an uncle of mine, "Why do they all look like jail photos?"

So, here's a lineup of the usual suspect, and though there may not be major alterations to appearance a la The Saint, well, maybe that's what's missing. Oh, that and an expression...any expression. Let's take a look shall we?

He may be little, but he's a handful alright! The Small-ayalee

We begin with one from waaaay back. The incidence of hydrocephalus is unmistakable, although, it has also been argued that I was in severe need of a haircut...or was that in need of a severe haircut?

Pugnacious, like a pit bull without a cause!
The What-the-fugg-you-lookin-at? (a.k.a. The Rapscallion)

Not one to toot my own horn, but the word 'rapscallion' sounds a lot better than when people call you a (y)idiot or a stupid. Yes, believe it or not, the word stupid is both a noun and an adjective...which means a person can be a "stupid (y)idiot or just a plain stupid"...much like the point that I'm trying to make. But notice the reduction in the hydrocephalic condition with the lengthening of the face. And please don't miss the thoroughly unimpressed, "you call that a camera?" look.

Oh my God! How did this one get in?
The This-Gilette-is-a-piece-of-Schick

A couple of years have elapsed from the last picture, yet the unmistakable look of being unimpressed by the equipment present in the room still remains...oh, and I'm talking about camera equipment, by the way. Not one to be too uptight about appearance for the most part, I would have to say that this is definitely one time when letting it go was letting it go too far. But with the advent of facial hair, albeit in sparse amounts, the cries of vive la sauvage could be heard all over this land.

Hmm...wierd, in a sort of hide-the-girls-he's-coming sort of way.

The Here's-a-lookin-at-you-kid

The first difference that one notices is that the clean up seems to have helped...somewhat. The obvious lack of a smile has now given way to the obvious lack of a smile with a hint of something randy. A double threat? In other news, surprise amounts of Mace sold in South India this year. Hmm... And will someone please tell me what's with the tangential seating arrangement and the hypnotist's gaze? You are feeling sleepy...sleeepy....

To say this is the best of the lot is an insult to the studio where this was taken.
The I-couldn't-give-a-fugg-what-this-looks-like

Not bad for a passport photo. Not very expressive, but not bad. Seemed to have cleaned up a bit, and finally figured out other uses for the pair of trimmers that I've been using to regularly inflict massive assault on the "hair up there". But the longer I look at the photo, the more I notice that there is an attempt to smile, but it's been repressed for some strange reason. Perhaps it was because I couldn't give a fugg what this looked like. ;-)

Pleased with something, but the expression is all equal parts randy and moron.

The Oh-my-God-you-lazy-eyed-freak!

The hint of a smile is stronger in this one. Or was it because I was trying to hide the fact that I was chewing something. From who? The photographer? WTF?!?!?! An obviously apparent element of the I-think-I-sat-on-something-but-I'm-rather-enjoying-it seems to tinge the expressionless expression. And the pink shirt? Well, it was a gift...just like I'm gifting the World with this inane post about myself...all the while listening to Bad Day by R.E.M., a song with the line "It's been a bad day, please don't take a picture." Uncanny coincidence?

And that concludes this edition of "Coming soon...To a correctional facility near you."

Enjoy people. And have a good weekend.
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