“…each time you are frustrated to the hilt and tell me you’re close to a breakdown is when you get your next project.”
“But I don’t ALWAYS do that.”
“Each and every time my love, each and every time.”

While I’ve thought about it a lot of times – shoot someone’s wedding for some”thing” in exchange instead of cash or make a logo for somebody for something in exchange – but in a monetary economy it’s more a day dream than a practicable thought.

While I might be able to barter with my potential clients, I will not find anyone else willing to barter their services for mine. What am I going to tell the sabzi-wallah [ aka grocer ]? Today I will take a picture of you and you will give me one kg onions? I think not.

Pity.

“We need to do a photo shoot for our corporate brochures and need models + photographers. As a start-up, we can offer credit & gratitude rather than professional fees.”

Someone must be paying for the printing of the “corporate brochures”.

Shot this event. Got invited by a friend, took my camera along, made 25 frames only. Over a 2-day event.
They liked the images. Wanted to use them. Without pay.
Reason : “We’ve already paid the photographer we had hired but he did not produce good work.”
No comments.

All those crying hoarse from virtual rooftops about this being unrealistic and that being far from the truth. Don’t be stupid. Really. Get help. In the form of intelligent friends with whom you can have a conversation, which extends beyond the borders of “Who did you bang that night?” “What’s your current favorite alcohol?” “Traffic sucks.” “My Mom hates me.” “My job is killing me.”

There is no truth. Just your version of it.
Things happen yes. Those are facts. And very few know those facts. All you know, especially if you were not present there, is a “version”.

So A got slapped by B. The word “slapped” itself means different things to different people. Without your knowing who A and B are, if you call the “incident” fair / just / unjust, you are stupid. What if A is the father and B the son who drinks too much alcohol? Now reverse, B being the alcoholic father and A the sober son. Grow up. There is no excuse for being narrow minded.

Apart from the notion that you know the truth, you also color it when telling it forward. Mostly to your advantage. Admit it. Accept it. Being aware of it will allow you to sleep better and night and you can even call me up to tell me how wrong I am. As long as you are aware of what you’re doing. Maybe, then, we can even sit together and have a drink. Who knows. These things happen. Movies borrow from real life. The reverse is true rarely.

If you don’t understand what I am talking about above, you probably have very little appreciation for art.

Briefly, I have a very typical story : did the typical B.Com, MBA, worked for a year as a management consultant. Quit. Started freelancing as a graphic designer – identity, print, web and whatnot. After 4 years of that turned into a logo design specialist. In year six turned to photography and I shoot mostly portraiture, lifestyle and weddings now with very very selective clients for whom I still create visual identities – logos / branding etc. I am still not sure what I love more – identity design / photography – so I’ve settled, personally, calling myself a visual specialist [ ooooh! 😀 ]. I love colors, structure, chaos, to travel and weddings. Tough to shoot yet great place to learn how to shoot really. Constantly on my feet. A wedding shoot is the only way you’ll ever see me at a wedding 😉 This year I’ve had a chance to travel to Canada, France, Italy, Holland, Austria & Switzerland and there is nothing that can make me move from India, ever. It’s chaotic yes, most people are vile and untrustworthy yes, but the warmth here… I aint found it nowhere else. I am a stationery addict. I buy diaries and notebooks and sketchpads by the dozens and a buy a lot of books as well. I don’t have a library at home but if I built one, it would be full. Moleskines. Swoon. Lambrusco and Sherry by the bottle please.

No matter what I do or what I say, I no longer have your attention.
I can sense that you have spread yourself too thin.
That there are too many things and people pandering to you.
That you are lost.

Attributes like quality, patience, trustworthiness, conversation, integrity and beauty are no longer easy to recognize in this whirl of everythingness.

I stare at a flat surface the entire day.
The flat surface that is my window into your world.
The entire world is now your world.
I stare and yet I find nothing of substance.
It is the same for you.
What do you hold close to your heart still?
How can I snare your attention?

When I send you an email, your reply is distracted.
When I send you a text on your phone, your reply is distracted.
When I speak with you on the phone, your tone is distracted.
When I meet with you, you are distracted.
I am among multitudes who want to snare your attention.
But you, are distracted.

Do I need to touch you in so many ways, at so many different times a day, with so many different attention-seeking tactics?
Do you need my distractions to add to the already-existing multitudes?
Do you need me still?

[ This is related to social media and advertising and life in general and the ever increasing gaps in required attention spans and existing attention spans. ]

One can love more than one person at a time. Romantic-type love, not just friendly love / maternal / paternal / sibling. Of course, degrees vary and perceptions definitely do. [ I think I might have written about this earlier but it keeps coming back and haunting me because I find it difficult to articulate my “explanation”. ]

And to be the someone who is loved by many, is a special place to be. Special because it’s a whirlwind of emotions and a concoction of good and bad. Overwhelming, yet with a flavor of addiction. One needs to be a special kind of human being to handle being in such a vortex and not let it spin out of control. And the cycle never stops. You’re nice, so you’re loved more and so you’re nicer still, etc.

To be able to feel the rush of chemicals in my head and body when the people indulging in love are not me or mine. To be able to watch and swoon and smile.

Sometimes, it’s both the weather and it’s him, even when I’m wading in the desert and he’s making love to someone else.

I was being introduced to her nose because I couldn’t see her face behind it. I was having a conversation with her nose. I was having a staring match with her nose – there was nothing in the room as big as her nose.

I turned to the guy next to me. I had to confide in someone about the tyranny of her nose. I gasped and whispered in his ear, “What’s with her nose? Is that real?” He gasped and whispered back, “I’m marrying her soon.”

Ouch.

Marrying her? More like marrying a nose.

And that’s how handsome men are lost.

She’s 16 years old – on paper. Doesn’t look more than 14. She reeks of sweat and whatnot. Always ready with gossip. Was elated that her girlfriend’s boyfriend lost a hand in a work-incident; was giggling the entire time she was relating the tale. [ Some friend. ] She didn’t know how to cook so I taught her some and now she can cook a decent enough stew or two. Her mother is in the same trade. Cooking, cleaning, washing.

She is my maid. Her name is Bharti. And she is representative of Bharat’s rural women. In my eyes atleast. Uneducated. Overworked. Underpaid.
This one’s a little different though – she works at only two homes in the entire colony – a deviation from the others who work at atleast six homes.

She has some quirks but overall she’s no different from the other maids I’ve had over the years. I prefer doing my own housework but other demands always take over and I am unable to handle the stress. So I hire someone to help me out.

She languidly stares at walls while pretending to broom the floors. Same with when she has the mop in her hand. She stares out the window while washing the utensils. She sighs and rubs at her eyes while chopping vegetables. Once in a while she will ask me for a glass of cold refrigerated water. She refuses to touch the shitpot – “No, we don’t clean those.” I asked her why that was so. “Only jamadars do that, it’s a dirty job, we will become unclean.” I said, “So since I clean my own shitpots, that makes me unclean and a jamadar as well? And you take money from the hands of a jamadar! So you’re already unclean.” Of course, she didn’t get it. Expecting even an iota of intelligence was my fault.

While she does the housework, I am on the phone answering calls, working on the desktop and generally not paying her much attention – if I spent time literally standing on her head, why hire her in the first place? I’d much rather hope for the best and pretend that she does a passable job. Which she does. A passable job.

On any average day, she takes 30 minutes in total to sweep and mop the house, do the dusting, clean the two bathrooms and wash the utensils. The day I stand with her and get things done, it takes her 90 minutes to do the same. I told her to take 1/3rd the pay on those average days and the full pay on the one day I stand with her. Panic. “But that’s not how it works!” So I try my tack of logic again. And fail. She just stares at me dumbly. But if I don’t give her the shock treatment every once in a while, the 30 minutes will turn into 20.

I have to match wits with a witless 14 year old maid who would rather be having a roll in the sack with her best friend’s boyfriend.
I live in exciting times.