I feel inadequate about one thing. Truly inadequate. I just can’t talk about it.
Okay, I might as well confess since you’re insisting. I take totally lousy selfies. It gets worse when I try and fit my face and one other person’s into the 4.7-inch frame. I’m at my worst when I meet ‘celebs’ by chance and desire to take selfies with them. I had a fan moment, when I tried to take a selfie with the 6 foot 2 inch Wasim Akram at an airport. What I eventually got after eight attempts was my face, his chest and an Air India plane trying to take off in the background.
Illustrations/ Uday Mohite
See, I have to admit, there’s much that I dislike about modern technology. I still roll down a window to check exact directions, rather than scroll down my handset to check Google Maps. Old habits die hard, kya karega? Plus I don’t belong to the ‘Millennial Generation’ to whom all this is second nature. Also, let’s face it, not all modern gadgets/gizmos are superior to their ‘old school’ counterparts. I mean, Kindles vs the paperback book, no contest dude.
But the selfie...it’s that annoying new twist on an old human obsession — narcissism. For some inexplicable reason most young guys feel that if they put on shades, gel their hair, boom, they’re automatically Justin Bieber. And the ladies, pucker their lips into a ‘duck face’, and they’re transformed into J Lo or PC. Selfies are to today’s Gen X what marijuana was to ’70s flower children.
So, it comes back to the question: Why can I not crack the code of the ‘perfect selfie’? Young people pose effortlessly atop road dividers, balancing on railway tracks, on rafts, in the rain, against Rajasthan forts and Roman ruins, in restaurants, in restrooms, in their rooms. Often risking life and limb. Here are some issues and questions I have:
1. How to get the correct angle? Where do you to focus your eyes. Is it up at the top of the screen, the middle or at the corners. So my selfies usually comprise a complete view of my left ear (perfect for a Schengan visa).
2. I have practised the ‘fish gape’ expression in front of the mirror more than even Lady Chatterley. But keeping my mouth open, revealing just a hint of pearly whites, I end up looking like a ex-member of Taraporewala Aquarium.
3. Then, there’s the vanity of all of us 50-plus metrosexuals — no spontaneous selfies for us. We need to hide the double chin, avoid the blackheads and look ‘cool’ like a modern-day Clint Eastwood. All simultaneously.
4. What’s with this ridiculous selfie stick? I mean, you need to be 8 foot 5 inches in height to get the Eiffel or Rajabai Tower in the background.
So, dear reader, confession number two. I’ve hired the services of a selfieologist —these are specialised therapists that help you overcome the fear of taking selfies.
Referred to as iPhoneobia. Or Samsungitis.
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org