A couple of months ago, I was told that I had appeared in a newspaper’s tabloid section, in one of those visual round-ups of who had been wearing what at which party. This wasn’t the first time this had happened and it probably won’t be the last, but to the best of my knowledge it may have been one of the few occasions on which I had appeared…. accompanied.
“My friends said we were, like, holding each other,” said the boy in question.
“Really?” I said, archly (or so I’d like to think). “And exactly where was this photo taken? Your house?”
Of course, nobody had informed me of the same. I deduced that this was either because they all thought I was a celebrity, and came out in these pages too often to notice, or that I was a harlot, and publicly cuddled up with cutiepies too often to notice.
Naturally, I was really curious about this picture.
I checked out some e-archives. Nothing. I asked a couple of friends. Nothing. But I knew this boy’s friends hadn’t been lying, because you see – I had gone to that party with him. And when a photographer I recognized from various events in the past requested permission to click, I had called him over.
Reader, I posed.
Never trust a person who tells you she doesn’t like being photographed. Because the truth is, we all do. Especially if we’re dolled up and accessorized with pretty baubles and a prettier boy to match. Especially if we’re having fun. And whether we’d like to admit it or not – especially if there’s a chance that we might appear somewhere in the pages of the ultimate peacockry known as Page 3.
“Page 3 culture is so stupid!” a friend exclaimed when she heard I was writing this. I thought she meant that a culture of exhibitionism and attention-seeking was stupid. But she continued. “The photographers and editors should really know better than to snap people with no fashion sense and give them moronic captions like ‘Spotted in Polka Dots’ and ‘Pretty in Pink’”.
Ah. Viva la vainglory. Like I said, I’m only friends with honest people. And people honestly love looking hot.
There’s really no reason to intellectualize Page 3. Of course it’s all a farce. Of course it’s ridiculous. Of course it really means absolutely nothing – so why bother being bothered by it? To take it seriously is to defeat the point of it. The fine line between a poser and a loser is that the former has a sense of humour about it.
I once walked into a book launch and had a dozen cameras go off immediately. “You do know,” I said archly (or so I’d like to think). “That I’m not the author, don’t you?” And then I smiled sweetly for the next round of flashes. I go to these events because they are interesting for my work, because my friends are involved, because I am curious. I don’t go to be seen. I’m seen because I go.
All that said, of course, I do dress for the occasion.
An edited version appeared in Times of India (Chennai) today.