Let me start off by telling you that if you are looking for romantic, adventurous, fun-filled, feel good story….then this is not for you. You are better off with one of those IIT or Call Center inspired books with really Bollywood ending.
What I am about to tell is something that really happened to me yesterday and because of that I am now in a maximum security prison in some unknown location.
No, I am not a terrorist and my name is not Khan. I am just regular 40 yr old man. I used to be a makeup artist in a leading production house about a year back. Makeup….yes that’s something I truly believed was my calling in life. It just not the cosmetics…it’s how just a few simple things can drastically change the characteristics of the human face that fascinates me.
Let’s recap a few years back…. I was the head makeup artist in one of the leading Bollywood production house. Everyone called me “Dada” which was funny because I’m neither a goon or a Bengali. But I liked it anyway; I guess it was everyone’s way of showing respect so I was okay with it.
Life was great for me….I got paid for doing something that I loved but it was not all peachy. My wife divorced me after 5 years of marriage because I was never home. Strangely, even though she was the love of my life, I never really missed her because I always had my makeup with me. So no regrets there.
No Regrets. That is something that I’m gonna regret about saying out loud. No matter how good you are at your job, the job’s always gonna kick your balls sometime or the other and give you a lousy reason for it. Mine was recession. The production house was having major cut backs and by that I mean loosing half of my staff and still the same amount of work. You would think that they would pay me extra but they actually had the guts to tell me that I was “overpriced” in comparison to the lead makeup artist of our rival production house. Well that was it. I gave the management a piece of my mind and left for good. It’s always easy to find another job in the industry if you are as good as I am, right? WRONG! From that day on I realized that you need to sell yourself in order to get a job. Not only was I getting the boot from every company that was salivating for me a few months back, they are choosing fucking amateurs who know some glitzy computer program that let’s you see how a certain makeup will make you look like before you even start. I mean that’s just NUTS!
Things got pretty bad and I moved out of my expensive condo and moved into a chawl. I made a few crack head friends here and developed a new hobby. To keep myself sharp I would practice my makeup on myself. I did this everyday, each day someone new …. And not just the regular extravagant makeup but the more difficult subtle makeup that would make me look 8 years younger or a lot older than I actually am. It became fun when one day I ran out of cigarettes and ran out to get some. I totally forgot that I had my makeup on which made me look more like a young 25 yr old guy. I took my fags and asked the guy to put it in my tab. He looked at me all puzzled and told me that he doesn’t even know me. I was confused and it was only after a few minutes that I realized that the guy actually didn’t recognize me! WOW! I paid the guy and roamed around my own locality, talking to people I know like they were strangers.
From then on I used to do this everyday and later on tell them about it and laugh at their expense. Things got a bit serious when they started betting me that they would recognize my next disguise. I thought that I already do it anyways….maybe I’ll get some dough for it. Ah what the hell, GAME ON! From that day on I got really into it. Not just the makeup part but the whole getup. Someday I would dress up like a fat guy and the next day as a foreigner. No matter who I disguised as, they couldn’t make out who I was. I would create background stories for each character like where they are originally from or what do they do. The really fun part was that no one could recognize me which frustrated them even further. One day they saw an old man and thought it was me. They started to yell at him and when he didn’t respond went up to him and started to pull his beard off. Things got real ugly real fast and a police constable had to interfere to break up the mob. Imagine there bewilderment when they found out later on that I was that constable.
This was all great but I really needed some challenge. It was around this time that news of that 7/11 terrorist Kasab escaping prison got everyone’s attention. No matter where you went all you could hear was people discussing about Kasab and speculating where he would be. It got me thinking….could I? Naah! It was too difficult, he if nearly half my age! But it would really be worth a laugh if I pull it off.
It is at this point that I decided to dress up as Kasab and really have fun at my friend’s expense. It was really difficult. Not only did I have to make my wrinkles disappear, I also had to make sure that I copy his every detail. Thankfully the media was doing a good job of telecasting all his videos of his the last few months spent in prison. It gave me an idea about how he talked, walked and picked things up. I was like a sponge, I absorbed everything in me.
Finally the day had come; I was in full makeup and was ready. First stop, the cigarette shop. I went there and bought a pack of smokes, but no reaction, he looked at me indifferently. Disappointed, I went to the local sweet shop and settled down for a cup of tea. I asked the owner to switch on the TV and play any news channel. They must be playing Kasab’s piece now. JACKPOT! Surely enough, they started a piece on Kasab and it was at this very moment that the owner looked at the TV. There it was, Kasab’s mugshot. He then looked at me and his eyed widened up. GOD! I’m gonna enjoy this, I tried to look tense, he called someone from his cellphone, I’m sure it’s the cops. I stood up to leave and seeing me leave the owner started to walk towards me. I laughed and told him who I was. He was still not convinced. So I grabbed my wig and yanked it to show my balding head. But…HOLD ON! Why isn’t the wig coming off? Weird still, it’s hurting my scalp as if I was pulling my own hair off. This is not good. I went to the washbasin and looked at myself in the mirror. I saw Kasab’s face staring back at me. I tried washing my face but what was makeup a few hours back is somehow my face. Nothing was coming off. The face I created is somehow now actually mine. By this time the cops had arrived and they cuffed me.
What am I supposed to tell them? “Sir I just applied makeup and wig a few hours back and now somehow it has grown and attached itself to my face”
The media is in frenzy with the news of the police apprehending the dreaded Kasab was everywhere. Tomorrow I am getting executed. I still know that I am not a terrorist, just a guy stuck in some strange situation. Or am I?