Today we had some proper photoshoots. The need for new photo material came up when we were putting together a snazzy showcase of the things we do here in India – and being an avid photographer I was more than eager to play around with some good lighting equipment. A few phonecalls and we had the address of a shop that rents out all kinds of awesome gadgets for photo and video use. A drive to Koreagon Park later we had the trunk in Sidd’s car loaded with goodies.
For lighting we used two Elinchrom 400 FXR studio lights, equipped with softboxes for smooth shadows. They were a lot of fun to set up and worked hassle-free, came with a hotshoe remote trigger too. Photos were taken with my own Canon 5D mk3, with 24-105 and 70-200 lenses. You’ll find more of the photos in our showcase presentation, soon.
Here’s a making-of video that Bhushan shot:
Fun times! Maybe we should get some of that equipment to the new office and add photography to our service offering?
They say clothes make the man. Usually I would disagree, since I believe it’s not what you wear, it’s how you wear it. But there are exceptions.
A good suit is one.
I appreciate the t-shirt and jeans combo as much as the next guy, but put a man in a well-fitting suit and he’ll transform: he’ll become just a little bit taller and his posture will be just a little bit more poised. His demeanor might change a bit, perhaps become a bit more dignified, to reflect his outward appearance.
It’s a deal between man and cloth: wear it well and it’ll make you look spectacular.
Since textiles are an essential part of Indian culture and craftmanship, there are a lot of tailoring services around. Lacking sufficient variation in the formal section of my wardrobe, I saw this as an opportunity to fix that. So I stepped into Raymond’s at Phoenix Mall and expressed my interest in getting a custom-tailored suit.
The first, and most difficult, step was to select the fabric. The only thing I had figured out in advance was that since I already have a black suit, this one would need to be a lighter one. Grey perhaps, suitable for formal occasions but also for more relaxed ones. With this brief we started going through the swatches, and boy were there a lot of options.
The initial selection contained some non-greys as well, just to keep some alternatives. However, I quickly dropped the blue and near-black ones, leaving me with a bunch of greys and a few dark browns. Despite it being challenging at first, to get the feel of what a particular swatch would look like as a suit, I did manage to start homing in on the exact type of fabric I had visioned.
Some beard-stroking and a few hmm’s later I had made my decision. I went with a quite even mid-grey. Fine 110s wool, with a hint of polyester for a little shine. A pleasant texture; evenly granular. Detailed but not distracting. No stripes, herringbones or other regular patterns.
For suit style I decided to go with the classical two button model – slim fit. Also, since I had come this far I decided to pimp it out by adding a vest as well.
Nonetheless, a suit is more than a jacket and pants. I needed shirts as well. So after some more swatch-studying I selected two colours: plain white with a tinge of cream and one with a light blue pattern. Soft collar, suitable for use with or without tie, and French one-button cuffs – with embroidered monograms, of course. The shirts have approximately the same roughness of texture and luminosity as the suit, I think they’ll go together quite well.
Once the fabrics and garments were set the only thing remaining was taking measures. So what followed was a half-hour fitting room rally where I tried on different fitting pants, shirts and jackets until we got the approximate size categories. After that the master tailor danced around me, taking measures of here and there and everything in between. Two sheets of numbers and notes later we were done.
The suit will be ready in a couple of weeks. Here’s to hoping it’ll be sublime.
Munnar, being in the highland region of Kerala, is a beautiful place during daytime. Tea plantations, green hills and warmth. But after sundown it’s utterly dead. There aren’t any proper restaurants around and it’s cold as a witch’s tit anyway, so the best idea is to just make yourself comfortable in your hotel room, with a bottle of rum if you have one, and see what’s on the TV. So that’s what I did:
I’m taking this weekend to unwind a bit. The last four weeks or so have been quite action-packed, both regarding work and free time, that I haven’t really had time to stop and reflect. This is also apparent in the lack of blog posts, which are beginning to form quite a backlog.
However, I got some larger articles done recently, which might be of interest:
It’s been two months since I got my hair trimmed, so I figured today was the day to see how the locals do it. I went to one of the barber shops close by, hopped in and asked if they had any free times. This friendly looking guy waves me to his chair, great! His active English vocabulary was quite limited but with a few gestures and a photo of my last visit to the barber we reached a consensus of what the desired outcome was.
The place had a nice decor. My seat was was one of six, four of which were occupied. The shop was cozy and had a friendly, neighbourhood barber kind of feel to it. The walls were mostly white and orange, with the occasional splash of pinkish purple. In one corner, above the mirrors, an old TV was playing some Indian movie with frequent bizarre plot twists and overdramatic conversations.
The barber started doing his stuff. He had no electric trimmers so the entire cut was done with scissors alone, and man his fingers were fast doing it. Very precise too, with those scissors one false move could result in a Vulcan ear.
Not too long after that it was done. Of course the end result wasn’t as sharp as what I’d get at Nik’s Barber Shop, but I was nevertheless quite pleased with it.
Head massage? he asked. Wha- um yeah sure! I replied. He took out a can of Figaro olive oil, showed it and asked if I was ok with it. Sure, I haven’t had olive oil in my hair in a while, go ahead, I said. So he poured about twice the amount I usually put in my frying pan on the top of my head and started massaging. It was a bit more violent than what I had expected but relaxing nevertheless. He would switch to massaging my shoulders and even my back.
Does anyone remember the Nintendo Power Glove from the 90’s? It was this awesome looking glove that had a controller and some other gizmo stuck to the back of the glove hand. This guy picked out something that resembles that, a kind of hand strap with something that used to be a kitchen mixer stuck to the backhand side, and plugged it into the outlet. It was a vibrator. So now he was massaging my scalp with his hand, which was vibrating with such force that I had to keep my mouth closed to keep my teeth from hitting each other.
He then proceeded to massage my ears as well, inching towards the ear canal and – hiyoo! – his finger was in my ear. And not just the tip either, he was really getting in there and digging for the gold, hand still vibrating thanks to the power glove. A real wet willie. It was surprising so say the least, I couldn’t do anything else but laugh. In western culture this would have been a slight breach of bodily integrity, but I didn’t think too much about it. Funny and awkward is all it was.
The fact that this haircut, which had turned to a head massage, then progressed to a full arm and lower back massage felt much less weird after that. It was effectively an upper body massage. Some squeezing, clapping and thudding later we were done. I felt bewildered but relaxed and my hair was alright – not a bad outcome from a visit to the barber!
I hung around a bit before continuing with the evening, and the barber mentioned that he does full body massages as well. In the barber shop. I’m not even that surprised anymore.