Of Passports and Pictures #InkMagic



The first time I was dragged went to have my passport picture taken was just after my mid-term Math exam, straight from school. Two liberally oiled plaits hung on either side of a face that showed proof of just how the Math exam had gone.

The studio photographer, a family favourite, was an old man with a camera probably older than him. He asked me to look ‘at a point above his head’, not smile and think of something pleasant. Since the recent exam, and it’s after effects, were the only thing on my mind and I saw a lizard pausing and looking right at me from ‘the point above his head’ the passport picture that we collected later that evening looked like a cross between a scream and a grimace. Every immigration officer who stamped my passport after that asked me if I was feeling better now.

A few years later when I needed to renew my passport I vowed that I would rectify the  disastrous pic gaffe. Freshly shampooed hair and a different studio and a photographer who seemed to know what he was doing.  No surprises that he was such a perfectionist that he shot out instructions like ‘Smile!’, or ‘Tilt your head!’, or ‘Don’t smile so wide!’ and the likes so many times that the end result was a pic in which I looked like I was smiling with a gun held to my head. A painful and terrified smile, to be honest. No questions from immigration officers this time, except a chuckle as they looked from my picture to me.

Third time is the charm I told myself and I was sure of getting it right this time. I scouted around for the best photo studio in the area, applied a Face pack on my face every day for a week, practiced smiling and flattering angles in the mirror and arrived fully prepared on D-day, oopps photo- day. A perfect shot was taken which was so good that I thought I just might get film offers if it was spotted in the studios. After I approved the picture on the photographer’s camera I was asked to collect my pictures in an hour’s time, and I walked out of the studio jauntily. When I came back after an hour I found a small bunch of people crowding the studio. Movie offers already I smiled, with a trace of arrogance, to myself. Only to find out that due to a ‘small technical snag the camera had short circuited doing so to the computer too and all photographs taken in the last 2 hours were lost’ They refunded our money and asked us to come later to get our photographs taken once more.

I did and all I’ll say is that my passport pictures are proof of the famous saying ‘If you look like your passport photograph, you need the vacation!’





Published by Mayuri Nidigallu
Tarot Card Reader. Writer. Traveler. Sweet Tooth-er. I write from my heart, edit from my mind and hope that my words will touch your soul.

11 thoughts on “Of Passports and Pictures #InkMagic

  1. Passport Pictures always make for hilarious stories. My current one, might make people want to come out and help save me from the torture of getting Pictures clicked. I have so many hilarious stories about them. This was such a fun read.

  2. I was smiling to myself while I read this.You have to tell me how you got the pic finally

  3. Rofl! Mayuri, this was hilarious. This happened to me for my voters Id. In my passport, I look really good but tired. 😛

    And you would not recognize me in my Adhar Card 😛

  4. Could relate to this in so many ways 🙂

  5. we feel better now after reading your hilarious experience , yes me too not satisfied with my pics on my ids .thanks for sharing

  6. I was smiling ear to ear throughout. It’s the same story with me every time I go to studios for getting my passport size photographs clicked.
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  7. I was smiling reading this…
    I have stopped bothering abt passport pics… Whenever I go pic does not come fine…

  8. Ha ha! that was funny. when I had to go for my passport renewal, I was told that to meet international standards, the picture will be clicked at the passport office. I went wearing solid colors, kajal, earrings and light lip color. I thought I looked good. The photo is horrible. How I wish I can change it 😛

  9. Haha..We all have funny stories of passport pics. All my passport pics are horrible and driving licence is worst. Your post reminded me of the time when we took our younger one for a passport pic when she was just 3 months old as we had to travel to India from US. enjoyed reading it Mayuri. 🙂

  10. Reminds me of my travails in the passport office as well.Not only passport.My Voter ID,Pan Card,Aadhar..none of the pics seem good enough.Something wrong with govt id cards I suppose.

  11. Hilarious My passport picture is okay but my visa application one looks horrendous

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