Sunday, February 26, 2023

A Candid Picture




Fiction Short Story





Circa – February 2023







“The photo you asked me to click yesterday morning – the one where you pose next to the Film Festival Poster – I saw it on Instagram…” the girl said to me.

“Oh Yes – I have uploaded that photo everywhere – on Facebook – on Twitter – on Instagram – even on LinkedIn – I must say you clicked a good photo – I look so impressive standing next to the Film Festival Poster…” I said to her – pompously

“Shall I say something…?” the girl said – a bit hesitant.

“Of course – please feel free to speak…” I said to her.

“Well – I feel the photo looks contrived…” she said – candidly.

“Contrived…?” I asked her.

“In fact – all your photos look contrived – your standard pose – your typical pokerfaced smile – it all looks fake and artificial – you are an influencer with huge following – you must post candid photos…” she said to me – matter-of-factly.

“Candid Photos…?” I said – confused.

“I have clicked a candid photo of you just a few moments ago…” she said with a naughty smile.

“You clicked a photo of me…? You didn’t even tell me…” I said to her – feeling a bit anxious.

“If I told you – and you knew I was clicking your photo – then it wouldn’t be a candid photo at all – there would be no naturalness and spontaneity – as you would be self-conscious if you knew that you are being photographed…” she said to me, “a candid photo is one where you aren’t aware that you are being photographed – so that your expressions are captured true to life…”

“Candid…? True to Life…?” I said – a bit confused.

She smiled at me and spoke in an assuring tone of voice.

“Don’t worry – the photo has come out very well – it’s a lovely candid picture…” she said.

“Show me…” I said to her – curious – and eager to see my candid photo.

“Tell me your WhatsApp Number – I will send the photo to you…” she said.

I told her my WhatsApp Number.

She sent the “candid photo” to me.

I looked at the photo on my smartphone.

It was a lovely picture – my profile had come out very well – I looked good – with a very natural and genuine expression – as I looked slightly upwards at the film festival banner which had been captured beautifully.

And – the candid picture had captured the panoramic scene so beautifully – the young couple standing ahead of me in the queue – they looked so lifelike and natural – engrossed in conversation with each other – it all looked so authentic and realistic – the candid photo was indeed a masterpiece.

“It is a lovely photo…” I said to the girl, “thank you so much…”

“You are welcome…” she said with a smile, “this is the type of photo you must post on your social media – instead of your usual posed appearance with your fake smile…”

“Yes – Yes…” I said excitedly, “I’ll post this picture straightaway…”

As an influencer – I believe that posts must be uploaded in real-time or near real-time with proper location and appropriate tags – this adds to their spontaneity and authenticity.

I posted the candid photo on Instagram – with a caption “Yours Truly at the Film Festival” – and since all my social media is connected – the candid photo was instantly shared and posted on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr etc. – and I posted the “candid photo” once again on Twitter – with a bit of description of the film festival with appropriate hashtags – and tagging some of my friends too.


“I have posted the photo…” I said to the girl.

“Yes…” she said – looking at her smartphone, “I have liked it on Instagram – I’ll retweet it on Twitter too…”


Suddenly – the queue started moving – the door to Auditorium must have opened.

Someone standing behind said to the girl: “Please come in the queue…”

I looked at him and said: “We are together…”

The girl smiled at me.

The least I could do in return for the candid picture was to help her jump the queue.


After the movie was over – I invited the girl for a cup of coffee in the food court – as there was around half-an-hour for the next movie I wanted to see in Auditorium 1 – but – she wanted to see another movie in Auditorium 6 which was about to start – so – we parted ways – she went to Auditorium 6 – and – I went down to the food court for a quick snack and cup of coffee.


On my way down to the food court – I looked at my smartphone.

It must have been around 2 hours since I posted the candid photo on social media – and – there were quite a large number of “likes” “comments” “shares” “retweets” etc. on various social media – the candid photo had especially gone viral on Twitter.

That is the power of social media – your posts are instantly seen worldwide – by a large number of people – especially if you are an “influencer” with a widespread following – like me.

An influencer yearns for appreciation – I was really delighted that my candid photo had gone viral and it was liked and appreciated so much on the social media.







I placed my order for a Bun Maska and Chai – sat down at a vacant table – and while I was waiting for my order to be called out – I looked at the “candid photo” on my smartphone.

There were 3 persons in the “candid photo” – me – and the handsome couple – a young man and a woman – and – of course – the film festival banner in the background.

It all looked so natural – my profile as I looked at the poster – and the affectionate expressions on the faces of the man and women – the intimate way in which they were talking – it seemed to me that they were probably husband and wife – or – close friends.

The girl had clicked a really good photograph – so clear and distinct.

And it was truly “candid” – none of us were aware that we were being photographed – that’s why we were looking so natural and spontaneous – oblivious of our surroundings.


Unbeknownst to me – the young couple in the “candid photo” – they were also sitting in the food court – but they were seated in a different section of the huge food court – and – I could not see them – and – neither could they see me.

The couple – the handsome young man and the beautiful woman – they were sitting opposite each other – probably waiting for their food order to be ready.

The woman was looking at her smartphone – scrolling – when her expression changed from a smile to one of disbelief.

“Our photo is on Twitter…” she says to the man, “open your Twitter…”

“I don’t have Twitter…” the man says.

“You are not on Twitter…?” she asks him – a bit surprised.

“No – I avoid all Social Media…” he says to her.

“Are you on WhatsApp…?” she asks him.

“Yes – on the same number I gave you before the movie…” he says to her.

“I am sending you a screenshot of the tweet – just look at the photo…” she says to him.

She sends him the “candid photo” on WhatsApp.

The man looked at the photo appreciatively.

“The photo is really nice – we look so good – I wonder who clicked it – and this bearded guy in the picture – he was standing behind us in the queue – I think…” the man says.

“He is the one who posted this photo on Twitter – here – see his profile picture…” the woman says – and shows the screen of her smartphone to the man.

“How has this photo come on your Twitter…?” the man asks the woman.

“I don’t know – I don’t follow this guy…” the woman says looking curious – and she starts scrolling her Twitter Timeline and Notifications – and suddenly – her expression turns to one of horror.

Someone has posted the photo on our office WhatsApp group – it’s Nisha – that bitch – and she has commented “How to enjoy Sick-Leave” – and put a naughty emoji…” the woman says.

“Sick Leave…?” the man asks the woman.

“I had told my boss that I want sick leave today – now she will come to know – thanks to Nisha and that stupid idiot who posted the picture everywhere…” the woman says – looking worried.

“But – how did Nisha see the picture…?” the man asked the woman.

“That guy is an influencer – he has a huge following on Social Media – Nisha must be following him on Twitter…” the woman says, “I am in deep shit – as it is my boss hates me…”

The man’s smartphone vibrates – he looks at the screen – it is his wife – so – he takes the call.

“Who is that woman with you…?” the man hears his wife screaming from the other end.

“I am at the Film Festival – I told you…” the man tries to say but his wife interrupts.

“I am not asking about the film festival – I am asking you about that woman with you in the photo…” the man’s wife says.

“Which photo…?” the man stammers.

“Don’t try to act dumb – the photo of you and that woman on Twitter…” the man’s wife says.

“I am not on Twitter – you know that I avoid all social media…” the man mumbles, “how did you see the photo…?”

“I am on Twitter…” the man’s wife shouts at him, “Look at your WhatsApp – I am sending you the photo…”

The man disconnects the call and looks at the “candid photo” on WhatsApp.

Then he looks at the woman in front of him and speaks.

“My wife has seen the photo on Twitter…” he says to the woman.

“He has posted it everywhere – the photo is all over social media – the whole world must have seen it by now…” the woman says with an exasperated look.

“What do I do…?” the man asks the woman.

“Just tell your wife that I am your classmate from college – and we met unexpectedly at the Film Festival…” the woman says to the man.

The man’s phone vibrates – it is his wife again.

“Why did you disconnect my call…?” the man’s wife screams.

“I was seeing my WhatsApp…” the man says.

“Who is that woman with you in the photo…?” the man’s wife asks forcefully.

“She is my classmate – we met unexpectedly…” the man is saying when his wife interrupts.

“What is her name…?” the man’s wife asks.

“Menaka…” the man says.

“Ah – Menaka – she looks like one for sure – trying to seduce you…” the man’s wife says sarcastically.

“What are you saying…?” the man says, perturbed.

“Just see the way she is flirting with you – giving you the sultry look…” the man’s wife says.

“What nonsense…? We were just talking…” the man tries to explain to his wife.

“Just Talking…? So intimately…? Standing so close to each other…? With your arm is around her….?” the man’s wife says angrily.

“There was a crowd – so – I was just trying to be protective…” the man says.

“You never put your arm around me so lovingly...” the wife says acerbically, “tell me – are you having an affair with her…?” the man’s wife asks.

“Affair…? I told you – she is just my classmate – I met her after 10 years – I have not seen her since college…” the man says, trying to convince his wife.

For a moment – there is silence – then – the man hears his wife’s voice on the phone.

“You liar and cheat – just look at this comment on your photo tweet – “college sweethearts rekindling the flame of their love” – now I am sure you two are having an affair…” the man’s wife yells.

“It must be some mischievous classmate…” the man says irately, “and that idiot who posted the photo – I will kill him…”

“Oh – you are cheating on me – you are the one at fault – and – you want to shoot the messenger…? In fact – I am grateful to him – it is because he exposed you that I have come to know the truth that you are cheating on me and having an affair with that nympho bitch – I won’t spare you – and as far as that nympho bitch is concerned – I will destroy her totally – finish her off…” the man’s wife says furiously – and she disconnects.

The man looks at the woman in front to him – his classmate Menaka.

She is looking at her smartphone screen.

Suddenly – the expression on her face changes – and she shouts at the man.

“Your wife has gone crazy – she has found out my Twitter handle and she is writing all sorts of filthy comments on that photo tweet – “keep your hands off my husband you nympho bitch” – and she has tagged me – I hope my husband doesn’t see all this…” the woman says, anxiously.

“Husband…? You told me you are divorced…” the man says.

“We are separated – almost divorced – but the alimony and custody cases are in court – and he will use all this against me…” the woman says, nervously.

Then – the woman looks at the man and speaks angrily.

“It’s all your fault – you shouldn’t have waved out to me…” the woman says to the man.

“My fault…? You are the one who wanted to jump the queue so you came and stood next to me…” the man says to the woman.

“I saw you after so many years – so – I came to talk to you – out of courtesy…” the woman says, “we were friends in college – weren’t we…?”

“I wish I had never waved out to you – you are a “Panauti”…” the man says scornfully to the woman.

Panauti…? How dare you call me a Panauti…?” the woman says angrily to the man.

And they start talking heatedly to each other – a fiery argument – accusations and counter-accusations – blame and counter-blame.


While the man and woman were engaged in their intense conversation – unknown to them – I had surreptitiously clicked a “candid photo” of them – hotly engrossed in each other – and the photo had come out so well – their “candid” expressions captured so beautifully – that – I could not resist the temptation to post the photo instantly on Social Media – so – I posted it immediately.

And soon – the “candid photo” of the man and the woman having an impassioned discussion was going viral of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp – and all Social Media.


Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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This story is a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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