Story of a Photo – CLEOFiction October Issue

Originally written on August 11, 2008 and posted here.

Re-posted in celebration of it making it in print 🙂 See my name in lights in the October issue of CLEO.

Let me know what you think of the story.

Jooj In Rome

Location: Rome

Time: Not too long ago.

She had gone to Rome to pursue her childhood dream of becoming a celebrated fashion designer. There she was finally in the fashion capital of the world only to discover that things were not quite that simple. It wasn’t a lack of inspiration per say, for Rome in it’s existence was quintessentially inspiring, the music of the morning market din, the serenity of the old churches, the intricate details in the architecture all around and the general aroma of great food that enveloped the ancient city. Then there was the Italians themselves, so sinfully good looking, so obsessed with Italy, with food, with fashion with all things of beauty. She was drawing like never before, filling up her portfolio with evening gowns and sleek suits and even scanty swim wear.

The process of allowing yourself to get discovered as the next Gucci, Versace or Armani was a long and cumbersome process. She had been turned away time and time again. She found the language both daunting and challenging and a handicap to her ability to communicate, to express herself, to present her collection. Also there was the minor issue of finances, she was close to depleting her finances and was in need of a source of income to sustain her as she fought on to realize her dream. She had gotten a day job waiting tables at a fancy café by the busy plaza. She watched the chatty tourists come and go, stopping for a bite, asking her to take pictures of them, wondering what a foreigner like her was doing working in Italy.It took every ounce of self confidence not to get disheartened, to believe that someday they will see her collection with an eye of appreciation, that they will recognize her talent, that she will become one of the icons of fashion in Italy and worldwide. She had taken to submitting updated collections regularly to most of the fashion houses in the area, in the hope they will take her in. She’d also submitted a regular CV in the hope of landing any career in the industry then working her way up. She’d gone on interviews, filled applications, started Italian classes all to no avail.

It was the end of one such tiring day that our weary heroine made her way to the closest bus station. She sat there on the bench running her day’s events through her head. Making mental notes of the tips she had collected and the outstanding payments she still had to make. Thinking of the new trends in fashion as witnessed or interpreted by her from the countless tourists and locals that passed by her every day. She sat on that bench waiting. Waiting for the bus. For her break. For things to go her way. For the big fashion house she’d gone for an interview in that morning to call. She just sat there… waiting.


8 thoughts on “Story of a Photo – CLEOFiction October Issue

  1. Askandarani: An explanation is due, this story is pure fiction, loosely inspired by reality. This is a friend of mine, she’d uploaded the non-blurry version on facebook. I’d commented saying the photo was artsy, she, being the tease she is, asked what the story behind the photo was in my opinion, hence this post.

  2. The thing about your short proses Juka, they always give me the impression that there’s so much more things to tell in them, but to my surprise, you always manage to make the reader feel all those things anyway! even though you haven’t written them.

    That’s why, I could see whole novels with events transpiring in my mind, every time I read one of your short writings.

    you have a thing or two behind your lines – this is just pure talent really. I salute you 🙂

  3. Ibhog: Flattered! Thanks 🙂 Funny enough that attribute you value was very scorned during my university days; I have never been into the quantity over quality!

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