It is all about the face

OpinionI have a face that changes dramatically according to the situation. I have little control over these changes so that doesn’t stop them doing the dirty on me.

For example, if I take you to a restaurant and wish to impress you with my tangible presence and social clout, my face will simply disappear and the stewards, through no fault of their own, will glide past me, ignoring my passionate pleas to take our order. You cannot blame them, what can they do if they cannot see you.

By the same token, if there is someone I wish to avoid, my face will promptly go into its stereo and 3D image so that it will stand out as clearly as a hologram in a dark room full of people and be immediately spotted. Ah, Vohra, just the person I was looking for…When I see a policeman on the road my face immediately goes into its guilty image. There is no reason for it, it just does it and there I am, sitting in the car absolutely sure that I fit the image of the person they most wish to capture. And they are going to pull me over and say, at last, got you!!

See me walk through Customs at an airport…guilt rains down my face, I have that wily, sly look, it just sort of grows onto me.Not so long ago we were sitting in a nightclub in London playing Roulette and a man next to me, a total stranger, lost his wallet. There were nine people and the croupier at the table. Eight of them and the croupier looked straight at me. I tried to rationalist that it was because I was the only colored at the table and this was just another ho hum case of racial prejudice but it is not true. It was my face. It dripped guilt, forming huge big droplets of the stuff as it went into its ‘ideal for the role’ mode. A few minutes later, when the silly man had found his silly wallet under the chair he was very apologetic and I had to comfort him that it had nothing to do with him, it was my face.

My loved ones (at least I think so) tell me I have one of those faces that bring out the worst in people and I can antagonise total strangers without even trying. The inner me loves people but the face is a bit of a problem. It tends to confuse seriousness with sneering and humor with rancor and so, naturally, my entry into any group does not usually trigger spontaneous applause. Even as a child in school, my face looked wicked, naughty, suspicious and dubious. Teachers would automatically look ‘nor’ west in my direction and say, haven’t done your home-work, have you, can see it written on your face. Otherwise they would say, come here to the front of the class, I can see it on your face, you are the one who threw the ink pellet.

Orientals have inscrutable faces. I have a Caucasian friend who has an impassive face but we won’t go into it now. Asians are supposed to have masked emotions that confuse the other person, rather like the nod of the head to denote yes, no, maybe, if you say so and other assorted answers that leave every other nationality gibbering with frustration. Well, this is one Asian whose mask snapped its rubber band and though I have a gamut of expressions that a Shakespearean theater group would love, I can’t seem to get it right.

I still recall going to see a prospective young lady on family orders. Look intelligent, my sister said as we reached the venue. Many days later we were told I had been rejected because she had taken umbrage at my ‘hostile, smug, arrogant’ face. There are some people who have faces that arrest attention. What is known as commanding presence. I also transform into Albert Finney playing Shakespeare or Burton doing his Friends and Romans hit the moment I am alone or in the shower. My features just dissolve on me the minute there is an audience. The danger with people like myself is that if we were ever in a pickle or a hot spot and were trying to prove our innocence our faces would go into the fourth gear of conspiracy and all over the world people would say, he looks the type, whatever the type is. – khaleejtimes