While eating lunch at the local shopping centre the other day (yes there is a very modern shopping centre that looks extremely out of place amongst the rubble and makeshift houses) I almost choked on my chapatti when I looked up at the television and saw my face staring right back at me!
I had completely forgotten that a couple of months back I had agreed to take part in the latest LPU television commercial. I had agreed to do it putting it down to another experience that wouldn’t come about otherwise. On the day of the filming I was an absolute mess. The day prior, my grandmother and uni friend had both passed away and I was still in shock and a blubbering mess. When I received the call that I needed to be on set at 10am I politely asked if I could be excused due to my current state and I was shocked when they told me that unless I was dead I still needed to be there. I tried arguing the point but I had signed a contract and they had measured me for my costume (which was just a t-shirt that anyone could have worn). Of course the real reason they would not let me back out was due to the fact that I was the only western female at the uni and the whole campaign was based around how ‘international’ the university is.
Dutifully I turned up on time for my hair and make-up and was told I would just need to wait 10 minutes. In India this translates to “You could be waiting for hours” and seven hours later sitting in a tiny smoked filled make-up truck someone came in to brush my hair and put powder over my face. At one point I attempted to leave the truck and I was physically grabbed by the back of my shirt and literally yanked back in by a creepy little man who had the job of ‘supervising’ me. When I was finally filmed for my part, I was taught a native Indian dance move and was surrounded by Indian women in their traditional dress. Interestingly, my small part on the big screen is a close up of my face and I am unsure of why I had to go through the torture of learning the dance steps.
I have worked in advertising and I am fully aware that things in commercials are not always what they seem, so when I saw the ad for the first time I wasn’t that surprised to see a gleaming well-equipped university that looks nothing like the one I attend. I can only hope it is what the university is aspiring to and that one day in the very near future it will actually look like it does on the ad.
|The basket ball courts|
|Barbed wire surrounds everything at the uni - at least I'm safe!|
|My education block (the blue perplex was a recently knocked out window by protesting students)|