A bevy of beauties, lovely hair, brand endorsements, lots of fun and lovely people. Lots of photography, self-portraits, hair washes and a flight to Mumbai. A contest won, a couple of minutes of fame and back to the daily grind – but with just a little more spring in my step. Greek? Not in the least! It was the Mystery Shampoo Contest organized by Pantene – a brand owned by Proctor & Gamble and their Social Media agency, WATConsult.

Following is a comprehensive visual journey of the entire thing from start to finish. I can’t remember where I first saw the details regarding the Mystery Shampoo contest – I don’t have a television and I don’t subscribe to any newspapers or magazines either so it has to have been something online – maybe Twitter / Facebook.

The Mystery Shampoo event at Select City Walk, Saket. With Ayesha Takia. I’ve blogged about this here in detail in case you would like to see all the photographs from the event. My photographs here were shot by the WATConsult team at the event. There was a free hairwash too! The contest demanded that you use the Mystery Shampoo for 14 days, with before & after photographs & then get your friends to vote – whoever got the maximum votes would win.

Got a shot of myself after the event.

I basically had a whale of a time shooting self-portraits. I didn’t really plan the photographs and went with *whim.

Once I’d registered for the event, Dominic was kind enough to deliver the Mystery Shampoo and Conditioner samples so I could start the challenge! I launched a Tumblr blog for keeping track of my progress and you can see it here.

This one was shot standing in front of an air conditioner! I love how my hair look! In terms of the contest, by now, the Mystery Shampoo team was doing quite well on the Twitter platform and had also started getting tons of attention on their Facebook Page, with lots of Indian women posting their photographs and getting their friends to vote for them.

For the next couple of weeks, every alternate day, I’d get a phone call from someone who had seen me in this newspaper ad. This Pantene advertisement was run after Proctor & Gamble had declared what the Mystery Shapmoo actually was, which is the All New Pantene and new ID’s were then launched for them on Twitter & Facebook, with the female junta going absolutely gaga! You can find them on Twitter : @allnewpantene and Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/PanteneIndia.

This ad was run in India’s leading daily newspapers in major metros – I’ve been able to locate the ad on Times Of India Bombay Edition, Hindustan Times New Delhi Edition and the Times Of India Kolkata Edition – not sure if it showed in Chennai. I was excited and thrilled and even more nervous – I really wanted to win this thing!

And then @decloned_taz Tazeen Sayed, called me up one afternoon. She proceeded to chat with me about how nice the photographs were and how bad the weather was and how everyone mispronounces her name. And just like that, casually, in the middle of the conversation, she says, “Oh, you won the contest by the way.”

Before I knew it, I was booked onto a flight to Bombay! I was happy that @shadeheart agreed to accompany me. And we landed in Bombay during a cab strike and some of the worst rains this year. After the cab driver dumped us mid-way in the rain, we found an auto-rickshaw and proceeded to the Taj Land’s end Hotel in Bandra, which just happens to face the sea. Of course, the sea was wild and the huge umbrella I had to shield myself, basically got torn out of my hands and by the time I stepped into the lobby, my hair and everything else was drenched.

Finally got to meet the lovely, very friendly and extremely efficient Social Media heronie @decloned_taz Tazeen Sayed!

Kubraa getting set to light up the stage before Katrina Kaif was invited onto it.

The organizers told me Katrina would be putting a tiara on my head. All I said was please just give me the prize & let me go! A TIARA! No way! But of course, there was no way out of it.

Meenakshi Patel [ I hope I don’t have her name wrong ] – who was the hostess for the event.

The lovely and oh so hot & down-to-earth Kubraa Sait @kubraasait

Dominic from Gripps.

Got to shoot some photographs of the organizing staff, mostly in the shadows and Katrina Kaif before I was called onto the stage, whence I dumped the camera in the hands of @shadeheart & ran up.

Fortunately, @shadeheart quickly figured out he could take photographs too and he snapped this one up! Awesome! Videos of what the media covered are at the end of the article.

We both shot eachother! That is Monisha – one of the spunkiest photogs I’ve ever met! The word *Bindaas would fit her personality to the t.

And after the short stage-presentation, I got to jostle with the rest of the media to get some candid photographs of the lovely Katrina Kaif as well.

Then we bid our goodbyes – to the lovely Tazeen & Dominic – and set off for the airport – we had about four hours to kill but because of the cab strike and the incessant downpour, we didn’t want to take any chances an possibly miss our flight back to New Delhi.

These are the three videos I found, which covered the event to some extent – of course, most of the media present at the event was more interested in whether Katrina Kaif and Salman Khan are still dating or now. Oh well. I’d gotten my prize, met all these lovely people, got to shoot some pictures of Katrina Kaif and I was all set to go back home and buy me some new lenses!

I, personally, really like this photograph of Katrina Kaif the best.

Got some really lovely flowers – divine fragrance – wonder who picked them out.

There was prize money of INR 5 Lakhs, which I received after deducting taxes – so the total I got was INR 3.5 Lakhs – and I’ve already ordered some camera lenses – re-investing in what helped me win the money in the first place is the prudent thing to do. The prize also included my photograph being featured on the All New Pantene shampoo bottles – but I’m not sure what is going on on this front.

I got to shoot the lovely Katrina Kaif and the lovely Ayesha Takia and I got to meet lovely people like Dominic and Tazeen. I also got to go back to Bombay – albeit for just a day. It was a fun ride!