THE CHANGE was abrupt. As the technicians wound up the set and packed their equipment, the dilapidated building that only a few moments ago was colourfully decked up for the day-long ad shoot was back to its smelly, ramshackle ways. The stiff breeze from the Arabian Sea brought in more odour.
But Dinesh Karthik, the model of the shoot, is used to situations and the way they change from pleasant to not so pleasant. Two months ago, he had capped his successful return to the Indian squad by playing a key role as an opener in the Test series win in England with three half-centuries. Six one-day international innings later, he finds himself out of the shorter version of the game.
So, the 22-year-old has learnt to take the rough with the smooth, even as his teammates get ready to face Pakistan. "I look at it as an opportunity," Karthik told the Hindustan Times on Wednesday about his omission from the one-day squad for the first two matches against Pakistan. "I can sit back and learn where I went wrong. The team has been announced for just two games. I am confident I can come back. I have the faith in me and the system."
So, what went wrong?
"I didn't get enough runs at number three," Karthik said as a matter of fact. "That's an area of my game I have to work on. I know it can't be done overnight. It has to be done over a period of time."
Those are brave words, especially if one realises that the number three position itself has been a topic of debate in recent times, mostly because Rahul Dravid - does his mention bring a sense of déjà vu? - had not made it for himself.
And Karthik has batted only four times at the crucial slot in the 20 innings he has played.
There has also been another theory, that the Tamil Nadu player consciously moulded himself into an attacking batsman after being left out of the team the first time in 2005.
But he himself denied it.
"I went back and realised that I have to improve my batting," Karthik said. "It takes time. At the international level the bowling is slightly quicker and the wickets better. One learns from touring and playing in different conditions. That's how I learnt.
"But, no, I didn't change too many things. My basic style has been the same all through." Karthik was diplomatic when asked about the absence of a full-time coach.
"In a way it (being guided by seniors) is a good thing," he said. "They have 30,000 runs between them. They are great motivators. On the other hand, if there is a coach, you can sit down and have a chat with him. An interim coach brings fresh ideas, but he is not going to be there for a longer period."
It is one thing to trot out the stereotyped quote of doing whatever the team requires of oneself, but Karthik has done well to keep himself away from the shadow of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
"I am ready for any challenge. I worked hard on my keeping, and that bit harder on my fielding. I enjoy both," he said.
Given his robust optimism and deep levels of energy, who knows, he will soon be back wearing the Indian jersey.