30 August, 2009

Emotional Turbulence

Being a documentary photographer is tough emotionally. You have to be always at a level in which you connect with your subjects. Documentaries would generally revolve around people and his surroundings. The people make the documentaries and the things around him gives a lot of character to the shot.

Today morning I had gone to this shoot, at the market area opposite to the Majestic bus stand, in Bangalore. It was after a long time that I was shooting streets and people in their daily life. We had started shooting around 7:30 am, so the light was good (though God uncle was playing switch on , switch off, and threw in some clouds as a challenge).

There are moments that makes your heart cry out in despair. One of the subjects that I spotted was this traveler (he had a travel bag with him) who was sleeping at the footsteps of a closed shop.

I took a couple of standing shots but did not quite feel the essence of the shot. And then to explore the subject further, I bent down and sat, and tried a different composition. My camera focused on his feet.

I saw something interesting.
I started counting.
1,2,3, .....9.
I stopped there.
Stood there dumbfounded.
Without a word to speak out.
Without any thought in my head.
Simple point blank.

Could I just shout out loud?
Could I come to terms with that there are millions who go through constant pain everyday in their lives. So much so that it becomes a part of them, and they still seek to find happiness in it.

But then as i said, being a documentary photographer is a lot about controlling your emotions and moving on. Moving on in the hope that you will find something to cheer you up. Something that will cheer you up.

Initially I took a picture of only the guy on the right, and then the girl on the left started crying and went and complained to her mom, saying that I did not take picture of her. So her mother requested me to take her picture. I felt really bad about it. I obliged, and had one of most beautiful 15 minutes of the day. A moment that was full of genuine smiles, and innocence. The girl on the left, was then at her smiling best.

Still afresh from the last night's accident, this moment of joy was incomparable to anything else. It was priceless. It was a great thing to set the mood for the day.

These are just few of the emotions that I go through every time I go out to shoot. I still go out, no matter what. :)

26 August, 2009


Doubt and apprehension go hand in hand.
With the element of doubt comes apprehensiveness.
It arises out of the absence of talking. When matters are not spoken out and are just presumed based on some unverified facts, apprehensiveness arises.
When people do not understand what you are doing, doubt arises.
When you do not make an effort to explain to them and get things clarified, then doubt arises.
So in order to remove the apprehensiveness, the element of doubt must be removed. And by removed, I mean removed completely.
One of the way of doing this is to let things go.
But letting go of things should not mean that one is in the position of compromise always.

The problem with me is that I trust what people say easily. I tend to see the possibility of a thing happening before I realize it could fail. First realization gives me happiness and the desire to work hard, in order to ensure that it succeeds. The second realization makes me learn something new. And then I move on.

It has often led to problematic situations. I try to avoid the element of doubt. Maybe the times have changed.

24 August, 2009


Have you ever wished that we had a 30 hour day?

Office Hours

That was one of the questions that we discussed over the last weekend. We had an interesting discussion around it. She said no. I thought otherwise. She explained why it was important to manage time in a way that would allow one to do things that one likes. One should do the best in what one has available and its the same with time. Even the greatest of minds had the same time. Fair enough. But what about the people who like to dream and are always occupied with some thought or the other and always are in a short of time to do things (indirectly I think I was referring to myself :P) Well simple. I should learn time management.

The above question led to discussions on multiple other things like what is enjoyment, what are one's beliefs that makes one feel a sense of happiness, what are the values that one likes in the US and in India and what one does not like. So about India, I appreciate the family values that one has, and the fact that I am more comfortable making conversations with people here. About US, I loved the fact that people enjoy life there.

On the on discussion on enjoyment, I was in my usual preaching self. I said, I would like to mention and stress that enjoyment does not mean that one has to drink or smoke or go wild in a party. Enjoyment can come from the most basic of things. So like in the US, if people get a sense of enjoyment in going for jogging, they do at all times, no matter rain, snow or heat. Similarly if I like going and sitting on the beach with friends and just chit chatting, that is my enjoyment. It's a philosophy which I have learnt from "Madhushaala- by Harivansh Rai Bachchan" (You should see my short film on it here if you have not yet done so. ) and I live my life by it.

The rather surprising discussion had me think over a lot of things. And most importantly it gave me a reason to introspect after a long time. Of all the things, I wanted to reflect back on my stay here so far.

It's been a couple of days after 3 months, since I got back from the US and a lot has changed in that three months. Do I miss the US? Have I readily accepted the place, India that is and started living in the way that I foresaw it, when I was coming back. Am I doing those things that I had initially set out to. And then another friend asked me, do I regret my decision? To which I replied not even in the tiniest bit I regret that decision.

So I may not be completely doing what I set out to do, but yes I am getting there. I have been drinking the chai from the road side stalls, I have been freelancing on work that interests me, I have been working tirelessly on my startup with my friend. What I have not been doing as much as I wanted is photography. But then I remember what a very reputed photographer had said me. Photography is in your blood. It will never die off. If you are not shooting for a while, your talent will not go away. It's best to utilize that time for other things that on a higher priority list. So for example, the startup work along with the freelance work. Freelancing on design assignments in important as I am in real need for the finance to invest in my startup.

There is always an element of doubt that remains, when one does things that are out of the ordinary. There are always people who ask you a lot of questions and always doubt whether you will succeed. But then there are some people (and I truly thank them for existing), who appreciate your moves from the core of their hearts.

The starting date for the design startup keeps getting postponed due to conditions that were inevitable. Being just two of us has had us look into practically every aspect of starting one's own company. Photographs are followed by analysis, economics with accounts, HR management to getting together the finance, the infrastructure build up to the building the brand identity. You name it and we have been tirelessly working on it. Needless to say there is just so much that we could do in a 24 hour period.

And hence that was the reason for the 30 hour question.

Oh and btw I liked the girl in context. Based on the discussion we had, I thought she was pretty high on intellect. Is a national level net ball player (which i am told is little like basketball), has a strong interest in finance while pursuing her MBA, is an ardent SRK fan(like me) and a very charming smile. (Maybe the smiled killed me :P)


Life is good.

08 August, 2009

You are being watched...

When I was a kid, I was often told not to do something wrong, as there was someone up there who is watching you. This something, someone up there was called God. So you were liable to be punished the moment you did anything wrong. In-spite of all this, we (did not really have a core group of mischiefs, but still) always ended up doing something wrong. By wrong, it could mean teasing someone on the basis of their status, getting into fights over a run in a cricket match, etc.

Along the path of life, I read 1984 by Orwell. For an instance I did think that what if there was a life, where Big Brother was actually watching you. Watching all the moves, all your actions.
Somehow of late I have been having this feeling that this kind of a world does exist. Only that its form is in the form of an online media.

I think we are to blame ourselves too. There is a certain sense of responsibility that we seem to have taken upon our shoulders. That responsibility is of letting everyone know our daily lives, our hourly activities.It is in a way , we saying the world, come, see me. Be my big brother. Be the eyes that are constantly watching me.

I ask myself. For what joy. Does it do any good at all? All that I know is that often people come to know of things that I would have not wanted them to know. And it does not only work one way. I am also constantly trying to follow what others are writing. What others are feeling. Whom they are interacting with. Seriously? Do I really have that much time?

Welcome to the world of the e-stalker. Someone out there who is following your every move.

04 August, 2009

Testing Times....

I am sure everyone goes through this phase in life. So this is definitely not something new to me either. But I realize that every later one a bit tougher than the previous one. May be the experience of having made through the past one reduced the intensity of the ones that I had made through.

These times often happen to come from different sources. More often than not, the sources are either the work or the personal life. And in almost all cases they both tend to intermingle and hence make a mess of things.

Can someone please help me before I go mad?