29 May, 2010

The most deadly ship...

I am sure most of us have heard this joke before.. that the most dangerous of ships has to be 'Friendship'. It is most misunderstood too, and very often taken for granted. And when such a situation arises, there are bound to be complications. And to make matters worse, when you are doing business in friendship, it screws up things further.

As a rule I try to avoid doing business with friends. I already do too much charity work through the NGOs that I am associated with, and if I have to work for a friend who is earning well and needs something for his/ her business, I would charge. It's as simple as that. My argument to that is, ok so you run a software company or have your regular job. So as a friend if I ask you to design and develop an entire software for me for free.. will you do it? No! So then, why expect me to do the photography and your design work for free?

Don't I put in an effort to the work? I know it why. You do not respect the work and the effort that goes in to that.  And it is for that very reason you will never be able to understand why a photographer or a designer charges so much for what they do. I am also not trying to tell you to try and understand it. So please do not get me wrong.

Having said that, unfortunately the sad part is that I might still go ahead and do it for free. I will tell you why. It's because I am an emotional person and I believe more in human connections than business connections. I know a lot of friends take advantage of this thing and I get caught in trying to help them out.  They play with you as pawns in a chess. "Kaam de do .. It they get something good, if not then also ok. Big deal.. He is a friend after all." This is what they may think, and that they can exploit the way they want it. Excuse me. I absolutely detest that.

As friend I know that there is a line to be drawn in this situation and both friends should understand this clearly. There should be no confusion in what's expected for the work at hand and why this is being done. I recently read a comment, where in a designer was asked a question, what is the best time for u to work. And she replied, that time is everytime I get paid. If things are being done for free for friends and family, i tend to not have the same commitment in the work.

Anyway business with friends is something totally different and not the essence of this post.

I am more concerned and worried about the relationships and the human values that I associate with friendship. Talking things out and explaining things the way they ought to be is the prime-essential factor. Work and renumeration for a work comes later. If you do not like the work, then tell it. As a friend I would understand. The nature of my job is such that the deliverables are subjective. What I design or photograph need not be liked by you and that is perfectly fine. I am willing to accept it. But not liking the deliverable does not give you a right / authority to question the ability of me. If you had a doubt, then why come to me in the first place? You were taking a chance, weren't you? Damn it! I should have known. But poor me, I again got caught in the emotional atyachaar.

The above might not be the best way business is done. But then I am not a businessman either. When I need to be professional, I do it and have my client testimonials to reaffirm that. Similarly, when I am dealing with friends, I have  a certain way of working.
These small incidents make me rethink of my decisions on trusting a friend after having experienced a similar situation before with the same person. It makes one look sad that the first time that I had forgiven the friend was a mistake. I feel disheartened.

I fail to go by business standards with friends. If I act professional, they have a problem with that, if I do not be professional they take advantage of me. Maybe because as friends I am trying to help them. I am connected with them on a personal level. Business takes a backseat there. I am not saying that this is the right way of doing it, its just the way I do it. Just the way I felt it.

If I felt bad about something and felt hurt, in all probability I would tell it out, as I think its pointless to just keep it at heart and sulk over it. I tried doing that and got fired back at instead. Had to bear a lot of harsh words, and when I replied back in acceptance with a smile, the friend had a problem with that too! Ridiculous!

I understand that the friend is a highly successful entrepreneur with a flourishing business and I always wish him the very best, and his way of working are fine for him. But that does not mean that I should follow suit. People are different, they have different ways of working. One needs to at-least acknowledge and appreciate that.

26 May, 2010

Taking joy in small accomplishments

I was having a discussion with a friend the other day, and he mentioned that he liked the fact that I sought for happines in the small pleasures in life.

Amongst the few things, that make up the list is sharing moments with children and people on the streets during my photography, having chai at a roadside tea stall, a quiet moment under the starlit night from atop a hill, traveling in the Indian Rail etc.

I also love surprises, and it was a pleasant surprise when I was featured in the May 22 issue of the Bangalore Citizen matters magazine as a Pick of the fortnight.

Small pleasures again, but totally worth living for it !

22 May, 2010

A year...

...of travel.
...of meeting new people.
...of experiencing life to its core.

Today is exactly one year since I got back to India after my studies in the US. I do not know whether I will be back there, but one thing is for sure. I have never missed it, as I have been so much more in love with India that I have not had the time for anything else.  
  • I Traveled extensively Across India - Delhi, Brindavan, Gurgaon, Patna, Saharsa, Native Village, Kolkata, Pune, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Indore, Bhopal, Chennai, Kochin, Bhagalpur, Baroda, Surat, Goa, Mangalore, Manipal, Surathkal, Hyderabad to name a few places that I was and experienced. This puts me back on track of covering the entire India before I turn 30 - a thing I had planned way back in 2005.

    Of other things here are the things I have done and experienced in this past one year. 
  • Witnessed a bomb blast in front of my eyes.
  • Felt the panic caused when a bird hit the plane.
  • Met an astronaut at a conference and got awed by his stories on space. 
  • Shared the stage with the man behind the Sixth Sense (Pranav Mistry), and wildlife documentary maker whom I admire.
  • Spoke at TEDx BITS Goa and met some really wonderful people, who inspire me even today.
  • Invited to colleges all across India for my photography and design workshops.
  • Interacted with a lot of children for the child education project of mine. 
  • Watched the god of cricket Sachin bat and play in front of my eyes in a stadium, not once but twice. 
  • Taught photography as a visiting faculty in different colleges. 
  • Got totally drunk (finally :P) and experienced what sleeping on the footpath feels like.
  • Started my own companies Deskala and Happy Horizon Studios. 
  • Shot at weddings and at different shows.
  • Did a documentary shoot on a theme I had planned almost 2 years ago.
  • Got closer to parents and immediate family. 
  • Helped grandma paint her house, which had never been painted before and was almost 20 years since it was built. 
  • Had a marriage arranged for and then later called off. 
  • Met some amazing people like Director of ISRO, CEOs of companies, and got inspired by them. 
  • Felt humbled when participants mentioned that the only thing they came to attend in a college festival from hundreds of kilometers, was my photography workshop. 
  • Met a lot of friends from school days, after a gap of almost 10 years. 
  • Almost had my friend's bike snatched from me in broad daylight.
  • Traveled in Indian railways and had loads of chai on stations. 
  • Realized what it means to be living your dream.
  • Spread a lot of smiles.
I am glad that this one year has been very close to being as I had imagined it to be the day I left US. I can only be thankful for it and hope to continue doing the things I have loved doing.

Thank you God.

20 May, 2010

How beautiful....

Over the past couple of days (including today) I got to know two friends who are going to become mothers over the next few months.

How sweet.

Congrats to the couples.

17 May, 2010

Peace with myself

From time to time, I do crazy things. It helps my adrenaline rush flowing and keeps me maintain my self belief.

Recently went to Sinhagad fort, some 30 kms from Pune. The easy part was to reach there on time. The difficult part was to wake up at 3:30 in the morning to leave home by 4.

As if that was not enough, I took up a trek along the fort premises, with a problematic pair of knees in which I have been told not to trek. Now if you have not been here you may not understand the height of the hill. But I know that it was risky. Especially with the loose mud beneath my feet, I know anything could have happened.

But here is a sight that I wanted to now just see, but experience it. I had to experience the first rays hitting the hills and the night making way for the day.  For silence to make way for the chaos. 

In the end all is well.

10 May, 2010

Dream On

In conversation with a few friends, I often get to hear that dreams are something remains as dreams and cannot come into reality. Maybe I have a (good/bad) habit of dreaming only realistic things. Things which I know that by hard work can be fulfilled.

A lot of them have been fulfilled, but, unfortunately, not all dreams comes true. There are incidents moments and obstacles that come in the way of the fulfilling of the dream. The question that arises in my mind is whether to put an end to that dream, or postpone it.

More often than not, the way I do it is I postpone it. That way I know that I will get back to it soon. The reason one dreamt about something is because one had an interest in the same. I think its too shallow to just dream of something and let it go just because of one failure at making it succeed.

Dream on.

08 May, 2010

....and so the gear changes.

The thing about life is that it changes it's pace so soon that one does not even have the time to think.
Today here.. there tomorrow...

This state today .. that state tomorrow..

In the end its enjoyable to the core I must say!

Cheers and a toast to the rocking and happening life!

04 May, 2010

A life with (out) passion

One of the things I live my life by is Passion. I am a totally passion driven person. The moment I lose my passion in something, I stop doing it. However, sometimes I do go to the extent of re-igniting the passion through some means. And that re-igniting the passion which I am talking about here.

I know a few friends of mine who had some sort of passion, and have stopped believing in that. The moment I get to hear of such stories, I am disappointed. More often than not, the culprit is 'time' and thats sad. 

The passion gives a moment to be true to yourself, and do what the soul really loves doing.