Saturday, January 27, 2007

Cinema(tography) Paradiso

As a student of cinematography, I shall be learning about lenses & optics, cameras & camcorders, lighting and fixtures, film development and post production, image and editing softwares, video formats, compression techniques and much more on the technical aspect and subjects like script writing, production design, visual sense, film appreciation and direction on the creative side...whew, seems like a whole lot of things, doesn't it?

Each day dawns with the realisation of how much is to be learnt and understood and sets wearily with the dissatisfaction of how much less could be done in a day. I mean there are movies to be watched, dissected and chewed and ruminated; principles of light and lenses to be thoroughly grasped and digested;so many books that have be tasted and assimiliated; the websites sampled for their unique flavors and lots more....it is almost overwhelming at times when I think about the quality of work that has to be presented at the end of this couse...with the kind of training we are receiving it will be no wonder that we will be expected to present something smashing and I am not really sure if I will be able to stand to those expectations...only time will tell.

But the intimidating nature of the course is just one aspect of my life here. I have begun to learn the local language too. I have got a new cycle too; helps me to get around in the neighbourhood especially on the weekends. But more importantly I must say that these days, I have a strange sense of bliss within me...it is like I am finally beginning to make sense of things, my own dreams and the events that have led up to here....feels a little like heaven....it is like the pieces of the puzzle are falling into place....

I cannot completely explain what it is now but one day I will have the complete picture and know how the elements of the Universe conspired in getting me where I wanted to go....

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Chaos of my grave

What is this muffled scream I hear
Why do I shiver when there is nothing to fear
For the sound that comes belongs to my spirit
Dead and gone; yet frighteningly around

Careless are the whispers of the wind
Lazy is the dawn that comes to grind
The last moments of my broken dreams
Shattered and lost; yet fumbling around

The dull rumble of the day marches by
As my mind struggles to discern the how and the why
While the senses litter the soul of its reason
Dulled and pained; yet feeling around

As the shadows scamper out of their hiding
Sending the last hopes of a rebound, gliding
The soul tries to salvage the flicker of a life
Tattered and broken; yet living around.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Chennai Chronicles: Only time

The one thing that I won’t have to worry in Chennai is how I am gonna save time from the everyday vagaries such as bathing, having food etc. Providence has already made the necessary arrangements. Let me list them for you…

1.Bath
The first ritual of the day which has to be completed in kind consideration of other people’s senses; primarily the nose and the eyes. Since the room that I live in does not come with the luxury of hot bath, I have to suffice (read: suffer & shiver) with cold water every morning. So it is no surprise that I won’t be spending too much in the bathroom from now on, previously one of my top hotspots for wasting time.

2.Lunch/Dinner
Mostly it comprises of rice. And being from North India (this I have derived from the Southside definition of the division of India as North and South, very much in contrast to the Geography textbook partition of India into four zones: East, West, North and South) where rice is an option and not the regular main course, let’s just say I ain’t really into ‘leisurely eating’ these days, which some of the patrons of this blog might remember was a passion that I took time with. These days I just wanna get over with it, burdened by the thoughts of the many kilos that I will have to sweat out later thanks to the calorie rich food (read: rice and curd and banana) that I have to stuff myself with.


3.TV
Only South Indian channels are watched here by the demand of the majority and since this is still a democratic country, and my knowledge of those languages is far (read: equivalent to the distance between one end of the Universe to another) from perfect, I guess I won’t be watching too much TV.

4.Bedtime
I have to sleep on rubberized coir mattresses, which I have realized are a pain to my spinal cord after sleeping on them for just one night. I’d rather be awake than sleep on that bed….

So goodbye to lazing on the bed and daydreaming….

5.Staying/Strolling in the room
Previously I was a world record holder (it still ain’t official) in dwindling hours before the mirror in my room and strolling around till I got tired enough to drop on my bed and go to sleep. Now my room is only as big as to let me walk three paces exactly before I bump into some piece of furniture. Standing before the mirror for long isn’t a great idea for my feet get restless after a while (max 3 min) if I have to stand on the only tile (6*6inches) available between the mirror and bed. Hopping to the bathroom is literally a matter of one hop. It is just a distance of 100 cm from my bed. So you get the picture I guess!!

So every chance to get out of this place is going to be taken by me and this way I will stop spending myself in the room and go out to get some work done.

Moral of the story: Inconvenience is a great benefactor.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Living in the future

From the moment that the day begins
I look forward to its end
For the time to collapse right in my bed
To elope with my dreams and pretend
That I am someone else with more purpose
With a cause, a challenge, a mission to contend

And before I come to that time
When things shall finally happen in reality
I shall keep continuing to make my escape
From this world into the alternate eternity
Denying myself the livingness of the present moment
Choosing to die here for tomorrow’s mortality

I feel guilty about killing my present
For the future that I haven’t seen
As I snuff the life out of my spirit everyday
Walking about like a zombie, unthinking and mean
I wonder who I am being unjust to
Just me, or the folks around, or to sensibilities demeaned

Why can’t I live with what I have?
Be content with the things that make my life
Why do I have the urge to destroy, to annihilate?
The glorious today, complete with its boredom and strife
Why live like this, hoping for a better future
When everything that matters is in the present, complete and ripe.

It must be my own conscience, my own soul
Heaping these punishments on me
To exist in the present and live in the future
As a reprimand for my choices beyond the conventional key
To unlock what happens to me next, feeling like I defy my destiny
For just one chance at the person that I want to be.

Disclaimer: This is a poem echoing my plight in the past when I was stuck up in the wrong place. Currently the situation is much better. For more information on this, kindly refer to my previous posts.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

A Question of questions

When I was in the IT industry, I spent each day thinking what the hell I was doing there. Clearly the job didn’t excite me nor was there anything remotely satisfying for me in it. As I dragged myself out of bed everyday to go to work, I questioned me about what I really wanted to do with my life. It was painful to know that I had never ever questioned myself before; accepting whatever seemed like the right to do socially and professionally. And now I had this job and this life that seemed so not meant for me.

It was time to change things irrespective of what had seemed destined in the past. It was important to do what I felt like pursuing with irreverence to the kind of education I have had and the kind of life (read: software professional’s) that I was supposed to live. And I started trying; first figuring out what I really needed to do and then how I could actually make it there. One of the ways of making to movies was to get admitted to a film institute and I did manage somehow to make it to one. So questioning to the point of absolute irritation and frustration did help….I admit that it ruined my emotional state for about four years but in the end it drove me crazy enough to make this drastic career change.

I think everyone should try it…keep asking yourself questions until you find the answers, which most of the times are the uncomfortable truths that you have evaded for long…it makes you more of yourself than you already are…

Friday, January 05, 2007

Lost in transition….

After a grand farewell from my team mates (which included a dinner party at one of the upscale clubs, a gorgeous show piece and a beautiful Titan Raga watch), I have moved to Mumbai for a while before beginning my stint as a student of cinematography in Mindscreen Film Institute, Chennai. Quite frankly, I feel weird right now…it is the sort of transition that I was hoping to make for a long time and finally when it is happening, I am desperately looking for a sign that tells me that is going to be all ok.

My parents, sisters and friends are all so supportive of this decision that I feel like the most blessed person in this world but still when I am alone (this is my status most of the times these days since I am on a break in an off season time when everyone is at work) I ask myself “Where are you going Arch? Where are you going?”

I know I am not scared nor am I am regretful about having given up a lucrative IT job but yes the thoughts that go through me these days are a little unusual. For e.g. the following five things are few of the many that creep into my mind (something that I haven’t thought about for the last 24 years or rather 15 years because I don’t really remember what I thought about before that):

What kind of job will I be doing after this?
What sort of people will I be meeting?
2.1 Will they be nice to me?
2.2 Will I want to be with them?
Is this the dream that I have been waiting to realize or did I take a wrong turn somewhere?
What if it all goes bad someday and I crash down face first?
Was giving up something that worked perfectly well to chase something that has negative chances of working out well such a great idea after all?

I guess the idle mind is the devil’s workshop so I shouldn’t be really concerned about these random musings. What I should be concentrating on, are the things that are going to happen next and the way I am going to deal with them….that seems more like the attitude I should have. And that is the right thing to do.

So to hell with all the worries….we will cross the bridges when we come to them….right now I need to strategize, to figure out what needs to be done. Even if everything goes wrong, well atleast I will know what it means to put your life and career on the line and also what ‘clich├ęd catch lines’ like chase your dreams and follow your heart are really all about….