Keep Walking

In life when we all move ahead to achieve our goals, be it just reaching the office or improving the bottom line of a manufacturing unit, we come across various obstacles. As a person moves ahead on a certain path, he meets so many obstacles or doors that are shut, breaking his progress. Obstacles have to be overcome and the doors have to be opened in order to move ahead in the direction one has chosen. So what do we do when see a door shut on our path from a distance itself? Do we stop in out tracks right there, or reach the door then see what happens, or may be slow down the speed and watch if the delay helps or just move with confidence? And finally when we reach the door do we just push open it if it is still shut or find an alternate route without even touching it?
The kind of decisions that we take tell a lot about our attitude to life. We could be a pessimist, optimist, unconfident, over confidant, scared or couldn’t careless types. There is no denying that everyone’s life has challenges, obstacles or if nothing, tricky situations. And if anyone has to get anywhere he has to keep moving in the chosen direction.

What I do to go about in life could be considered between optimistic and reckless. I must be having it from my childhood. I remember when I was just 12 years old I used to cycle very fast. I was in Allahabad, which is fairly a big city. I had to cycle about 5 km one way between my home and school. I had to cross many heavy traffic zones. Although there were mostly bicycles, cycle rickshaws, few cars and scooters, but I went fast right till the point I met the real stop point. My reflexes were good and I was confidant of myself. But what I realized that mostly I went through the traffic in the same speed, because I found some gap that got created by the time I got there. That was an attitude of an optimistic to the point of being reckless. It is also true that I would have definitely braked if I was going to bump into something in front. So somehow I got trained into acquiring that attitude in life.

No sensible person really would kill himself on purpose. There is no way through the two head lights of a truck, obviously. After all of us are carrying a lot of responsibilities, of our family, work, our health and social ones. But the attitude of always playing safe can eat into the height our success could have reached, if we were a little bold.
I feel most of my decisions have gone right. I jumped into studying films without knowing the consequences. I was just so excited. Living so far from Bombay, I had never thought that movies could ever be my career. I was fascinated. I never imagined that I will be making money from those stars, whose films I would not be able to watch because I had no money. I only dreamt about them day and night. Even when I got my admission in the film school I was not sure where I was headed, after I finished. But I went ahead, studied hard and when I reached Bollywood, the doors just opened. Now I have been around here since 1972 and did fairly well too.

I am not trying say that this is the attitude to be followed. I am also not saying that all of my decisions have been right. I am only trying to put across that if someone does not walk with a resolve of finding the doors open by the time he gets there, then a lot of his time and valuable opportunities may be lost. Perhaps one should consider the doors and obstacles in your path more like illusions rather than reality and just keep walking.

6 May, 2007

Hello, this is me

My ‘Sound Recording’ course got over in the end of April, 1972. The very next day after the formalities of final semester were done with; I vacated the hostel, packed my bag and landed in Bombay. It was 3 May. In true to ‘filmy style’; I was faced with a horryifying situation of spending my first night on a street, in the mega city. My friend Arun Chakravarty had got accomodation in a lodge, where I had parked my bag. But after 9 pm the owner would not let any outsider remain in. So, I had to get out and start walking up and down… to kill time. How much ‘time’ would that be, I had no idea. Mentally I was prepared to spend the night, in the open… In a while I sat down on a bench. I was visualizing a cop to appear, question me harshly, about what was I doing there so late or might threaten me to go home or just get lost…

It was past 11 pm and most of lodge lights were off. My eyes were glued to the lodge gate, that held all the comfort and security behind it. Suddenly I saw a figure at the gate. My friend, gingerly opened the shutter of the lodge, he gestured me to come. Very quietly he sneeked me into his room… and… very narrowly I escaped the adventure of sleeping on a cement bench at Lallu Bhai Park, Andheri. Next day, on May 4, my other friends found a large room for me at Arab Bunglaow, Khetwadi Main Road (Girgaon). I had been allotted a bed out of four available in the room. Best part was other 3 beds also were occupied by my Film Institute friends. I would stay here for the next 5 years and would become very close friends of land-lord Jayant Patel and his entire family.

In a few days I found myself working as a recording assistant in a number of movies. And soon I found myself not only working with the stars, I admired from a distance, but also became a part of their team! Within year and a half I had to bid good-bye to assisting, as in Oct 1973, I got a break as Navketan’s ‘sound recordist’.

By 1985 I had done nearly 25 feature films.

Later I got into documentaries and did sound for many established documentary makers. I also did production jobs, did some writing, also produced and directed a few documentaries.