Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Random Musings

I am writing this post solely for two reasons: One, I am still unable to decide what to write in the two contests in which my participation is pending at IndiBlogger and two, I am having the urge to write something since the past few days but am unable to decide what to write about. And so, do not be surprised if you find this one of those rare boring entries I make sometimes. And I should be okay to see a maximum of 20 pageviews for this post and probably no comments!

The past few days have been fun- full of anxiety for many things. The college magazine which we made in a matter of 20 days for its February 27 release, took a lot longer to get printed (thanks to many reasons which I wouldn’t be very open about here, considering that from here the message can reach the undesired audience as well). One thing was proven when we got hold of the issue on March 22nd- intellectual thinking coupled with an urge to do the work in a scheduled deadline in the best way might bring about results slowly but would definitely be worth the wait. Personally we love each bit of the issue; it is the market feedback that we require now so as to sketch our progress.
The Jhankaar 2012 Team being presented with the first printed copy

Another cause of anxiety has been my third semester results. No idea what is wrong with the university. With each passing semester, the results seem to be getting delayed a little longer (Less than 2 months wait in Sem 1 and as of now, more than 3 months wait in Sem 3). Seriously, Indian government universities cannot be held liable for anything. Why the delay in the results IP?

Recently I was at a friend’s place for an assignment and that was when I finally copied all the episodes of the American sitcom ‘Friends’ from her hard disk to my laptop. The sole reason behind this was that I wanted to know what is so crazy about ‘Friends’ that people who haven’t watched it are differently-categorized by the ones who have watched it? (“Yaar, tune Friends nahi dekhi?”) Well, I did get to know what makes it different- I got so addicted to watching the series that I had to make and follow a strict timetable so as not to strain my eyes and not to ignore my work!

Last Thursday evening I happened to be at India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road to shoot some footage for an assignment for my TV Production Lab. I had read in the paper that there was an open-air book library and book reading, launch seminar being held at the Open Air Theatre at IHC (Yeah, it is the same one that we saw in Rang De Basanti as a location in Delhi University) Call it coincidence or luck or whatever, the time I was at IHC happened to be the time when Shashi Tharoor was to make an appearance for his new book’s pre-launch screening. Considering that IHC is not an over-crowded place and very few people tend to visit it, I had a nice time getting my picture clicked with yet another ‘celebrity’. In fact, Mr Tharoor along with his wife (who I must remark, was absolutely stunning!) took a sit right in front of where I was sitting with my friend. Wow!

After a late-night dinner (egg-sandwich made by me for myself for the first time) and at an even late night time for having Maaza, I don’t think I am going to bore you with more of these random musings now. If you have stuck with me till the end, thank you. If not, well, I don’t need to say anything then!

Hope for a ‘better’, ‘witty’ and ‘meaningful’ entry in the coming days. Enjoy life! :)

P.S.: It was the 26th of March yesterday- It's been two years already since I left the Kingdom of Heaven and almost the same time since I made my first 'movie'. Time flies!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Rishikesh: When Adventure Seekers are held by the Fury of Nature

“What’s this noise?” I wonder as I open my eyes and see nothing but darkness. It seems as if huge stones are being hurled on the roof. I check the time. It is 4:05 in the morning. I then remember and realize, I am sleeping inside a tent and it is raining heavily outside. The kerosene lantern kept just outside the tent has gone out. I cuddle up inside my blanket and smile as I close my eyes to complete my sleep.

I wake up three hours later, a really early time for me to be out of bed. I put on my slippers and move out of the tent. The rain has stopped. I walk to the edge of the ridge and see the mighty Ganga gushing peacefully metres away from me. I look around the beautiful scene setting. I realize how small a being I am in the face of the wonderfully tranquil and huge natural surroundings. I stand and gaze.

The sun is up but wouldn’t be visible for at least an hour, thanks to the high hills surrounding me. Sound of birds and numerous insects are distinctly audible in the pleasant but eerie morning. I take a wooden chair and sit. I put my camera to use. How I wish to capture everything that I can see and never move away from this place!!

It is the rafting day today- the one thing that brought me pulling here, to Rishikesh. Along with three of my college friends, I reached the adventure camp yesterday. It is an amazing feeling to be enjoying nature at a place where modern science has not ventured to reach. No mobile communication. No electricity. It is just nature and you. Probably that’s what pulls us closer to every aspect of living life somewhat similar to the early man before the stone age. (Yeah, ‘somewhat similar’!)

Last evening was a big reminder of this. Using kerosene lanterns to navigate our way in the jungle to reach the tents or the dining area isn’t something any of us living in the metros would ever come across in the city’s night life. (I personally had used a kerosene lantern solely for a science experiment in school) An accidental upward craning of our necks showed us the most amazing sight. Little stars, which didn’t seem ‘little’ at all right now, were staring at us, giving us the sole company. The four of us sat together in the empty dining area and had long conversations regarding virtually everything- life, our plans, our ambitions and of course, girls- everything which we as guys, would never do back home to pass precious time.

"Nature laughs at our helplessness as she knows she has
been successful in overpowering us."
We are on the raft now. It has been 15 minutes into the experience already. All of us here are first-timers apart from the guides. They are the sole people we rely on in case something goes wrong. And anyways, all of us are wearing life jackets and almost none of us, apart from the guides of course, know swimming. It is the Three Blind Mice approaching. It would be the biggest and the longest rapid till now. The sail has been smooth. Nature is sitting and staring at us and smiling. She is going to give us an unforgettable experience within a few moments.

There is a huge splash of water and lo and behold, my side of the raft moves up and up until I am clinging to a rope by my left hand for dear life. The raft doesn’t overturn, but the power of the wave pushes all of us into the dangerously live waters in the middle of the Ganga. I am up and back at my seat soon, thanks to the timely help from one of the guides. 5 of our people and 2 guides are in the waters. What would everyone, who had warned us against this trip, say if one of us doesn’t return? ‘Let all be safe’- that’s all I can think of at the moment. Nature laughs at our helplessness as she knows she has been successful in proving her worth and overpowering us. It is a crooked game.

Our re-boarding the raft and return to Delhi becomes a reminder of many things. It had been a sudden plan to go for this trip. I hardly knew the people I was joining in for it. By the time we were back, things were a lot different. We missed the hills. We missed the serene river. We missed the no-mobile phone and no-internet time. We missed the don’t-care-about-the-world feeling.

We had been nature’s guests for two days- two days when we had no option but to be ‘clothed’ Adams- and now it is back to being the slaves of the fast pacing city life- the apple beckons Eve.

Writing on a given topic has never been an easy task for me to achieve. What my wandering mind sees and has second thoughts about, is what I normally write. After a previous and successful attempt at topic-based writing at college, this is my entry for the ‘Kissan 100% Real Blogger Contest’ on IndiBlogger. I hope my attempt has been at least able to match the desired ‘topic’! [:D]

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Story of two friends

I read an entry on indiblogger some time ago, which pitched the idea for this entry into my mind. I planned to post this then but was on second thoughts. I rescheduled the entry to go out today- an important day…read on to find out how and why.

This is the story of two friends. Actually, the two happened to be friends thanks to their fathers, who were college mates. And so it happens that right from the time the two are born, they know each other, they know each other’s families and are termed ‘childhood’ friends… They are not people who come across each other on moving to a new locality or a new school. Both of them literally, grow up together.

The two of us with our respective siblings.
Toy Train, Batasia Loop, Darjeeling. May 1999
They go to the same play school; live in the same locality with their balconies facing each other; birthday parties together; each is the first to arrive at the other’s party; grow up and enter the same ‘big’ school for kindergarten; teachers know that you can’t separate the two of them any time; and I think neither of them remembers any of the things mentioned here because they were too young when all of it happened! [:D]

When they were 7, one of the fathers moved to a different city. It was 3 in the morning when the two friends sleepily waved goodbyes. Schools changed; localities changed; friends changed; but their friendship grew.

The two families went on a summer trip to Darjeeling and Gangtok when the friends were 8. It was in the year 1999. Family visits and meeting-trips continued over the years. The two friends grew up. Talking on the phone had never been considered important or required. They connected over social networking sites. Today, the two are at two separate locations; different colleges; different courses; different dreams; but are aware that they might meet anytime.

They are not friends who would say “Sorry I haven’t been in touch in so many days”. They would probably meet and ask “What have you been doing over the past years?” Whatever the case, they are sure to remain good friends.

Yeah, this is how we looked 13 years ago!
The two friends that I am talking about are Aranyak Mishra and yes, you guessed it right, me! It’s Aranyak’s 20th birthday today and this special entry comes in today to wish this old buddy of mine a very Happy Birthday!

When I left DAV Burla after Class 10, our teacher in LKG, Mrs Tapasi Rout told me, “I still remember your first day in my class 12 years ago. Aranyak and you- inseparable friends.

I have written about so many special people and events in my life over the past years in my blog entries but never have I mentioned this guy, probably because the two of us have been together even before we learnt our A,B,Cs! We are not friends who miss each other, I think we haven’t talked in two years, I haven’t wished him for his birthday in 14 years, but whatever may be the case I believe the two of us were born to be friends for life. (Thanks to our fathers, of course!) [:)]

Wish you a very Happy Birthday Aranyak! God Bless You. Enjoy the day. Hope to see you soon. :)

P.S.: I am not even sure Aranyak will be reading this blog entry anytime soon. I hope he does! :)
P.S.2: I don't even call him 'Aranyak'. It is our nicknames that we are more familiar with, but considering that this is the World Wide Web and I have got a considerable number of readers, I would prefer not revealing the nicknames! :D

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Here's to the 'crazy' ones...

Yeah, this has been the longest break that I have ever given to my blog writing. You might ask why. Well, a weird, impractical and just-for-fun idea is the sole reason as to why my last blog entry was more than a month ago.

The university fest kept me busy for the first four days of February. Although I couldn’t perform well in the Creative Writing Contest there, I knew somewhere that it was my blog-writing style that had got me to the finals. Next, I was busy planning to volunteer at the Comic Con India at Dilli Haat from 17th-19th February. I got selected. But, I pulled out at the last moment. I got my class’s group-assignments done by my team members without any contribution from me, something which is a first time in my entire college life. I had my internal semester exams last week. I appeared for them without studying at all, a first time for me! Appearing for exams without studying at all- something I couldn’t have ever dreamed of. But yes, I did all this! All because of one single crazy idea that I had on the 6th of February 2012!

February 27, 2012 3.15 PM, Sri Ram Centre, Mandi House, New Delhi: It is the Annual Day of my college. This is the big day I have been waiting for since the crazy idea I had 20 days ago. The stage is set. The programme is on. It is the big moment next! My name is announced. “Antarik Anwesan, Editor and Manager of Jhankaar 2012” There is the broadest smile on my face. One after the other, names of my team members are announced by the Director of my institute. We walk up the stage. Yeah, we are felicitated for daring and achieving a seemingly ‘impossible’ goal. We made the entire annual college magazine from scratch in less than 20 days!

“Maam, can we launch Jhankaar on 27th at the Annual Day?” I had asked my faculty. Considering the fact that we had received hardly four articles in the previous three weeks, it was a crazy idea, literally. Even I had not given a serious thought to it before asking this question. I knew this was ‘impractical’. It would require 24x7 hours work for full 20 days. Success was not guaranteed even after that. But if implemented successfully, it had the potential to set records!

Work was on immediately. Posters were pinned to the bulletin boards. Facebook statuses were updated. It was decided that all editorial work would be done ‘online’- strictly! February 12th was set as the deadline for contributions. Lo and behold! 98 articles and over a 100 original photographs and artwork- all received from my college students in just 5 days! Wow!

The work of the editorial board had commenced the moment the first article was received. Within two days of the deadline, all editing work was complete! What remained was the material for the special pages. By the coming Saturday, i.e. 18th, all written material was ready.

The designing of the magazine was on simultaneously. With the first draft pages approved on 10th, my designer friend had a huge challenge before himself- how was he going to design 60 full-scale pages in a matter of two weeks? Patience and persistence were the keys. By 18th, all article-pages were ready and final! The designing speed of my ‘chair-sutra’ friend left us bewildered!

The last week, from 18th to 24th were spent by the entire team together. ‘What’s on your mind?’ facebook asked us on all those rare visits to the site. The only thing that was on our minds was Jhankaar! Exams, assignments, family and everything else were secondary! Sleep was hard to come. We were tired, but the excitement to complete the work on time drove us to the climax with hardly 2-3 hours of sleep each day. Our sole intention- complete Jhankaar in the best way possible so as to get it approved, printed and launched on the Annual Day!

Having worked on the magazine the previous year, I was aware of the problems that are faced if things are not planned well. And so, along with the editorial job, I took up the task of managing the entire work and scale the progress. (Managing Editor- isn’t that what this post is called?) The entire team was already so motivated and driven for the cause that keeping each member in high spirits turned out to be an easy task. There were some really low moments including once when I cursed myself for taking up this Herculean task. But the presence of a source of motivation always had the power to keep us going and daring to achieve the impossible.

Yeah, making this magazine has been the most endearing endeavour in my entire lifetime. Take a look at the journey of 20 days, that we took:

Camera, editing and direction: Ankit Goyla

The magazine is now launched. The entire college has seen the efforts that went into making this possible. The planned 60-pages reached 76 by the time the designing was complete. There are a lot of unique and first-timers in this issue. The magazine hasn’t reached the people yet. It would be out from the press soon. Our hands are craving to hold the final printed copy of the magazine and show our work to the world. Yes, we are the crazy ones. Crazy to work on a completely crazy idea. Crazy to make work fun. Crazy to take up the immense pressure and not fall under it. Crazy to bring out the best edition of the college’s annual printed literature in 12 years in the shortest time duration- 20 days!

Sahil, Tanvi, Sakshi, Ankit and Sushant- that’s my team who made the crazy idea see the light of the day. With too much said we have our fingers crossed now. It’s time for you to decide how well things have been said.

And yeah, don’t worry, I am now going to be back and actively blogging in the coming days. Tada!
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