Sunday, August 30, 2015

And His Delhi Sojourn Ends

A Thursday morning in the midst of summer 2008, the Bhubaneswar Rajdhani Express chugged into New Delhi Railway Station, bringing a 16 year old boy face-to-face with the capital for an unexpected and yet undecided short visit. He had been to the city a lot many times since childhood, but this was going to be a different kind of visit. Amidst a lot of chaos and uncertainties, he had already set on a long journey of self-discovery, unknown to him at the particular moment in time.

Amidst situations both good and bad, he met some people who really cared for him. While some people brought out the best in him, his abilities, his works and his learnings, some were doing their best to get him out of his shell, to see the world the way it is, to accept the obstacles and move ahead, while still others were the reason he learnt the basic virtues of friendship. Every single person he met on the way, affected and impacted his life, and every lesson learnt was a step taken ahead in the right direction.

He came with a lot of worry and inhibitions, as one who cared too much about things; Delhi brought him face-to-face with people who understood this. Slowly he started letting go, taking life as it comes, and enjoying every bit. Even if he didn’t feature prominently in the memories of a lot of people who met him, he made sure his camera captured every moment of the meeting. He treasured the thoughts and the moments spent together more than anything else.

From the small joys of seeing an AC chicken shop to a mall as huge as the Ambience, from visiting every place as a tourist to being a regular part of the city life, from meeting new people and sharing space with strangers to being the best of friends, and from falling in love to understanding the harsh reality of life, Delhi saw him grow from a boy to a man, helping and nurturing at every point and taking care to make sure he falls in love with the city to an extent that it is synonymous with ‘home’.

In Delhi, he spent the last two years of school and lived in a hostel- the experience of which he never wants to replicate; he got into a college of his choice- a place where, in three years, he was about to learn the biggest life lessons while doing some of the most significant work of his yet-insignificant life; and finally he went to a university where in the most adverse psychological conditions he was reaffirmed that people do care, understand and support you if you have the will do something different.

He had arrived as a boy in the big city, one with a lot of attachments, one who had never imagined how the world outside the well is, but at the same time he was filled with curiosity, he had the zeal to explore, he wanted to experiment as much as he could, and most importantly, he wanted to learn as much as possible. 7 years later, it is all still the same; the eagerness to learn still drives him.

A day after his arrival in Delhi, in the most casual way, he started writing a blog. It became a habit, an addiction that grew over the years. His name became synonymous with his blog. And today, after 7 years 2 months and 18 days, as he bids adieu to the city that made him who he is today, he writes his 293rd blog entry- the last one while the capital’s soil still lies under his feet and on the last night that he spends in the city. He will continue blogging, but the home-base would change. Changes are difficult but an all-important part of life and he moves to unexplored waters with the hope of keeping the quest of learning of the kid in his heart alive.

His arrival in Delhi never told him how long his stay was going to be or what important life-lessons he was going to be taught here. He never knew he would be making the best moments of his life in the city with some people who would be a definite part of his future. He had no clue he would get so attached to the place that it would become difficult to leave. He was here on a short visit after all, and it turned out to be beautiful beyond his best thoughts. And that’s exactly how he would like to remember it as his Delhi Sojourn comes to a close.
120 of the best pictures summing up the 7 year Delhi journey. Click and open to view in full size.

Thank you for the 7 years of awesome memories. Good bye Delhi!

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Saturday, August 15, 2015

When the Clock struck 6: An Independence Day Post

A chain of thoughts led me to the realisation that it is for the first time that I am at home on the 15th of August since I moved to Delhi over 7 years ago from Odisha. Why is it significant? Because in the years before that, we used to organise a flag hoisting ceremony on the rooftop of our apartment early morning at 6, before we proceeded to go and attend the function at school. A practice that stalled when I moved away from home.

The tricolour hosted on our rooftop. Picture dated: 15 August 2006
It used to be an elaborate process. We were a group of 8-15 year olds who had formed a children’s club in the colony. We called it ‘Jagriti Amar-Tinkle Club’ or ‘JATC’ in short. (Yes, there was a ‘Tinkle’ link) We met on Sundays, twice a month, usually at one of the member’s house in rotation, and organised activities and contests for ourselves. We would get elders in the colony, our parents and grandparents, and teachers from school to judge the events. We went on to even celebrate our sports meet and annual functions with full-on performances over the three years the club functioned (2004-2007). Uncle Pai, the founding Editor of Tinkle, was my guiding force, who helped me in setting up the club and kept an eye on its activities.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Gauri shares her #ColgateMagicalStories

This Saturday when my mother invited our maid's 9 year old daughter, Gauri, she was anxious about the visit. I wondered if she would be okay to be on camera. We handed her the packs of Colgate Dental Cream and implored her to look inside for a surprise. Shy of the camera at first, but within minutes the young girl was all pumped-up and working her way with the scissors to bring her magical stories alive. Take a look at the vlog of her experience:

After over two hours when we asked her what she wanted to do now, all she said was "I want to play more". And so, she carried the Colgate characters home and as her mother tells us, "spent the entire evening and some days after that, creating all kinds of amazing royal tales." The power of constructive parenting.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Watch the Teaser of 'Told Untold' (2015)

I take immense pleasure in releasing the teaser for my new documentary film 'Told Untold' for online audiences. The film premiered on 31st May 2015 at Kunzum Cafe, Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi for a limited audience (Details & Photos- here). It is common practice to have a trailer for a film long before the release so as to create a social buzz about it, amidst other reasons. Surprisingly, the premiere of the film happened long before the trailer was cut. There is a special reason for this. The premiere in a way was a test-screening of the film so as to gather feedback and suggestions from the audience and accordingly incorporate changes in the final cut. The final cut was completely last week and keeping in view the timing, the teaser is being released.


About the film: 'Told Untold'

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