Sunday, 25 May 2014



I think everyone observes people. I had the habit from schooldays. Here I developed it as a practice and brought some order into it by making notes and doing it in select spaces and places. One of the common practices is to try to guess the story of the person you are watching. Suppose you see a man wearing just one shoe and is running behind a bus to Howrah. You try to construct a plausible story behind him by answering certain basic questions like where he is coming from, what his occupation is, where he is going to and what his purpose is etc. Sometimes you get a story or thought which stays, sometimes not. 
Yesterday, a Sunday, surprised us with rain. I sat in the room, sulking till late in the afternoon. Then the thought of tea got the better of me and when the rain showed promises of dwindling down I set out to the nearest tea shop, 'the hardworking's' [Because they open earlier and shut later than most places in the city]. As usual rain tricked me. It gained momentum as I walked towards the exit of the institute. After tea when I saw the nearest momo shop open, I decided to have lunch. Chowmeen.
In first year, in canteen when one of my professors was having egg chowmeen I remember making a wry face and asking him how he could eat that and telling him that I could never like chowmeen. He said I would in some months of being there. Well , it took a year and half of me being here, but yes, his prediction has been fulfilled. Of course, I make it a point never to have it in his vicinity. 
While waiting for my egg chowmeen I saw a woman, about 30, who had taken shelter under the eave of the shop. Peach was the colour of her shirt. She had an unusual headphone, with a microphone and I was wondering why she would use such a thing for a phone conversation or to listen to music. 
How do we discern if a person has a story behind them or not? How quickly we compartmentalise people as ordinary, peculiar, weird, extraordinary et al. We trust our intuition and experience and take pride in it. Yes, we are right most of the time, but not always. 
Just before my half plate of steaming chowmeen was placed on the table, I saw the woman's wrist. It only had scars. Deep. One of them had not healed, or it never would. It had left a gaping hole. It was not empathy or sympathy that I felt. Pure vexation. I hated the world that moment. Lost appetite. You know how in movies it's a common technique to generate silence as soon as a big explosion happens, running everything in slow motion. Tried and tested method to convey the feeling, I suppose. It happened in real for me. I would never be able to understand the woman, her story or her scars. Didn't bother to think of what her story would be. If they were self inflicted wounds or not. Nada. She left before the rain stopped. 
It's an eerie coincidence that I had made this sketch only a couple of days ago. I will never forget her and her abused wrist, arm. Once in a year, I think all of us need disillusionment bouts which make us aware of our own silliness and insignificance. Once in a year we can all go to hell. 

Stitched: water colour and pen on handmade paper

Wednesday, 21 May 2014


After fighting a lot with the department we were successful in obtaining a long vacation among other things. Will be going home soon.
The most important event of this month for us as students was a workshop conducted on Lensing by N, a professor of the Department of Motion Picture Photography. I am being a little selfish and not sharing the key concepts and ideas that were imparted during the workshop. Suffice to say that I realized I was in an abusive relationship with lensing in filmmaking altogether.
N and I became good friends post the workshop. I made a bookmark and gifted him in return for the mindblowing classes. The lines are his, from one of his poems. I realized it's quite easy to make a bookmark and soon after i made this one, found some good ideas for it here. Intend to try some out. They make for good gifts for readers. 

anklet, water colour, OHP pen and paper.


Monday, 5 May 2014

May be of Change

The campus is in full bloom with May flowers, and many more purple, yellow and other colours. Yes, that is also a point I am trying to make. Most of us don't know the names of the trees and plants around us. Its also a coincidence that its in this month of the legendary workers' struggle that the first organized protest from the students of our department happened. Even though we had earlier protested against the haphazard way the course was moving ahead, this time we were more organized, our demands stronger. For the first time in our batch, a whole department of students boycotted a workshop.
I am documenting the progress of this students' protest.

On 2nd May 2014 we got a mail from the department informing us of a workshop to be held from today, 5th May, 2014. This was the immediate cause of the meeting which we held on 3rd May. In the meeting we decided that we will not go ahead with this workshop unless our pending work is sorted out and a proper vacation be granted. The pending work includes a workshop on lighting and lensing, one on sound design, post production work and screening of the III Demo film and the post production work of the mise-en-scene project. A letter addressed to the HOD was drafted. This was submitted today and the workshop was called off because we boycotted it. A meeting is to be held with other faculty after which decisions on these topics will be taken.

I, however, also had other proposals to the administration which are not academic in nature. Like I said, most of us are completely unaware of the trees around us. I went to the registrar and suggested that we place a name plate over ALL the trees and plants on campus, which is a handsome number for 50 acres of land, showing their scientific and common names. He was totally supportive of this and I am happy. The second suggestion, however, faced some scepticism. Throughout the year the campus has some contruction work or the other going on. The current ones in progress are the contruction of a studio and a new hostel. I suggested that photographs of all the labourers be taken (said that I am willing to do it, rather I AM doing it) and those be framed and hung in the buildings after the work is done. It didn't spring up from earth one fine day, did it. I think we need to value human labour in some way possible. The registrar said he wasn't sure about this. I heard the usual 'I have no problem, but don't know if others will agree'. He asked me to put forward both the proposals in writing. Going to do that.

Let the month of May be of change.

May flowers on campus. Photo, kunjila mascillamani henry