Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Lucky Guy - I

I'm a lucky guy. Not everyone will agree, but it's what I feel, and it's my life so it is what I think of it.

In the final analysis, nobody can call me successful - the way the world measures success anyway. 

What have I got to show?

On my 8th birthday I was gifted a book (one of Enid Blyton's adventure series) and little did I know that it was a hook. I swallowed it willingly and hung on to it for dear life. But unlike other hooks, this was connected to a lifeline. I clutched it like a hungry fish. I haven't let go of it yet, and don't intend to. It's like being married - till death do us part.

So when I finished school, what else could I dream of except opting for English literature in college? But fate had other things for me.

My mother wanted me to be an engineer. 'Mera laadla engineer banega.' I couldn't deny her her ambition. So yours truly went to a polytechnic and completed four years of engineering.

What most of the people around me thought was a big break was for me a disaster. But I was lucky and how!

In our polytechnic library, there was a section of World Literature. No, don't rub your eyes. You're really reading what you are. And neither are you dreaming. I reacted the same way as I stood in front of the shelves of original editions of Dickens, Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Simone de Beauvoir, Thomas Hardy, Jane Austen, Homer, Shakespeare, Alexandre Dumas, Miguel De Cervantes, Rabindranath Tagore - I didn't count the number of books but my guess is there were close to 500 books in the literature section. 

Yoohoo! Paradise Regained. Suddenly I longed to spend more time in college (while folks around me thought I was in love with some girl in the college. I was in love, but you know with whom, or what.)

5 months of every semester, I was reading literature, leaving the last month for engineering. So the end result was a Grade A+ engineer with a literary (you're kidding) bent of mind.

Who said an engineer's life was dull? I worked for six months at Hindustan Organic Chemicals where a brand new Nitrochlorobenzene plant was commissioned. It was a risk, as NCB had explosive properties and the technology was new. Moreover, the technology was developed with Swiss expertise mixed with our own scientists in HOCL. But our own engineers were sceptical about the success of the plant, more because it was indigenously developed and they, like all their Indian brothers and sisters, believed less in Indian and more in 'phoren' technology.

Our senior engineers showed us how the plant was to be operated and retreated into the safety of the office building a good 3 km away from the plant. Yours truly was handling the pressure and temperature gauges and meticulously minding the plant as per the operating manuals. Every time one of us interns turned a knob, we held our breaths because we didn't know if the thing would blow up in our faces. But we survived, as sure as you're reading this blog today.

I was complimented for being the most enterprising and promising young engineers of my lot.

Lucky, ain't I?

But I didn't think so, again. In those four years something else had happened. Something that pulled me to the creative side of this rat race. I had fallen prey to the wonders of moving pictures and being called a good engineer did not make me happy. Blame it on the flood of Video cassette recorders which turned moviegoing from a monthly picnic into a weekly and sometimes even more. I devoured movies and before long, I wanted to make my own.

I was biting my nails. I had no filmi connexions. Hell, I didn't even know whom to approach. I was voraciously reading film magazines, interviews of film directors. I explored the possibility of getting into FTII but a technical hitch made me ineligible for admission.

24x7 I was thinking of movies, movies and movies. Then all of a sudden I saw an advertisement for a course in journalism. I jumped and landed straight in the Screen magazine as a sub-editor-cum-reporter.

Aahh! This was life. I went to film sets, travelled with film crews to exotic locations, partied late into the night in between interviewing producers, directors, actors. And then the day dawned. The moment which every Indian film journalist waits for.

I interviewed - guess guess guess who? Yes! 


sridevi datta said...

Wowwwww! You interviewed the big B? I sure envy you now:D But I really enjoyed your journey and am glad you found your true calling:)

Archana Sarat said...

What a journey! An engineer to a reporter... it is rare to find a person who has the guts to go behind their dreams. Hats off to you!

Chinks.14 said...

That is amazing....I loved reading your journey and its so exciting..:)

Neelesh Inamdar said...

Thanks Vijit. Just learnt you're an engineer too. A poet-engineer is a rocking combination. (y)

Aditi said... are most definitely lucky! ;) This one in a kind journey!

Pankti Mehta said...

Yup. You are lucky :)