The Viral Fever Videos is finally making some news for the right reasons. Their new web sketch on the latest fad of ‘pursuing passion because it’s cool’ is spot on! I’ll tell you why..
I was 7 or 8 years old when I first held my Dad’s Yashica motorized film camera outdoors. I was always fascinated with it and used to safeguard it. But, Dad never used to let me to touch it. That day, on 26th January 1996 or 7, I held it in my hand without his knowledge. I even clicked a picture and then pulled some lever on it. I didn’t know that lever actually opened the film cover. Half the roll was exposed to the Sun and we lost the photos. I received my Dad’s fingerprints on my cheek as a token of appreciation for what I had done. Rolls were expensive back then!
That didn’t stop me though. I took a genuine liking to clicking pictures. I was the official family photographer in family functions, even if the camera was someone else’s. The Yashica was replaced by a Nikon digital camera, then by a few 3.2 megapixel phone camera and then by a Nikon D-SLR.
I bought my Nikon’s D5100 in 2011 by borrowing ₹42,000 from my Mom. That sum was twice the salary I earned per month at that time. Yet, I bought it. I had dreamed about it all my life. The feel of the massive lenses. The ability to zoom in and zoom out. The hefty piece feels so good in your hands.! I did it because I was passionate, from my heart!
The initial days were typical of a novice at D-SLR. Click everything you can! And click them with manual settings. Sankey Tank, Malleshwara, Chikpete, Lalbagh, Cubbon Park – name it and I’ve been there.
But, by the time I could get a hold of manual photography a whole generation had started earning quick money just like I was earning. Another generation had earned enough to spend on lavish photo shoots. I saw everyone getting into Candid Wedding, Wildlife, Food and just about every other type of photography while I was busy clicking my friend Simha’s face! When I took up wedding, there were a bunch of fools holding cameras in their hands, clicking pictures for free. Nobody was ready to pay us!
My travel to different places had assured me I click good pictures of cultures, architecture and people. I thought that’s the style I’d want to learn. A year later, when I had saved enough for a mega tour of Rajasthan, I realized every Tom, Dick, Harry and Bob had a D-SLR in hand. And every Neena, Reena and Meena aunty visiting the magnificent forts had her own iPads and iPhones to show off their photography skills. Selfie pouts at mobile screens had only started. I could see at least two monkeys always trying to click a frame that I was trying to click. They had invaded an amateur photographer’s private space.
I don’t feel like pulling the camera out anymore. The sheer number of people doing it makes me feel not to do it. The same happened with Royal Enfield. I was in love with those original Bullets till the Classic 350 fad killed it. There are many such passions that went format or were killed because of the prevalent fads.
Not that I never went with the trends. I did. For different reasons. I started collecting stamps and coins when I was 12. I was doing it because everyone else was doing it, and that was probably the only thing I ever did because everyone else did it. And in 2015-16, when the whole of India was going gaga about starting-up, I too dreamed. But, it wasn’t because I wanted to be famous or because starting-up was the in thing. I had figured out that my current career profile won’t take me too long a distance and my dreams of early retirement required faster money. Starting-up with a big idea was attractive. We learnt our lessons though, my friends and I. Somewhere inside we realized our ideas weren’t mature enough or weren’t big bang enough. We are all proud that we did that, though!
Sometimes I wonder if everyone needs to have a passion in life! The TVF video rightly says that doing 9 to 5 is a passion for some. Did my grandpa and grandma ever have their passion? Well, they didn’t have enough time in life to think about all such things. Feeding their 8 kids and ensuring a foundation of education for all 8 was in itself a mammoth task. And my Dad? I don’t think so he was passionate about anything in life. He liked photography during the Yashica days (the number of photos he has clicked reminds me of the album scene in Wake Up Sid!). He likes doing stuff. Like traveling, newspapers, playing cards, old Hindi music and many such things. But, nothing ever evolved into a passion for him that he’s quit his job to pursue it or that he’s spend half his life’s earnings on. May be, the responsibilities and the relatively lesser financial capabilities ensured that people like him never dream big or even think about pursuing their passions.
So it’s easy to catch the cold of “in-things” and think that’s where our passion lies. Yet, there are some hobbies that never caught up with the masses and so I am enjoying them. My passion for movies has made me spend over a lakh on a modest personal home theater experience and a few thousands on original DVDs and Blue Ray Discs. I have been attending Bengaluru International Film Festival for four years now and I can’t imagine stopping that. My passion for music and beautiful sounds make me attend concerts – Rock, Metal, Hindustani Classical.. Although I used to perform on stage once, as a drummer and percussionist, I now am spending on buying original music in high -resolution. Because I relish those crystal clear sounds. I am pursuing some side studies, trying my hands at growing vegetables, investing time in implementing mechanisms to save water at home.
Blogging is one other passion I have. I wrote my first autobiography in a small booklet of the size of a cigarette holder. I was passionate about writing, more than reading. And that’s why I write. Not to have readers, not get a few likes. Facebook was already getting those likes for me.
It’s a nice thing that certain things in life are either so expensive or so boring that they don’t reach the masses. Which is why, they retain their value over time.