3rd January was a difficult day. I was as usual unprepared for an important exam. It was my computer exam for the third semester. Peter sir, one of the few gems that I discovered in NRAI was not around. He was in Mumbai living up his Mumbai dreams editing the Indian Idol episodes. Teachers have always been a support I like to lean on; especially their presence during exams gives me a boost to score well despite the lack of preparation. A new teacher who did not really appreciate all the effort I had put for the qualifying assignment did not help the situation too much. The snide remarks of rival class-mates added to the chill in the air. So basically I was miserable and totally unprepared for the call that was to change my life.
During the recess between the theory and the practical sessions of the exam, I saw the name Sabiha Farhat flash on the cell phone LCD. Now this was not a call I was expecting at all. I had spoken to her on 1st to wish her new year plus to clear a few doubts regarding the paper she had taught that semester. Let me make clarifications here itself. I had doubts not because I was not attentive in her class. The fact is I hardly attended any of her classes. In hindsight it is a decision that I regret deeply. There was so much more she could have taught me had I just been there.
Her call was simple.
“Priyanka there is a project where I need an assistant director. It is a Naxalite area. Will you come along?” was all she said.
My first reaction was, “Yes Ma’am!”
She was cool as a cucumber. “Ask your mom. If she gives you the permission then we will talk further.”
“Ma’am is this, an internship?” I had asked hopefully. I was so elated at the thought of going for a real shoot after all the theory I had read (and wrongly had assumed that I was completely prepared. Once on the shoot, I realized that no amount of theory can prepare you for the real thing)
The recess was over. I had to go to give the remaining part of the exam. I informed ma’am and the conversation ended.
The excitement was so much for me to bear. I think I was the quietest around Gurneet for the first time that day since we had met. Keeping it all in was a task for me. But my wise senses advised me to tell anyone only after I had made up my mind and my mom had no problem (to be read as ‘and managed to convince my mom').
I do not remember anything else from the day’s happening.
In the evening I told my mom with the characteristic enthusiasm that’s typical of me. She listened to me. Gave me an ok, but only if I cleared a few things with Sabiha Ma’am before going.
3rd January 2006 was one of the sleepless nights of my life that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I had made a decision to go ahead. Would call up Ma’sm as soon as possible.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
One year has passed. But the memories are still afresh. Though its not going to be the same my mom warns me. The details of the numerous adventures that I was fortunate enough to experience last year will fade away, whether I like it or not. Over the years I have developed a foolproof mechanism of ignoring my mother’s nagging. But this time she stuck a chord when she reprimanded me for not heeding her advice and writing a chronicle of my documentary experiences. The red alarm sounded when I could not re-collect the name of a village I had visited. That is the sole reason for starting this new blog. The focus here will be the documentary film and the adventures or miss-adventures that I had in January of 2006.