Saturday, January 9, 2010

Revisiting Role and Relevance

Warning: This Post is a long Soliloquy. It is not cool at all. It’s Long and written with least concern for the reader. So kindly adjust or skim or just skip!

I love Media. ‘Media! Media! Media!’ My eyes light up. This affair took its roots with “The Hindu” newspaper. Keenly following what Nirmal Shekhar and S Dinakar wrote (Nirmal wrote sports like it was some art, a poet that he was) and gleefully reading up V Gangadhar’s ‘Slice of Life’ Columns. He wrote in the Sunday Magazine, about South Indian food, his yesteryears and his life in general. Also, RK Narayan used to write columns for “The Hindu” which he published in his book “The Writerly Life”. My dream always has been to write funny columns like V Gangadhar or RK Narayan. Give me my space and I’ll play there. Strangely that philosophy holds water with life too.

When my friends had passions like Maths, Automobiles, Engineering, Medicine etc, my only passion was to detest all these subjects publicly. And as God’s smiled, my father/brother were kind enough to come to a conclusion that Engineering was not my cup of filter kaapi. And then Anna Univ offered this course called Electronic Media which is where I eventually joined.

Now after joining a 5 year Media course, life became joy. We had to do print, radio, TV, 3D design, advertising, news bulletins, research and all such sexy resume pointers in those dreamy 5 years. The operational word here is “Resume Pointers”. That’s precisely what my course ever helped me with.

NO, please don’t visualise anything like Aamir Khan type professor telling us how Media works. All we got in our course were famished men and women profs with a vision so short they couldn’t see past first bench. Not all of them were so bad. Few were good. They could, for instance, catch me passing chits in the last bench.

Their disinterest and pitiable teaching skills, ensured all of us got time to dream. I dreamt to be a movie director. I told myself, “I will make movies and then when am old, will write columns in ‘The Hindu’ on how movie-making works.” I told my friends about the kind of movies I’ll make. Although, there is a lot of room for Amol Palekar kind of movie making in India, a benign humor filled with irony types. I guess the first story I told my friends was a superhero subject. They laughed it off. We made short films and I tried to exercise my directorial dreams there. My father was excited that I’d be a Movie director one day.Sorry folks; I don’t have parents like those in 3 idiots. I had set expectations low smartly right from day 1.

Realising that to be a movie director meant at least 5 years without proper pay and doing an assistant director’s job included managing crowds, my director dreams saw pause’ibilites rather than possibilities. This lazy pampered author can’t do crowd managing job. Sorry.

I told my friends and folks that, I won’t be a movie director anytime now. That I have postponed the same till I reach 35. I told myself “I’ll get into advertising, become a Copywriter/Ad maker and eventually, become a movie director one day like Rajeev Menon. And after I make some great movies, I’ll become a columnist for the “The Hindu” Newspaper”

And so in third year of my college in an aim to crack the advertising world, I went around Chennai asking for copy writing internships. I found one finally.RK Swamy BBDO. I told the lady there I wanted to do writing. But she put me into Client servicing. I became the intern like that poor intern in Dilbert strip. I was given long briefs (Chi!) and was asked to make power point presentations out of them. I soon started liking power point presentations and inserted pictures and funny quotes and animations wherever I could. I was once made to buy an Apron for some shoot for a masala brand. That was the closest I ever got to the creative guys in those 6 months.

Now, the worst thing about getting exposed to a corporate world is the ‘Good Life’. Managers drove nice cars. Went to fashionable restaurants. Always Shaven (The guys I mean). Had separate Cubicles. (apart from toilet)Now as I made power point slides and saw young managers live it up and with myself reporting to a GM there; getting into the decision making manager job dint seem to be a bad idea at all. So what if I cant make ads, it’s all about making contacts I learnt.Will eventually get there, told myself.

Then a lousy attempt at CAT and rejecting a coding job at infosys later, I tried Mumbai Media. Mumbai = Chics ...err...Media. And so I landed at a cushy job in a firm that understands TV audience and works with TV Channels. Numbers. NUMBers. For one, I learnt Ms Excel. Mastered it rather, I can make magic out of Excel. Make birds and rabbits come out if it. Yesterday, for instance, I made a pie chart which looked like that power ranger hero’s mask. I can make a merciless 200 slide a presentation and throw jargon at will.

Sometimes, stressed out with the workload, I sit with my laptop and let my mind drift on possibilities. Life is full of possibilities, my young mind yearns for that special wake up sid moment which would help me decide on a less shallow approach to career. In lot many ways, it’s like zeroing upon the ideal girl before we test our charm with one too many. Maybe, that's why Jerry Mcguire is a favorite movie. It talks about two things. Sincerity to Love and Passion for Work.

Now 2 promotions happened. The firm is nice to me. I am stuck here in a corporate set up, good thing is I meet the Content guys and Marketing guys in TV Channels, and I realise they aren’t happy too. Heee Heee.. Tight Deadlines, Editorial Policy, Pressure for Marketable Content have ensured creative guys are mere puppets in the bigger picture. Maybe Job Satisfaction is an oxymoron, but I guess you should work in a job which you are passionate about. Which you truly care about and can write columns on.

For me it will be any job which will eventually make me close to a movie director (cos am passionate about Cinema) and a Columnist for “The Hindu” Newspaper (cos I cant take it out of my head!). Its good to put it down in my blog for I’ll revisit this on a future date… and wonder.

A Columnist is not as passionate as a Journalist. In fact, he is detached and often amused by the world around. And my journey for all its shallowness amuses me, and as Calvin finally said ‘Let’s Go Exploring’