Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My life's path

As I was ruminating and reminiscing about why and how my fascination for media/entertainment began I realised it was always a part of me since childhood. It started off, I would say around the time I was maybe 11 years old. I had this idea of doing a variety show and so I went about gathering friends and people who would be interested.

I rounded up a few kids ..most of them younger than me and we set about planning an entire show which comprised of an introduction, singing, dancing and one act plays. Rigorous practice sessions, costume decisions, flow of the show, props for the show, venue, invitation cards, setting up the stage, allocating responsibilities and following up to make sure everything was in place. Then cajoling my mom to make tea for 50 odd invited audiences and snacks for all of us. Dad would help in setting up the stage by putting in extra lights cleaning it up helping us put up the curtain for the stage and the stage was? The terrace of coz:) And my brother the all important job of a gatekeeper.

We wanted to keep uninvited guests out:) Only those invited were allowed. We had one of the parents or someone as a chief guest and have them cut a ribbon, throw some confetti and glitter and start the show off with a bang:) Nervous anticipation, excitement, anxiousness and after everything went smoothly immense satisfaction... real heady emotions. This became a regular feature and we did it for a few years, becoming increasingly popular, audience increasing, parents recommending that I give their kids an opportunity to be a part of the cast.

We had our usual bickering, tantrums, walk outs, tempers frayed, as well as excellent team work, ideas being bantered about and most importantly loads of fun expressing our creativity and building up our confidence level. This set up the basis of production experience.

From there we moved on to a bigger stage, that of our colony/community stage with an audience of several thousand and plays ranging from one to three act plays:) I still distinctly remember the adrenaline rush as I stepped up to the mike...absolutely addictive.

Then I had just finished my tenth grade which was high school and I chanced upon an ad in the paper from All India Radio asking for talent for the English Youth channel they had. I discussed it with my dad and sent in an application. I was called in for an audition and got through it the very first time and from there on began my love affair with the electronic medium.

I continued that for several years maybe around 14 years till I got married and came to the US. One of my most cherished part of my life. It was because of that I had applied to Jamia Milia Islamia in New Delhi, the top journalism school in the country. I wanted to continue in the media stream. Not everyone could write the entrance exam. You had to be invited to write the exam.

I still remember the day that I received a telegram telling me I am eligible to write my entrance mostly because of my radio shows that I was doing. I went to Delhi to write the exam. I was told that more than 4000 people had applied out of which around 350 were called for the entrance. We were competing for 4 seats that were in the open category:) The first part of it was a four hour essay writing test, which I got through and made it to the next round in which we were shown movies and were asked to critique them. Was shortlisted from that and was among the very few who made it to the final interview stage. Was excited and nervous and got ready for the interview earnestly. While on the way to the interview got caught in a downpour and got got dripping wet:( Tried to dry off as much as possible, but when I walked into the air conditioned studio to meet the panel my teeth started chattering and I started shivering...maybe from cold or nervousness? Anyways bottom line did not make the cut. Needless to say was hearbroken, especially when I had heard that the new guy from the serial Fauji was also a student in the university. A guy called Sharukh Khan:)) Oh well!

Came back dejected, then went on to complete my Bachelors in Commerce and meanwhile continued with on air radio. Did everything except singing:) After graduating from college went on to work in the marketing department of a computer company, got married and came to US in 1993.

Got busy for the next few years settling down and assimilating, learning hard life's lessons without our family or parents to shield us:) What a shock it was to face real life and coming face to face with the ugliness, selfishness and yes also kindness and support. Was a very eye opening or should I say eye popping experience:)

Still held on to my dreams and to that effect joined a radio broadcasting course in DC. Learnt a lot about voice modulation, doing commercials etc. Again had a wonderful time going through the learning process.

Through the school I got to go to an open call for interns. This was for WUSATV 9 a CBS affiliate in Washington DC. I walked into the room full of anticipation which turned into apprehension as I saw room swarming with candidates. The fact that it was an unpaid internship did not seem to deter anyone. I was the only Asian and among a smattering of minorities:) But I did not let that frazzle me and gave it my best shot:)

Wonder of wonders I got selected and also got to intern at my top pick which was Creative and Promotions. From there I was also selected to intern at the BDA/PROMAX convention which was being held in DC that year. What a year that was! Absolute fun...

Then also went on to do internship at MIX 107.3 FM a top radio station which was part of ABC/Walt Disney.

I had the offer of jobs in both the places but could not take them up due to my visa situation:(

What a bummer. Life took over after that and went on to work in corporate America after that for about 10 years.

During that time I was also involved on a part time basis with an indie film called "Wings of Hope" directed by Raj Basu. Was involved in the entire life cycle of the film from pre, prod to post.

The bug of creativity once in your blood does not go away....

Later I discovered new media and started blogging, video blogging and podcasting....

I am a geek and a nerd and love to learn new things especially anything related to creative area.

So I made my own website, wrote the content, handled the camera, recorded, edited and uploaded. Did extensive research and learnt some cool stuff. Am a gadget freak and yeah love electronics. Seeing wires makes me happy:) I can spend hours trying to connect and reconnect wires and see the results:)

Time has flown by, Life has gone by, dreams still remain, waiting to be fulfilled for the ultimate high, the ultimate goal for which I have been in preparation my whole life....

I live, breathe and will one day achieve my dream. After all I have been working towards it my whole life without even really realising it..