“What do I put under “Profession”?”, my wife asked me recently when filling out a form on my behalf at the music school my kids go to.
I was silent for several moments.
“Great question,” I said, “What do I do? Let me think.”
Change is a part of all life. It’s the one constant in this universe. I believed unless I reinvent myself constantly, I am dammed to a life of drudgery. This attitude has not always drawn a positive response from those around me.
“Rolling stone that gathers no moss” – that’s a common refrain.
My simple philosophy is simply this: when work begins to feel like work and less like fun, it’s time to shift gears. If that doesn’t help, its time to move on, to reinvent my work and possibly myself.
Sometimes, it takes courage to accept a mistake and be willing to change.
I started off with a degree in Chemistry from St Xavier’s College, Bombay. But no sooner than I left those hallowed portals, I realised I had made a mistake. I corrected course and took a course in software engineering. That led me from writing database programmes to web development.
Designing a website for a newspaper, and then managing it, I soon realised I loved content and actually producing it. I could not stick to just the tech.
Harking back to my days in school, I connected the dots. I used to love writing for the annual school magazine. This was my opportunity to take that a step further. While also managing the newspaper’s website, I began to write features. A mini course correction of sorts.
It was at this stage, somewhere in 2001, I began to take an active interest in photojournalism. I submitted images for my own features and for other sections of the newspaper.
By 2007 I handled the website, wrote features, submitted images and even redesigned the newspaper – twice. By then I had done pretty much everything there was to do there, in a visual capacity.
That’s when the change bug once more began to bite. There wasn’t much more to do that I had not already done. So I did what I needed to do. I left the newspaper to start a career as a freelance digital journalist. Crazy. Irresponsible. Those were the words thrown my way.
By 2013 – my 8th anniversary as a freelancer, I had successfully diversified into video journalism, worked on projects for diverse agencies – from Nara University of Japan to Euronews Television. I saw no end.
Then in 2017 the world economy seemed to flounder. Funding for international programming dried up taking the work I did for Euronews along with it. It’s been a long dark night. It has been worrisome thinking of the family and their well-being. Projects did come along – some good ones too. Like the two documentary films I edited for other filmmakers, films that went on to do decently well at film festivals worldwide.
But once again, I used the trough as an opportunity. I worked on my writing – reading about writing, taking courses on narrative non-fiction, and writing daily in my journal to develop the craft. My Amazon account over the past couple of years is filled with book orders – on the craft and books by authors I admire. I honed my skill – that same skill that got me in the school magazine, that I used at the newspaper while I was there. I even got published in a literary journal.
I’m enjoying myself like never before. I’ve finally even started working on a novel that was in incubation for a year.
Will I change again? Of course I will without a doubt. But right now I’m having fun and not working. As soon as this feels like work, well I’ll know what to do. For now, its time to have more fun than I’ve ever had in all my life.