Image of an artist working on an idol for Ganesh festival - Thanks to Nakul Jadhav & Sandeep J. Shridhar
What do you do and what excites you about it?
I am a screenwriter in Mumbai. What really excites me is trying to dive deeper into the mysteries of human life and the reasons why we do some weird things. It requires a very organized mind. Lately, the organized mind is attracting more jobs related to the chaos of film-making called 'production'. I'm not afraid of handling the production but it will certainly put me into the chaos, which I enjoy watching from the outside. Understanding my fictional character requires me to understand myself and my life till now--life in this time and place, which I may set in any other time and space.
What are you passionate about when you're not working?
As Steve McQueen says in Le Mans, 'When you're racing, it's life. Anything that happens before or after is just waiting.' If I am not writing, I am preparing for it. The preparation requires two things, learning more about the subject I intend to work upon, and polishing myself. I enjoy both the acts. Preparing on the subject requires a lot of reading and observing. Polishing self requires a deeper understanding of self, taking criticism from others objectively and to keep on pushing myself towards more mistakes so that I could see where things go wrong and how I can not only correct them but make them better too.
How does Mumbai feed your passions?
It is life that feeds my passions. Mumbai has as much of life as any other place. I like this city mostly because I like the climate here. My hometown has a rather extreme climate. Compared to other cities, Mumbai is huge and fast. That speeds up the events, but life, in general, is a slow dragging process, one moment at a time.
What would you recommend that a visitor to Mumbai should see or do while they’re there?
If one indulges in tastes, he should try Arsalaan (Khar West), Karim's (franchises all over the city), Copper Chimney (franchises, again). If one would like to spend time in sight seeing, good places are Colaba Causway Market, Gateway of India monument, and my personal favourites are two--the second hand book market on the pavements of Flora Fountain junction and the historical, rather mythological caves of Elephanta. These are the caves that kick started the guy named Joseph Campbell into all that he is known for.
If you are really coming to Mumbai, just drop me an email with your interests. I'll do the basic research and drop you a customized list of places and things you may like to visit. Mumbai also holds the wonderful Ganesh Festival. The festival is celebrated all over the country, but in Mumbai, it is beautiful. The festival was held on the 19th August this year until the 24th. So plan head for next year. Everyone is invited.
Are there any trends, cultural shifts or movements emerging in Mumbai right now that really excite you?
Gadgets have become too common. I wish to see more people reading books on tablets. I guess the return of reading habit is just round the corner. Since the electronic revolution a lot of rare books are easily available. Reading in your second language is too easy now because your gadget can hold a dictionary and provides you with online translations too.
"Google it", "Check Wikipedia," etc. are common expressions now. I also observe that people do not study entire subjects but find out only as much as they would need from google, wikipedia, youtube tutorials, and other websites. I wait to see where this new trend of 'enough information for the moment' is going to take the coming generation. People are more informed but it takes knowledge to perform a job. Information is good enough to argue. As long as we are in democracy, it has its demerits as much as merits.
What do you think the major changes in Mumbai will be in the next 5 years?
When hurricane Katrina hit New Jersey, as I remember, the rescue did not start till 3 days after. At the same time, Mumbai was hit with the worst flood the city has ever seen. The city sprang back to life before the flood was over. The same happened when there were train bomb blasts. In London, it took them a couple of days to restart the trains, whereas in Mumbai, the train services took about 4 hours to get back on track and within 12 hours it was fully functional. I like to believe that the entire train crowd was back into the trains except those 700 who were either dead or badly injured.
This city is scarily fast when it comes to survival and adjusting. And it is hard to predict where it will be in 5 years. Frankly, I do not think it will reach anywhere because it is already where it wants to be. The city has its own problems and defects that need to be improved upon, but, all in all, people come to this city because of what it is and not because where it is going. If you really want to go to a city that is growing, you go to Pune, Ahmedabad, Hydrabad, Banglore, Noida, Chandigarh, etc.
What kind of projects would you like to get involved in with the sense network?
I'm good at studying trends, patterns, and human behaviour. I am good at finding stories that sum up an idea better than a report or analysis. Stories capture human life on this planet better than any other form of documentation. That's probably why I ended up being a writer in a popular form of story telling. I'd like to collaborate on projects where I can put my abilities to best use.
If you could improve just one thing in the world what would it be?
That would be tolerance. Nobody is perfect. People ought to have more space for other people's shortcomings only to have more space for their own mistakes. There is a saying in my native region. It can be translated into English as, "Space exists in the heart." The expression means, 'We cannot have a bigger globe but we can have bigger hearts. All of us.'
Is there anything you'd like to share with the rest of The Sense Network?
I share myself. I'm here for you all the time. The entire life worth of learning, experiences, observation and knowledge are here for you. Drop me an email anytime. I'll surely reply firstname.lastname@example.org.