Tuesday, February 3, 2009

My Fifteen Minutes of Fame

Sample this conversation I had with my mom just after I came to know that Rahul Gandhi was going to stopover our campus for an informal visit.

Me: “ Rahul Gandhi is coming to NID today.”
Aai : “Have you properly dressed for the college or not?”
Me: “Hah!! As if it makes any difference.”
Aai: “Arre! Teri raashi main likha hai ki aaj jeevan saathi se mulaqat hogi.” (Your zodiac for today says that you’ll meet your life partner.)

Now, I was speechless at this solid logic, (btw, aai has said this many times before ;)) so with the new found awareness that I’ll- find-my-life-partner-today I headed off towards the bank near our campus. Ok, so I am not a big follower of politics, I had been interested at sometime but for the last few years I have been rather indifferent. Still I was excited at the prospect of seeing Gandhi Jr. after all one has to admit that he is cute with his dimples and all, isn’t he? But I doubted if I would ever infiltrate the tight security that usually surrounds VVIPs to actually meet him, if only I had known ...

Anyways, so I finished my odd jobs at the bank and on the way back to college I actually passed the fleet of security vehicles and caught a glimpse of Rahul sitting in one of the vans. I promptly hailed an auto and rushed back to college, which had been cordoned off completely for outsiders. Inside the campus, as expected there was a huge crowd but Rahul apparently had gone inside the exhibition hall to see one of the displays, the entrance to the hall as expected was being guarded by the NSG commandos, their flashy machine guns causing quite a furore amongst the students.

So I waited outside, ready to shoot, hands firmly gripping the camera with the exposure settings already tested and set for the entrance. But when he came out the commandos were around him instantly, blocking the view even before I could say “Click”. As he headed towards our college mess via the pigeon path (which is a narrow gully shrouded by trees I pass through it every day and saying hi to a few owls...more on them later.) shaking hands with the students and guards en route I shadowed him running through the foliage that surrounds the path, getting the feel of being a press photographer in the process. As I went Click! Click! Click! finally, one of the security guards didn’t seem to like that all, so he is like Stop! You can’t go any further, I am like Ok, I’ll stop. :(

This would’ve been “The End” of the story if not for Rahul, he seemed to have noticed the guard stopping me, and the day took a total filmy turn when he asked me to walk along. As I started walking with him he asked me a few basic questions like my name, my whereabouts, what did I study etc and ended up posing this question which he later posed to many other students.

Rahul : “How do we incorporate design in politics.”
Me: “Our course is named photography design but we are still figuring out the design part of it. ”
Rahul : “So what do you think?”
Me:“ Design is an integral part of life, so I think it can be incorporated in politics as well. “

It sounds pretty dumb in retrospect, but believe me design like art is not very easy to define.

As we were having this rather interesting conversation my course co-ordinator DJM went click! click!click! and rest as they say is history!

As we entered the college mess Rahul took his seat amongst the students, he was served the mess food where we asked the same question to the other students about incorporating design into politics. According to him design could play an instrumental role in terms of making our political system organized and making entry into politics open and inviting. In the mess and even in the “Baatein” session later in the amphitheatre his other major concern was the growing indifference amongst the country’s youth towards politics, he asked us our frank opinion about politicians and was met with rather blunt answers. He was also concerned about the lack of institutes of higher education in India and the general state of affairs of the primary education . To a question about his entry into politics he said that as opposed to what media reports say, entering into politics was a decision that he had already made at the time of his father’s death.

Most of the talk was very informal with no “bhashanbaji” and “netagiri” which usually politicians so naturally tend to slip into. In contrast to his image Rahul came across as a not so shy person, he was quite comfortable speaking to people and often cracked jokes too, nothing in the league of Laloo jee, but certainly he can keep a crowd entertained. His replies to questions were thoughtful and sensible, he admitted when he wasn’t aware of rather than making things up. He was quite deferential towards the students and didn’t get affronted even when there were some blunt questions and comments. .. all in all I was quite impressed!

By the way if you are wondering about the title (if you are not, you should ;)), “fifteen minutes of fame” or “world famous for fifteen” is a term coined by the maverick American pop artist Andy Warhol it is a scathing comment on the fleeting and fickle nature of fame. Apna Ramu opened his factory in the past decade but Warhol subscribed to the ideal of being machine like and opened a “factory” that mass produced art works, controversial I must say considering the fact that artists and art works have always craved to be unique.

As I read more about art and artists I hope I would be able to share with you some interesting trivia. Thanks to all the people who’ve had the patience to keep reading my blogs when I’ve been so sloppy at posting, keep reading, I would be hopefully posting regularly from now on.