I'm a Goan woman, working in Mumbai as the founder of a studio called Totem Creative. I try to make the world happier, safer and more meaningful. I believe education, knowledge and awareness, art, writing and creating Social Impact are my means to achieve that end.

Friday, May 9, 2014

I guess it's life

8th May 2013

As Aakash and I rode to the theatre, we chatted about work and our personal growth. “Man, I spend about 8 hours on it. I don’t even know when it’s a weekend. I thought today was Saturday.” 

“That’s it? I easily spend 10 hours on work everyday” he said.

“Well, I wouldn’t mind, it’s just that it’s a different pipeline, we’re going from pixel to vector based work, and I have to learn new softwares that I find so time consuming to learn and get accustomed to. Sometimes I feel like I’m that old senior in the studio who has a bunch of good skill sets, but the newbies have learnt to do the same thing in an hour’s time instead – and you do it great alright, but you’re slower. You could learn to use the new software by letting go of your comfort zone, but you’re too old now. I used to be that way, but I’m learning how to let go and shake my ground. It’s too early for me not to learn different methods and mediums.” I said.

“Exactly. I’ve been completely shaking my ground these last 6 months. In no way am I in my comfort zone, and I’ve learned SO MUCH.”

“That’s great Aakash.” We reached the theatre in good time, and Sid and Ap reached just when we did. We dubiously got our 3D glasses and went for The Amazing Spiderman II, a long awaited film on my list.

The film was EPIC, and the 3D was just SO GREAT. It was such a crisp and beautiful print, the cinematography was great, the colours, the production design, the action sequences, everything was spot on. I loved it through and through, and I was so upset when it got over. A major appealing character’s death got me sulking for an hour after the show. We grabbed dinner at a great new place in Pato called Route 66 – it was like a Diner. It’s a smoke house and grill bar with some great steaks and burgers. We talked about our usual nonsense (which btw is selective humour that only we understand and enjoy) and briefly about our work; and soon came the food. It was so good.

“Man, what am I doing with my life”, said Sid after finishing the last bites of his meat roll sandwich.
My friend Sid is a pastry and desert chef who owns a pretty big and well known cakeshop chain in Goa. It has some really great stuff, and you wouldn’t think for a second that the guys who’d make such delicious stuff would ever be jealous of the way someone else cooks.

Sid was probably not jealous and was probably thinking about something else all together, but it sure got me thinking. I thought I was the only one comparing my work with the stuff that inspires me. It’s not that we seek to be better or greater than other people doing what we do, it’s just that we want to learn so much and give similar experiences to people that we get from the great artists in our fields. We talked of Darren’s music and how great it was. Just today, a great music critc critiqued and promoted his music, and we’re so happy for him. Music, art, food, dance, theatre, film and sports are not conventional professions in a country like India. You’d have to be pretty darn sincere to achieve success in any of these professions.

I had this dream since I was a child that I’d make an animated film someday. I did, and it was such a great experience and soon I had this thirst to know more, create fuller content. And I wanted to work with the people I worshipped, have a shot. So I gave my best and churned out what I thought was a decent portfolio in 2 months and sent it to 2 animation giants in the U.S. One hasn’t replied, I’m assuming I sucked or I was late in submission. A week ago, Bluesky sent me a polite rejection letter that I very much anticipated. I didn’t think I’d get in because they take about 3 international applicants, but still – I had this tiny hope that I’d get in. The day I received the letter, I was blank, and I informed my parents. The next day it hit me, and I suffered a huge heartbreak. Unlike myself, I sat alone on my beanbag by the veranda and stared at the sky for an hour, my eyes wetting my cheeks; I was drained of emotion. I was so disappointed with myself, and I asked myself why I was disappointed. I tried hard, and I know my work is alright, but it was really saddening to think over it. When I see good work, I ask myself, “What am I doing with my life?” like Sid. 

View from the veranda
Truth be told, we’re all doing some really bold daring things. We are constantly making hard decisions and dealing with our difficult preferences and desires. We’re struggling, falling, pushing ourselves to get up and fight. ‘Should I study abroad? Should I move to Mumbai, should I work with that Indian studio, should I freelance? Should I settle down? Do I think about marriage? Do I think about stability? Should I just do what I love?’ I spoke to Lux today, and she said she got her Bluesky rejection too. I asked if she was okay and she said she got over it in 10 minutes. I felt so glad, not because there was someone with me, but because she didn’t let it get to her. I admire her in that way, and even in her sincerity and discipline with her work.

We’re all constantly fighting and making difficult decisions. We think about survival money, education, employment, job satisfaction, relationships, but most of all, keeping our integrity and being the same light hearted funny jovial individuals that spread kindness and chivalry.

Our problems are less about faculties, classmates and our marksheets. I would say, we’re finally becoming adults, but we’re still the same children. We will deal with everything with grace; and I could not hope for more.