Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Things We Lost in The Fire

Shit just happened. There was a fire. No one was hurt but it destroyed my enitre past as a television professional. Tapes destroyed, backup copies destroyed, digital versions destroyed, scripts destroyed, words and images reduced to ash. And I stand to lose a lot of money as a result. Money, that my unemployed ass cannot afford to lose.

The place that burnt down was not mine. It did not belong to me, I did not have a financial stake in it and its destruction does not ruin me. It was where I, the philosophy graduate fresh out of college, walked nervously into the office seeking a job, knowing nothing about television except that I wanted to be a part of it. It is where I spent month long night-shift stints, learning the beauty of masterful editing, the sublime art of cinematography and the camaraderie that comes with making tv together. There are many firsts associated with this place. When I branched out to become a freelancer, this was the place that supported and believed in me the most.

With family out of town, friends too busy or not clued in enough to understand the extent of this tragedy (I must admit, I'm responsible for this lack of sensitivity. I guess I don't reach out enough...or whatever), I am left to my own devices with next to no distractions, left to feel the full impact of what happened two nights ago, absolutely alone. It is hitting me in stages.

The immediate response was a mix of two absolutely conflicting emotions: One, gratitude that no one was hurt. Two, extreme disappointment and fear at having a major source of income being literally burnt to the ground. What do I do now? With no great work on the horizon, I am looking to a very scary future.

My second-stage reaction was calm and a sense that the inevitable had just happened. God, destiny, whatever you choose to call it, had as always, taken matter into its own hands. I find that if we don't listen to signals life is handing out to us, it has a way of teaching us that ensures we never forget again. Bhagwan ka Thappad, I like to call it (!). So, I sat there thinking - I KNEW this day would come. In some form or the other, people, who were becoming too comfortable in their spaces, will now be forced to look at all that is toxic in their environment and DO something about it. And they'd better get the message now. When a fire burns things so completely, it's almost like a cleansing ritual.

As I sit and write, I look back on all the wonderful years - close to a decade - that mark my professional/ personal growth with the place that now lies destroyed. There are SO many memories. So many. Even the bad ones have weight and substance that I wouldn't trade for the world. In those tapes, were the magic moments created not just by me or by the director or the camera person. They were created by a team. For the longest time, they were my family. They taught me everything I know today - both about film making and life. I always thought - no matter how badly I fight or bitch or argue or threaten to break ties and walk away, there would always be a place for me there.
To admit that that is gone is very, very difficult to acknowledge.

When something that decisive happens there's not much a person can do. There's nothing to go back to, and so, I can only look ahead. I'm lucky that way, crisis of any kind, has only fuelled me to act. Whenever faced by setback, I have always fought back and fought hard. Since the firegods have spoken, I guess, it's time for me to bring it on.

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