“Ever since I was a kid, I had the habit of reading the newspaper. I was pretty socially aware of what was going on around me, and I had the interest to be a part of the goings-on of the world.
When I was in 6th grade, my father asked me what I wanted to become in life and I said I wanted to be a journalist. My father immediately told me that just because he was a journalist, I need not become one. He asked me not to think of journalism as a profession, and explore what I really wanted to become in life. But that fascination always remained. I got interested in taking pictures, making audio and video recordings, and things like that. So as these things go, I began taking pictures of nature, streets, and even portraits of people.
I took up MPC in my Intermediate, since I had some sort of interest in technology, and thought I’d take the path that leads to Engineering.
Then the 2014 elections happened, I was a trigger-happy teenager with a newly bought camera, so I did the most logical thing I could think of- take pictures of the entire election activity in Hyderabad. The door-to-door campaigns where political activists would go around with drums, musical instruments, and also perform dances, to more serious stuff like nominations and rallies, I clicked them all and put these up on Facebook. To my surprise, they were very well received.
It was also the time when the Hyderabad Metro Rail construction was taking place, so I began taking pictures of that as well. The equipment, the workers, the pillars, the demolished structures, everything. I used to see my pictures being used on online forums, and then some newspapers also took notice and wrote articles about my work. This was a shot in the arm- and pushed me more in that direction.
All of this was just a hobby. While I was in the second year of Intermediate, I developed an interest in Legal studies.
I wrote the entrance exam of Law, but couldn’t get into the college that I wanted to. So, things took their natural course, and I got into an Engineering college, and that was one of the best things that could’ve happened because it left with me with the freedom to pursue all my other interests.
I got a certificate in photography from JNAFAU, where I met a bunch of talented and like-minded people. I did a short course in film appreciation from FTII. But most importantly, I was able to start ‘IndiaThinks’.
Two of my friends from college joined hands with me, and in May of 2018, IndiaThinks channel was started, and we ended up producing 2 seasons of a public-opinion program called ‘Your Vote Is A Weapon’. Most public opinion shows back then, was either obviously favoring some political party, or completely ignored the urban crowd of Hyderabad. And that’s who we decided to speak to.
Those episodes did really well, we would have people walk up to us and appreciate our work while we were out having dinner or just hanging out somewhere. We also interviewed politicians and public personalities in a no-frills manner without any dramatic pauses or clickbait thumbnails. I feel it’s very important to respect the intelligence of your audience.
While in the process of doing this, we made documentaries when we met people who were making a great difference to society or needed their voices to be heard. We also had screenings of these in places like Lamakaan. The last documentary was when I spent a day with migrant workers who were walking thousands of kilometers to go back to their homes in different parts of India.
And since lockdown began in March, I’ve produced over 300 one minute videos in an effort to make information accessible to those who have the interest but are short on time.
As of today, I’ve graduated with a Computer Science engineering degree. I was also able to get a postgraduate diploma in cyber laws from the very same law school that I was hoping to get into, and in a week, will be moving to London to study Broadcast Journalism at City, University of London, where I got in based on my work.
I’m thankful to God that I was able to discover and pursue several different interests, which ultimately led to me fulfilling my original dream.”
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