Hi friends, this week I did not have anything great worth sharing. So to write a blog post today, I tried looking into everything, the little aspects of my everyday life and whoa! I feel blessed.
All these little bits of joys and disappointments are the building bricks that make our life. Isn’t it ?
What are the bits of Joys I would like to share with you today? May be the time when Soupayan cracked the stupidest of jokes and laughed at it himself. Or perhaps, tell me “It was funny, wasn’t it?” or “You too should laugh!”. Joy is when, after an entire day of work in office, you come home to read different blogs from Kolkata Bloggers and you discover that a younger boy, described you as a “dada” (Elder brother in Bengali). Happiness is when, I try hard to motivate myself and I close my eyes to visualise the happy moments. The only thing that comes to my mind is when Saimantick, in a hall full of people, suddenly acknowledges my contribution to his photography learning. To me, it was one of the proudest moments, prouder than the time I solved the old problem in ISI.
Sadness is, when I need to scold them. Last time I scolded Soupayan & Saimantick, I could not hold my own tears. Not that I had any other choice. They have grown up with very little or no practical sensibilities. I might scold them a hundred times in the future. Well a hundred apologies and hugs shall follow. They’re kids.
Talking about kids, how can I not talk about the little bit of happiness when I shouted, “Kapu pose kor! (Kapu, pose for me!) and Kapu stuck her head out from behind the curtains to smile and pose for me. It is heart warming to see how Kapu is slowly getting socially conditioned. If she needs to pee, she now can point towards the bathroom. After the meals, she rubs her lips with the wet towel. She screams out “Hatiii” when she sees a photograph of an elephant.
Oh yes, when she comes across another kid or a photograph of a kid, she screams “Babyyy”.
Happiness is when Debarshi da said, “We all are going to the event, because of you. You are a nice person with a good reputation.” Perhaps, that is why Hari Menon also has agreed to come to Kolkata. Happiness was when last year Hari Menon came to Kolkata and messaged me. We went out for a photowalk. Happiness was to see my friends super excited when they met Hari. Priceless smiles. This event might be making a hole in my pocket. But trust me, it is an incredible feeling.
Sadness is to see a few people calling me “dada” to use me like a commodity. Surya says, that this world is full of these people and I can not help. I should only think about my work and be done and dusted with them. Somewhat, my heart does not agree.
Sadness is when an IT employee does not know, neither does he encourage blogging. For that specific senior, the only reason of rejection was my blogging. The tone of mockery is what I had hated. Sadness again. But happiness is when in the same office, Priti and Surojit talks to me personally after having read my blog post and suggesting me betterment.
Talking about suggesting betterment, how can I forget those who get in touch with me? Happiness is receiving a comment on my blogpost. If you happen to read this, make sure you leave some comment. When I am already talking about comments, please make me happier, share the blog posts as well. Hahahaha.
Recently, I tried medium.com.. tried writing in Bengali as well. Happiness is writing in my own mother tongue. Well, sadness is to inform Bengalis that Hindi is not the “National Language” as per Indian constitution.
We are so surrounded by ignorance all around, isn’t it ? People defending the Government’s inaction toward the advertisement maker, saying “Even we do these, we all download photographs from the internet. Isn’t it?” Yes Sir, and that is wrong. Please realise! But his daughter was perhaps more sensible, “We do not know much about Intellectual Property Rights. We should get some easy resources.”. I smiled.
Somewhere my heart wishes to let loose and let go. Even I would want to spread my wings and simply fly. Across continents, opinions and intentions. Happiness is this dream. Sadness is my inability to take off.
Ending this blog post with a few more photographs. Happiness is the Pujo feeling
While writing this blog post, I discovered 500 people follow me on Instagram. That’s another little bit of happiness added. You can follow me here.
PS: Please do not steal photographs. If you want to use my photographs, please drop me an email: email@example.com or give me a call : 9903055542. I’ll be happy to help you
When was the last time you were happy? Leave a comment below.
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About Bengal Government’s advertisement, Government officials, unauthorised use of my photograph, Intellectual Property rights and one week of inaction.
It is no secret that I hold the present West Bengal government in high regard. To help it in anyway and to promote Brand Bengal on any platform is my honour. But with all dignity, lawfulness and correct ethics.
Last Sunday August 10 2014, I got a call from Baban Das Baul. He was surprised and very happy that his photograph was printed in Bengali newspaper “Protidin” in Murshidabad. That day he was performing in Rabindra Tirtha. Towards the end of the conversation he asked me why I had to “sell the photograph” which was otherwise shot for educational purpose. That afternoon my friend Amartya, congratulated me and informed me that my photograph was “selected” by the Government.
So, what exactly happened? Photograph stolen by Government of West Bengal.
I was quick to realise that the Government advertisement used my photograph in an unauthorised manner. Obvious because, I did not give anyone the original photograph, no one asked for it, no one informed me. To put it in a slightly less dignified manner - they stole my photograph.
I rushed to the newspaper store and found this. The Times of India, page 3.
This photograph of the Bauls was shot in Murshidabad, during the last week of June 2014. This photograph was posted on my blog on July 5, 2014. You can check the blog post here. They had downloaded the photograph, removed watermark and have used it.
My action: Connecting to different Government officials.
I tried contacting different people I know from the government but to no help. My own Mama (Mr. Uttam Kumar Saha) was busy in his preparations to host the Chief minister Mamata Banerjee in Gangarampur.
I forwarded letters to my friends who are close to TMC and the letter was pushed to the Chief Ministers office. The CMO informed that this was a matter of Department of Information and Cultural Affairs.
I was given the contact details of the Department of Information and Cultural Affairs. Mr Atri Bhattacharya, was always out of office during that time. His personal secretary was a nice person to talk to. He informed me that it is a matter of the Department of Information and that I should contact Mr. Riten Roy Chowdhury.
Mr. Riten Roychowdhury, Director, Department of Information gave me a patient hearing. And that was all that I had got from him. No assurance, no actions. Slight rudeness towards the end of the conversation though. A day after the conversation, I had dropped him an email, keeping Genesis Advertising in cc, Principal Secretary of Dept. I&CA in cc from my TCS office email, pasting every possible evidence (except for the RAW image file) to him. You can check my email to the Director, Department of Information here.
The receptionist of Genesis advertising (who prepared the advertisement) was the most amusing, indecent and disgusting person I came across during this phase. He refused to transfer the call to the manager. He refused to listen to me. He shouted at me calling me a liar and that he has come across many “namuna” like me. He said they were all busy and I was trying tricks to disrupt their work, I should keep shut else he shall make sure he gets the better of me. Was it a threat? That coming from the receptionist is amusing.
What I wanted: An Acknowledgement letter.
I did not even want money for the photograph. I want an acknowledgement letter stating that this photograph was shot by me and that it has been used without my consent. If the same photograph is published later, as I believe it would be, putting up “Photograph: Anirban Saha” in the smallest possible manner won’t really harm.
I am thoroughly amused. Yes, I am. See – I am smiling now.
Ironic, the Government – custodian of rights, steals photographs themselves.
The Government is supposed to be the custodian of basic rights. Ironic, that the Government itself is not taking action against the advertisement maker who is stealing photographs, removing watermarks and publishing it in their advertisements for the government. For any artist, the fundamental right should be his rights over his creations. That is – Intellectual Property Rights. For a poet, a painter, a photographer in India, copyrighting each photograph is not the rule. I am told by my lawyer friends, every time I press the shutter and produce a photograph, I hold the rights of reproduction. A group of IP activists and experienced photographers, confirms the information that I have.
What I might do next:
I am thoroughly disheartened and discouraged to say the least, praying that they respond to my email. To hire a lawyer and to produce evidences in court is something my schedules might not permit. Not that I even have the financial backup to fight the case against the Government of West Bengal. I did not know what to do. So I am blog posting about it now. Let’s see how it proceeds. If any lawyer volunteers, it shall be great.
I write this today with a paining heart against the government we all voted to bring it to power.
One day I was quite low in the office as I could not solve a problem. It was late in the evening when I gave up. I called Harish Mittal (a senior colleague), who stays in UK, seeking help. During the conversation, I referred to myself as a “bad developer”. The able manager and motivator that he is, he was quick to point out the different hurdles I overcame in the same program earlier. He said, “You are not bad. You are good. You are young. With time, you will be better. Hain na dada?”
Although I could not crack the logic that night, these words rang in my ears. I went home with a positive spirit. By the next time we had another meeting, the problem was solved.
It was the same point in time, when different individuals of my age group started Facebook pages which criticized and made fun of young amateur photographers. We anyway, have way too many critics than we have motivators and helpers. This is the scenario in almost all the Facebook photography groups which has sprouted like mushrooms in the recent past.
It was demoralizing many young school level photographers who were trying hard to learn.
The Frank Anthony Public School had invited me to conduct “Basic Photography and social media MeetUp” in their school during that time (Read more). I wanted to stress on the point that there is nothing called “Bad photograph”. If I can photograph, anyone else can. My elders in Kolkata Weekend Shoots guided me. If I am of any help to the younger lot, it shall be my pleasure.
… I made a slide: “Good photographs. Better Photographs.” As you can see in the slide, I have a photograph on the left and another photograph to its right.
While the left one shot by a 16 year old on his first visit to Gangasagar Mela, the other is shot by a person over 30 years of age who has been to the place multiple times and has thus gathered experience.
When I said this, I could see the students surprised, a few smiled. A few sat up with sparkling eyes. They looked motivated and I was an happy elder brother !
This formula worked in The Frank Anthony Public School. I repeated it in Loreto College (Read more). I keep repeating it so that every new comer feels good. It also helps me to stress on the fact – that if s/he wants to better his photographs, s/he should visit the place more number of times and gather experience. And that only practise shall make her/him better.
As a speaker, I try few more ways to encourage, involve & engage my audience whenever I speak. This is one of them.
I believe, if I was invited to an institute, they have already accepted me as some authority. When students come, they come to learn and get motivated. So they require two takeaways from my session : 2-3 new learning points and motivation. If they leave the room with a smiling round and a happy face, I am the happiest person.
MeetUp Group & Social Media in Photography :
All these sessions I was invited to conduct, I connected to the children and their friends from other schools. We have a small group called the “MeetUp” group where we discuss primarily photography. We are organising an event “Social Media in Photography” this 30th and 31st August 2014.
The event will have – sessions where the young and the experienced can interact, Kolkata Bloggers Meet, Personal branding sessions and exhibition of photographs shot by the young members of the MeetUp Group.
Know more about the event and book your tickets here.
Leaving you with a collage of a few square frames shot by the group members.
Do let me know what you feel about this blog post. Leave a comment.
A proper definition of happiness remains as ever, elusive. There has been scholars and thinkers who have spent ages wondering what it could mean. I asked the same question to my friends yesterday on Facebook and I got interesting answers.
To few of my younger lot of friends, happiness is Biryani or playing football. While a friend said happiness for her is a choice and that she is happy because she chooses to be, another friend who is an entrepreneur says happiness is his decision. The social worker friend said, happiness to him is when he makes a different in someone else’s life in the littlest way he can. To a few of my friends, happiness is being themselves, satisfied life and perhaps, the tightest hug from their younger sibling.
Perhaps all of them put together or nothing at all. Happiness can be in spending some time with your infant child, begging the rest of the day to feed him two square meals, for him to survive somehow. Happiness is accepting the fact that your husband has left you after you met an accident recently. The accident left you handicapped and you can not walk properly.
This Eid has been slightly different for me. As I waited for a friend near Mahatma Gandhi Metro Station gate 3, I noticed a woman hugging her son. She noticed me noticing them and what followed was a small Eid celebration together. The rooflessness was no deterrent to her happiness, specially when she was celebrating Eid with her son.
I asked her, “What is happiness to you?” She said – “To give my everything to my son and to see him grow.”
She took me to the place where they stay with their other roofless neighbours. For me, it was slightly weird and uncomfortable because if you follow my blog, I do not really photograph the homeless destitute. But this was special. Although homeless, these people were happy. Sharing with you, few photographs of the time we spent together.
Before parting, I handed her some currency notes, which she was shy to accept initially. Words fail me when I try to express myself, the feeling is unparalleled to any other experiences I have had. I wish I could do more to help her.