Towards the end of March, of what is known as ‘the annual financial closing’, the accidental banker in me braces for the approaching storm with clinched fists and gritted teeth. It’s payback time for the mounds of litter left around by the careful staff all along the year, ‘willful default’ of the considerate borrowers, neglect of the prescient depositors, hieroglyphics of multi-layered taxes imposed by the State and the Cardinal Sin of unachieved targets. The twister eventually dumps me barely breathing in the middle of megatons of printouts which must be arranged in precise sets bound for differing destinations. And just as I seem to be regaining control of my limbs, the Statutory Auditors descend like bolts of lightning.
For the past two years or so I have been more of a taxidermist than a photographer. Every now and then I have unpacked the bags, extracted the bodies and lenses from their respective shells, brushed off the dust, recharged the batteries, put in fresh sacs of silica gels and repacked and returned the stuff to the cupboard. I have doggedly though stuck to photography forums and have made insignificant noises now and then about the odd photograph uploaded or a new DSLR launched. But come March, eyeballs start threatening to detach themselves from the gray goo behind and vanish into thin vapour. Sleeping like a log seems to be the inevitable call of nature rather than sleepy logins into forums.
I get overwhelmed by anxious mails and queries of the photographic community unexposed to the vagaries of financial closings. I am equally touched by the emotions of those speculating whether I toppled off a cliff trying to capture a perfect sunset and have become feast unto the eagles, or my foot lost hold of an aging parapet and the fall blew my head into an unrecognizable mess, forcing the police to donate the body to the local medical college for a small fee. It’s a routine, I assure all of them, and I’ll soon venture into wilderness with a camera slung around my neck, leaving the sordid world of figures behind. And I’ll be back on the forums soon discussing why the mesmerizing pair of green eyes of the Afghan Girl is more haunting than the quizzical stare of Monalisa; and how the Monk who sold his Nikon to buy Canon gear will return one day inconsolable in his repentance!
They say they understand but they know well enough that the question of livelihood has probably swallowed the passion of a photographer for good.