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Am in Naddi, a village in upper Dharamsala and the night skies are beautiful out here. After some research on how to shoot stars at night, I came across this app called Stellarium, which allows you to see the sky through your phone and see what star or planet you are looking at. I’ve never bothered much about understanding what those stars are called as I felt somehow it would be good to just enjoy its beauty and not go on a naming, identifying spree. But yesterday it was quite a joy to look and see what am looking at more deeply.

I realized that having a name to something gives you two things. One is to identify it specifically and the other is to have the possibility of a story behind it. Nameless things might be profoundly beautiful but are also easy to be ignored and passable. A Magpie is more interesting than a bird with a big tail, the bright little dot in the sky is more interesting when you know it is Venus and the wild flowers that line the forest roads have more of an intrigue when you know they are wild Geraniums. There is also the danger of generalizing overly, that can avoid one from seeing the thing for what it is and focus more on the language, but having a name is that sort of a give and take.

There is a small restaurant here in the village which doesn’t yet have a name and its hard to get its story across, its passable even though the food they serve is good.

We named a little bird with a punk like crest and a red throat as ‘Frankie’. We didn’t know what it was called and we weren’t that interested to know exactly the name it was entrusted by the masses. That too is an option.

The last rays of the sun shone the mountains a bright orange last evening.

The clouds danced in front of it, taking some of the rays in its foggy bosom.

While all along, the cicadas are persistent in their song.

Who you are, what you think, feel, and do, what you love - is the sum of what you focus on - Winifred Gallagher (Rapt)

As a creator I’ve often felt that what we consume the most is also what we are inclined to create. This is a minuscule observation in comparison with Gallagher’s but something that is directly relevant to the creative process.

The reason there is such enthusiasm about creating films when one is in film school is because consciously or unconsciously one is surrounded in the atmosphere of film-making. Watching a lot of films, talking about films, helping others craft a process, etc. But the same enthusiasm that gushes like a waterfall runs to a trickle as soon as the environment is taken away from the person. Once outside in the regular world, one is surrounded by regular things. Instead of watching films that inspire you or surrounding yourself with art or books, one finds themselves in an environment that is mediocre and not conducive to creativity. It becomes really important then as to how one crafts their environment and what habits they put in place. The crutches of external motivation are off and the choice is to create a ritual to keep functioning or to bite the dust.

While creating the process too, its important what one focuses on. If someone like me desires to create animation films, I should form a regular habit of consuming animation and studying it. If its art, one must immerse themselves in the art they love and respect. If its business, one must learn to look at the various ways the craft of commerce is executed and so on.

Conversely, we are in a generation where algorithmic feeds rule our choices. They make us consume things we didn’t even know existed. Our focus consistently thwarted from one area to the other brings us to this state of confusion where we don’t know what we love anymore, feel anymore or think anymore. To take it from Gallagher, we don’t even know who we are anymore. The remedy to this is simple to execute but hard to fathom.


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