I had just finished my Bachelor's degree. I was young. I was set to take on the world!! Even though my degree was in Home Science, I felt I needed to work with cameras. At least for a while. I did a short course in Journalism and decided I wanted to be a photo-journalist; tell stories with my pictures.
I approached a small organization called 'Media Centre', run by the Jesuit fathers. Fr. Joe Naidu ran the place. You have to understand a bit about him. When you walked into his office, he was formidable. He stood tall at 6'2". He was also large. I felt like an ant next to him. When he smiled, the world seemed a happier place. He had one failing. He couldn't say 'No' to anybody. He was the gentlest giant I would ever meet. Fr. Joe asked me why he should hire me. Hmmm... I had no clue why he should hire me! "Because I love photography", I replied. Nobody had told me about interviews and how to ace them. I thought I walked in and either got the job or didn't! In this case, I was pretty much correct. I had this very interesting conversation (yes, it really was just a conversation) with Fr. Joe and walked out with the job. And I had the most fabulous sounding title in the whole wide world!! I was officially the 'Head of the Audio-Visual department'. Imagine what a kick this 17 year old got out of that! I got to create stories with slides. Many years later when I met Fr. Joe, I'd ask him what made hire me, he said he didn't have the heart to disappoint my enthusiasm! I'm glad I didn't know that at the time!!
Media Center produced all kinds of media programs, audio-visuals, audio, and just visuals too. It had a full-fledged audio recording studio and Hammy, the Audio recordist, and I had so much fun recording the sound tracks for the stories I shot. I got to shoot on slide film! I was over the moon. Anyone who was a photographer in the 80's knows how expensive slide film was. More so to a young photographer who earned the princely sum of INR 800! I didn't have to use my camera from a garage sale any more. I got to use a Nikon! I had these amazing lenses to work with! Which kid would not be in love with such a job? I flaunted my visiting card whenever I could! Head of the AV dept; take a look at that!
I already knew that pictures were powerful; it was at this point that I began to understand the power of audio. It wasn't till many years later when I was teaching film that I truly understood that audio is almost more powerful than the visual. Almost. I'm still in love with the visuals!! But I do know that audio is the only way to provide the experience, an emotion to a picture. That moment was probably the moment I truly fell in love with film.