Those days it was known as Bombay. Before reaching that big city, he was Radhakrishnan from the small city of Kochi. While studying at the local government school, cricket was more interesting to him than chemistry. Histrionics was more compelling than history. When the results of the tenth examinations were announced, he was more amazed than his father and mother. To say nothing of his teachers.
Then the irresistible call of the camera started to lure him away from college and completing his chemistry studies.
Those were difficult times. He lived in a joint family, tied up into an odd-shaped bundle by the rules of ultra-conservative society. Brothers, cousins, uncles and aunts - all packed like sardines inside a small home surrounded by a banana plantation. Every evening, his mother lit the lamp on a low stone pillar. it signified the end of the day.
But Radhakrishnan would reach home only late at night- when the local drama groups called it a day or the local bands finished their last song.
Between such escapades, he found time to do snatches of photography assignments with borrowed cameras; earning just enough to buy a second-hand Pentax. The rest of his time was spent playing cricket or entertaining friends with his gift of gab. He had unfortunately misplaced his college books. They are still missing.
His mother Radha asked the neighbours... 'What do I do with this boy who does nothing but watch drama and cinema?’
So Radhakrishnan was sent away to Bombay, the melting pot of India) to earn a living. He started as an unpaid apprentice to fashion photographer Rafique Sayed who taught him that the light meter is not the less heavy counterpart of a heavy measuring rod.
After slogging for a few months, he got disgusted with the dreary work of setting up the flash and the flash meter. So he decided to look for more interesting way to waste time and went to Nucleus, a not-so-well-known advertising company and asked for a job. 'Yes indeed! We have a vacancy for an assistant accounts executive and you are welcome' said Rafique Elias. 'I do not know accounting’ replied Radhakrishnan in desperation.
In due time, he became a senior accounts executive and later his name changed to Radha.
He found it more convenient to sleep on the air-conditioned office floor at night. The carpet was more comfortable than the single sheet on the floor of his dingy room. Rafique could not care less.
It was during his days in Nucleus that the lure of the cameras started once again tugging at his heartstrings. The uncontrolled growth of his passion for photography synchronised with the length of his hair. The long hair gave credibility to the name Radha and made it more acceptable to friends.
But then someone created a certain confusion to art director's already muddled life. "If you want to be at the top of the photography game, you have to look through the top," advised a well-known photographer. So he took away the pentaprism of his Hasselblad and started looking and clicking at the world through the top of the camera. There was no looking back. But he could not ignore the rear view of the camera and returned to where he started. His Sinar.
Very soon, rear came back with a vengeance. He photographed young models for breakfast and glamor for dinner.
Unfortunately, he could not eat lunch. There was no time. His clients went to other photographers. The rumour is that he paid some art directors to go to other photographers and leave him in peace.
Then a woman entered his life and became the centre of his universe. But now she is more interested in their son.
Radhakrishnan gets only second priority in the house. So he too gives second priority to his wife. First priority is the little master of the home.
- as narrated by my friend, philosopher & guide Dr.Ranjithkumar Grover
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