It was 2001. I had just graduated from FTII. I was touring the whole of India as part of a documentary assignment that I had been given. That was my first-time visiting Kashmir. Over a span of 4 days we had completed a couple of interviews, shot a few locations & done a bit of sight-seeing too. On one of these days, while we were shooting outdoors, we could see a protest going on at a distance. In those days, the mention of a protest in Kashmir would elicit images of terrorism in our minds. Hoping for some footage, we moved closer to the crowd. Looking at the camera in our hands, the crowd of about 30 people had surrounded us in no time! “Make sure our plea reaches the Government” they said. We were puzzled. We weren’t from the media. But armed with a camera that’s what we came across as to the crowd. It took a good half-hour for us to convince them and get out of there. It was only later in the day that we were told, the protest was against converting a heritage structure into a Tulip Garden. It would have been just another protest back home! I had been fooled by the place & situation! My team had shot my entire struggle with the crowd in their camera. While my team had a good laugh looking at my plight I was bewildered by the sheer power of the camera!
Translated by Amogh Patwardhan