“Two things changed my entire life – Football and Parai.
It may sound weird and unconnected. But Parai and Football deviated me from the negative aspects of my life. Life turned out to be fun, exciting, and interesting every single day from then on.
Born in a marginalized background in the Northern part of Chennai, which led me to do doctoral research on Football & Empowerment practices in Marginalisation sites. Now I currently work as an assistant professor in a private college.
Like everyone else, I was very curious about becoming an aspirant engineer. But since my dad passed away before my board exams, I lost interest in concentrating on regular academics. Meanwhile, I was also interested in filmmaking. I chose visual communication as my undergraduate course at Loyola.
As a family of three, we struggled very hard to develop our lifestyle and living after my father’s demise. My brother quit his studies and worked to take care of the family. My mother worked hard to pay my degree fees. On the other hand, I also started working part-time during my UG days. I was interested in cinematography and thus, I joined as an intern with cinematographer Velraj during my 3rd year. Later I became his assistant thereby, gained 2.5 of experience from him in working on around 7 films. During that time, I fell in love with an amazing human and married her as well.
Due to some medical issues, I quit the film industry. After a while, I worked as a graphic designer and, at the same time, enrolled myself in a Master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Madras. Everything went off well until my final year, when we decided to sign for a divorce, which hit my mental health very badly.
Fortunately, I engaged myself in Mutram (A student’s Communication, Folk and Theater Forum at Dept of J&C at the University of Madras), where my life slowly started to change its direction. My guide and Professor Dr. G. Ravindran introduced the Parai, which is one of the oldest drums used in South India and its been marginalized by the uppers in the society. He usually uses the phrase “Journalism for People” during his lectures. His ideological lecture series in the late evening at the university of madras campus was a huge change over the period in my life. This forum helped me to choose traveling as one of my hobbies, and that’s why Football got connected to me.
Also, meanwhile, being a passionate photographer/cinematographer, I wanted to document the life of Chennai for future generations in the name of Madras Marabinar. I worked on Photo documentation since the essence of documentation and its significance went in vain due to the digital presence.
It is a bitter truth that many of the marginalized community people go unnoticed though there are huge amounts of hidden talents in each of them. Fortunately, with the help of my professor, I was brought to notice. Concerning this, I’m striving hard to guide and educate the students from such communities and bring them out to the world.
Life can be bitter unless we find out about our existence!”