Dear Mr. L,
Let me begin by saying that I admire your work and am in complete awe of you and your life experiences.
That was how I began my mail in response to an Ad in Craigslist.com for an internship with a very well renowned world traveling artist, photojournalist, director, writer & poet. This was sometime in the second half of April 2006. I had seen the exact same Ad in Craigslist sometime in May 2005 and had been so impressed by the way it was worded that I went on to check out his website. After reading an Essay on the website called “The Art of Seeing” I was so impressed that all I wanted was an opportunity to learn from this Master! Since I was still a student then I was not too sure whether I would have the time to commit and therefore I did not respond to the Ad. However I did make a note of the address and actually went there one day just to physically check out the place. I almost rang the bell at the entrance on seeing his nameplate but then decided against it as it was not professional to visit without making an appointment first. I did walk up to a phone booth round the corner near his office and called to see if he was around and whether he could see me but it was not to be. Nobody answered and I went back home.
Strangely enough I happened to see the same Ad once again almost a year later and this time I had completed my course. I was interning in 2 places already and was wondering whether I had the time or not but decided to mail him. I was called for an interview the very next day and I reached the same office promptly and this time I did not hesitate to ring the bell. On reaching the office, I found the door slightly ajar and knocked lightly. A young man opened the door and asked me to remove my footwear and sit inside. Upon entering I was amazed to see a fairly large apartment with all the walls adorned with huge blow ups of various photographs and other digital artworks. The office consisted of one hall and 2 rooms with a small kitchen and a bathroom. The hall was large and airy with a huge table and a flexible lamp hanging from the ceiling, right above the table.
In the far corner of the hall I could see him sitting in front of his computer surrounded by books and photo prints of various sizes. The first thing one noticed was his shock of unruly hair which was spotlessly white. He was wearing the typical photographer’s jacket over a white shirt and khakhi shorts. Soon enough I found myself sitting in front of him. He had a piercing gaze but I looked him straight in the eye. He had a strong voice but he spoke in a kind tone and started off by saying he was quite impressed by my mail and that it was one of the few really promising mails he received in response to his Ad. This immediately put me at ease and we spoke for quite a while touching on many topics ranging from his essay, his works, travels to my life, work and dreams. Finally he told he that he would be happy to have me as an intern and that I could decide when and how I could make it. There was no looking back after that.
I did intern there and my days with him would certainly qualify as the most creatively fulfilling & exciting phase in my career and growth as an individual. When I had to return to India after a couple of months, the only regret I had was having to end my internship at HLS but I promised myself that I would surely go back and meet the Master someday.
We still do keep in touch and he still fondly remembers my first mail!
Here is an excerpt from his essay “The Art of Seeing”:
I conclude Part III of The Art of Seeing with the optimistic and passionate belief and assurance that nothing is impossible. We who possess self-tuning minds may seek and find that which makes our short lives on this fair planet not only enjoyable, but a kaleidoscopic journey to the stars. It is within the power of everyone of us to transform the dream into a reality !!