I did not create this photograph but I had to feature this man in this series. The series Men In Uniform wouldn’t be complete without mentioning our most valued treasure in uniform, an army man. It helped this man also happens to be my old friend from school days and he’s the only one whom I have managed to keep in touch since school.
He was in town for a few days of vacation and this was a perfect opportunity for me to create a portrait of him in his uniform. He doesn’t carry his uniform when travelling back home for obvious reasons so I couldn’t get a chance to create a portrait myself but he did oblige me by bringing a photograph of himself in uniform.
Q. What is the best thing you love about your job?
A. The Uniform. The respect I receive when I wear this uniform makes me feel it’s special. When we’re passing by in a remote area in Arunachal Pradesh kids wave towards us when they see us in uniform. When there’s a natural calamity we’re called out and the love we receive from civilians makes me feel special. Something in that uniform makes people love us.
Q. What is the worst thing about your job?
A. Unfortunately there are times when we commit some humane mistakes and the entire unit is punished. There’s no room for error in Army. There’s a lot of chaos sometimes in orders that confuses us and we don’t know what to expect. Some times there’s so much hype and when we get to a place the situation is entirely different from what was told. It can be very frustrating some times.
If you have been reading this series and the answers in the interview there’s one common theme in answers from each person. Respect. How often we judge people based on the jobs they do? We some times look down on a person who’s working as a janitor just because we think it’s a small job. And he might be doing that job honestly and doing it very well. We don’t know. But we judge it. In one of Shekhar Suman’s comedy shows a strong line that I can never forget helps me respect everyone’s job when I find myself guilty of looking down on someone’s job as small. May be you can use it as a mantra too. Shekhar Suman’s father told him Respect everyone because every person is good at at least one thing in doing it better than you can. I hope I’ve put it exactly the way it was but I hope you get the idea. Remember that and you’ll never find looking down at someone’s work as small.