Mangesh Shirke



Mangesh Shirke


Her Inner Demons

Her Inner Demons

8 mins

Carolyn again left the magazine office, feeling depressed. The editors discarded her photos, again complaining about her lack in creativity.

The next day, her dear friend Wendy called her, "Hey, how's it going?"

“Nothing’s fine here. I left my well paid job as a Market Analyst to pursue my dream, but nothing is working out the way I planned. No magazine is accepting my photos. Earlier, my company was paying for the loans I had taken for the new flat I purchased. Now since I left the company, I need to pay it myself. Unable to pay, the bank people are continuously calling me to pay all my dues. You know what? The moment I take the camera in my hand to shoot, I get the feeling that this will not be liked by anyone. That’s the reason I keep losing my focus…! I keep losing my self-confidence…” Carolyn expressed her feelings towards her.

“So you are fighting with yourself. In this case, I can suggest you to someone." Wendy said.

"His name is Dr Simon Hardy. He was a photographer some time back, but now he trains all the budding photographers. You can train with him" Wendy insisted. "However, he's a bit weird to be with. Very strict & rough most of the time while talking. And don't worry, he won't charge you. He knows about you. So I would suggest please take a moment and meet him. If you don't like him, maybe you can just let him go & continue on your own..."

“I'll sure will.” Carolyn said and disconnected.

A few days later, as she was unable to pay her dues, her bank sealed her house and freezed her accounts forcing her to vacate the premises.

After self practising photography and somehow still trying to get her focus, Carolyn visited Dr. Hardy. He was that kind of weird old guy whom you would always want to stay one arm away.

After brief introductions, she showed her collection. "You know what? This is a SERIOUS CRAP. Even the layman would understand that these photos are not at all creative…!" he criticized looking around her photos. “The real essence of photos is: go closer to the object. Feel it. Practise shooting every day. Shoot as much as you can. Engage and listen to your subject. Don’t treat them like a science experiment under a microscope.”

Looking fiercely at her, he said "I like to push people beyond what’s expected of them. I believe that’s an absolute necessity to get the best CRAP out of them.” Pointing to her photos, he said, “Go back to all these locations again. Reclick all the photos. And this time, don't show me some garbage."

The next day, Carolyn left for the work. She travelled to all the nearby places. Using her camera, she retook all the photos. But she couldn’t focus. Again losing her self-confidence, her mind kept on wandering about in negative thoughts. My photos won’t be liked by anyone. I am not clicking good photos. Even though she was attending training sessions with Simon, still she was not satisfied with her work. The Fear of losing and failing again kept coming back at her.

Back again, she showed these photos to Simon, faintly expecting a positive reply.


Carolyn was now in utter dilemma. After quitting her job, no one was ready to accept her photos. Being homeless, her bank accounts were freezed, and she had very little money left. Plus, her new instructor was only finding faults in her work. She had lost all her concentration. Nothing was going right for her. She started getting thoughts on quitting.

“I am giving you an assignment. I hope that you will at least put in some efforts to present a good set this time”. He told her to click some photos of wildlife and nature.

This time, again she tried to get the best out of her. Fighting her negative thoughts, she clicked photos from around the area.

Simon was again infuriated looking at her work. “YOU AGAIN DID THE SAME UNWORTHY THING!! WHY HAVE YOU EVEN STARTED PHOTOGRAPHY? YOU NEVER DO THINGS RIGHT!!” Hearing this, Carolyn started weeping.


Carolyn couldn’t control her emotions. Feeling totally like a loser, she decided to stop. I am not worthy of being here. I’ve lost it. I am not supposed to be a photographer. Unwillingly, she decided she should quit. I’ve got no option .I’m in debt, no one’s liking what I do , I can’t focus on how to make good photos.

The next day, she went and met the HR of her previous company, urging to take her back in their business. They accepted her proposal, and she joined that day itself.

“It’s better I be here, Wendy. I am not designed there. Photography is not made for me. I better focus on my job” she said when her friend called her to enquire why she quit.

“But, you can’t just quit..!! You could have tried more..!!!Simon was always ready...”

“I don’t have any bad feelings for him. The thing is, it made no point continuing when I had lost all the focus. It’s better I continue my previous work of Market Analyst.”

Reluctantly, she got involved in her profession. Someday, she would think that she could have been a good photographer. Her past memories of her favourite hobby would time and again pop up in her mind. But she shrewd them off .I couldn’t do it, she thought, I was not made for it.

She totally got busy in her office work. Some months later, as she was browsing through a magazine while travelling; she came across a small article featuring a Photography contest. It welcomed photographers to submit their entries, and the best ones will be declared winners with cash prizes. At first she hesitated, knowing her background in photography. But she decided against it. Wining ain’t important now, she felt. I’ll never think what I used to. I Must Believe in myself. I KNOW MY PHOTOS ARE SUPER GOOD. I CAN TAKE NICE PHOTOS.I HAVE CONFIDENCE INSIDE ME. I’ll see how I’ll perform here. I had struggled a lot. I am grateful to those bad days. Bad days always test the good in you.

She visited many natural areas, used her creativity and her past experiences. Satisfied fully by her work, she uploaded her photos on the website and got involved in her office work.

After a few days, as she entered her office, the receptionist gave her an envelope in her name. Opening it, she realised that she had WON the competition, and her photos were ranked amongst the best in the category. YES..I DESERVED TO WIN..!!I HAD CLICKED SUPERR PHOTOS..!

The organizers had arranged a prize distribution ceremony to honour all the winners and she was invited.

On the day of the convention, after she took her prize, she was chatting with some of the guests. “Didn’t you know that the judges liked your work exceptionally? Infact, Mr. Hardy was very much impressed on your work”

Carolyn couldn’t believe what she was hearing.

Simon was the judge? He made me the Winner? Why?

He was against me everytime. He never liked what I presented. He always criticised whatever I showed him. She just couldn’t understand the scenario.

She was still lost in her thoughts when someone tapped on her shoulder. She turned, only to see Simon. Before she could speak, Simon said, “I would have expected these levels of photos from you. YOU ALWAYS HAD THAT EXTREME TALENT OF TAKING WONDERFUL PHOTOS. But the trash in your mind was not allowing you to do it. I never trained you to take good photos .I was hard on you because I wanted you to be the best. ANYONE CAN PICK A CAMERA AND CALL THEMSELVES A SHUTTERBUG. BUT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO SUCCEED IN ANYTHING IS ALWAYS SELF CONFIDENCE. I knew you had the POWER inside to you to wonderfully use your creativity. You never made an attempt to remove all the unnecessary garbage inside your head. This time, you succeeded. I liked your photos. Keep up the good work.” He congratulated her and left.

Carolyn couldn’t believe that Simon actually had good words for her. But now she knew where she was lacking. Now she understood her weaknesses. She always focussed on all the things which were not important. NOW SHE KNEW HOW TO FIGHT HER INNER DEMONS. Everyone has bad thoughts. Everyone had bad phases in their lives. But most important, it’s always a matter of choice. It always matters whom you give importance to.

She again regained her passion for photography, while still working in her office. This time, her photos came outstanding. All of the people started liking her photos. Her photos became quite popular in all the magazines.

One fine day, Wendy called her and asked “Heyy buddy, how’s it going? Just saw your photos on one of the magazines. They are SUPERB. Just amazing!”

“Everything is awesome. I am planning to again quit my job and focus on my passion.” Carolyn replied.

“But, you were…”

“Ya, I know. But this time, I am super confident in myself. I know I can take amazing photos. I am going to focus only on the thoughts that are important…!”

“Oh wow. That’s cool..!! Wish you all the very best buddy!”

“Thank you..!! Also pay my regards to Dr.Simon Hardy. He helped a lot to change myself.”

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