The Dexterous Lensman- Abodid Sahoo
Abodid Sahoo, a well-known name that any NITRian would relate to is a 5th year dual-degree student of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. In the last four and a half years, he was involved in many activities and has paved the path for many accidental engineers who want to pursue film-making, photography and design as their profession. Being a founder member of Cinematics, to an active crew member of Synergy and a dedicated Secretary of the Film and Music Society, he has done it all that makes him one of the most popular faces of the institute. As he enters into his last semester, team MM caught up with him to know more about his journey at NITR. Read on to find more:
MM: Tell us about your childhood days, the days that you spent at school before joining NITR.
AS: I was born at Baripada of Mayurbhanj district and did my schooling in an ICSE affiliated school; so I was more inclined towards English, Physics, Geography, Topography, etc. My school teachers were really nice and have inspired me more than any other teacher I have come across in my life. After my matriculation, I went to KOTA for JEE preparations and it was a very different experience altogether. I was free from restrictions and had the freedom to do anything. It taught me many lessons both inside and outside the classroom.
MM: How did Mechanical Engineering at NITR happen to you? Was it your choice or fate had it in store for you?
AS: When I failed to secure a seat at IIT, NITR was the obvious choice for me. My uncle, being an NITR alumnus, suggested me to take up Mining Engineering which used to have excellent placements back then. Initially, I was admitted into NITR as a student of Mining Engineering. But later, in the sliding round, it got upgraded to Mechanical Dual. So obviously, it was not my choice but fate had it in store for me.
MM: Tell us about your freshmen and sophomore year. What changes do you notice when you compare NITR of those days with what it is now?
AS: The institute has changed a lot over the last five years. During our time, ragging was prominent. Though I never attended any session but I can assure that it helps a lot in knowing seniors. It has somewhat vanished these days. Another major change is in terms of infrastructure. Though the pace of construction has been slow but within five years the institute has undergone major infrastructural transformations. There has also been a major change in the mentality of students.
Till our batch, students with any percentage could join NITR but after our batch JEE-Mains was introduced which permitted students with an excellent academic percentage to get into NITR. This somewhat has changed the approach of students over the years. Earlier students used to get into many things without thinking twice about CGPA but now as all of them have a sound academic record, they are pretty cautious about CGPA which in turn affects the involvement of students in extra-curricular activities.
MM: How did photography and film making happen to you? Who has been your source of inspiration in pursuing your hobby amidst the hectic engineering life?
AS: During my school days, my father had gifted me a point one shoot canon camera and since then I grew up a passion for photography. But after my 10th grade, I went to KOTA where it all halted for 2 years but after I joined NITR, I went for the Third Eye inductions. I wasn’t selected owing to my involvement in one of the busiest clubs, Synergy. After that, I joined Cinematics and the journey began. Arjun Rajiv Keshavan, one of the founder members of Third Eye has been my constant source of inspiration.
MM: How was your life as a student of the department of Mechanical Engineering? Throw some light on the prospects of the department.
AS: I am not that serious when it comes to studies. I remember securing a zero in TA in Maths-I and getting a warning from the professor that he would fail me. From being a bright student in school who scored 98 in Maths to declining to such a level really brought me to a standstill and I remember sitting in front of the Main Building with teary eyes. Apart from this, I must say professors of this department are really cool when compared to the other branches.
MM: You have been the founder member of Cinematics and have shown the path to many accidental engineers who want to pursue film making as a profession. What was your basic motto behind opening a new club?
AS: Cinematics was initially founded by Abhinav Venkat and some of his friends and they noticed the creative spark in me. After a few weeks of the inception of the club, they approached me to be a part of it. So I along with Aasutosh Purohit and Bharat Apat took the reins of the club and thought of ways we can improve it. It was in Cinematics that my photography, film making and design skills boosted.The major video which gave Cinematics the platform to prosper was Happy NITR. We literally shot around the entire campus asking people to dance and enact some funny and catchy moves at several locations. During those days we used to face a lot of problems owing to the scarcity of equipments but gradually we overcame it.
MM: How did NITR help you in prospering in your field? Is there any contribution from the institute that you would stay indebted for?
AS: NITR should be considered as a platform where you nourish yourself and get an opportunity to explore your skills. People with good soft skills inspire me a lot. There were many talented jewels like Tejas Mayor from Rotaract, Shakti Prasad Badajena who were excellent speakers.
More than the institute, it’s the students that inspire you and it is these people who will keep motivating you by giving you inspirational sparks even 10 years later in your life.
NITR has helped me in one major aspect, i.e.; building connections. Starting from people who were in their final year when I was a freshman to the present first and second years; I have built connection with people of ten batches. This was possible only because of the vibrant club culture of NITR.
MM: Besides working for campus events, you have also worked for some hotel groups of Odisha and have successfully completed their project. How was the experience of working for a live project?
AS: It was an enriching experience to work with the Nirupama Hotel group. It was one of our alumni who recommended them to give me this opportunity. We got to travel and explore different places like Gopalpur, Dhabaleswar, Taratarini, etc. We were financed by the company and it bore all our expenses. If you love travelling, then such projects would be the best thing to work for. We travelled several places, were accommodated at their hotels and the final output was highly appreciated by some reputed firms like OYO rooms.
MM: What are your future plans? Where do you see yourself ten years from today?
AS: As of now, I have decided to open a Design and Media firm along with Bharat Apat and a few other juniors of NITR. It’s very important to realise what you want to pursue and what you don’t and I have realised that core engineering aspects are not of my taste.
I also dream to work with filmmaker, editor and photographer Sam Kolder, head of videography in Beautiful Destinations. Working with good filmmakers has always been my dream and I hope I will be able to achieve it.
MM: You have also worked as the Secretary of the Film and Music Society for the current academic year. What is your take on the current state of affairs at SAC? Any changes that you want to see in the near future?
AS: Being a secretary definitely increases the responsibility but if you love your work, then getting a post doesn’t really matters. You need to be sincere and passionate enough to carry out the work and should not get complacent. I am doing the same work as I used to do before getting the post.
There are a few issues which need to be addressed. One of the major issues, that is a matter of concern for the students is the location of the SAC office. It’s beside the music practice room which not only troubles the students but also the officials. At times, the officials ask students to lower the volume while they practice. But it should be realised that SAC is meant for extra-curricular activities and students should be given more freedom in pursuing their interests and hobbies. The office can be shifted to a nearby building. Moreover, there have been no efforts to improve the infrastructure of SAC since the last 5 years. We as an institute are spending crores of money on Golden Jubilee Building and other projects but are unable to construct a SAC office at a different location so that it can function independently and smoothly.
The second thing is the present rules and regulations at SAC are stringent and obsolete. Students should be given more freedom for the management of the various fests. Another issue is the officials turning a blind eye to the students’ requirements.The members of Synergy have been requesting for a mattress to practice stunts since my freshman year but that has not been fulfilled yet.
MM: What advice would you like to give to those youngsters who want to pursue photography and film-making as their profession?
AS: They should try to learn new things. It’s highly essential to learn about musical instruments because that gives a fair idea about sense of music and rhythm which in turn is helpful during video editing and film making.
One should never run behind money. One has to be dedicated enough to carry out the work sincerely and the rest of things will definitely fall to place.
MM: Looking back at the past four and a half years that you spent at NITR, do you have any regrets for missing out on any opportunity? In the same way, which one would you rate as the most coveted and memorable achievement of yours?
AS: The stringent rules that the institute follows regarding backlogs, changing subjects, etc. should be more flexible so that people can go for internships. I had got an internship in graphics design, video and film making at IIT, Guwahati but had to let it go owing to my backlog paper.My most memorable achievement would definitely be our victory in all the three categories i.e.; film making, ad-making and after-movie making at the Spring Fest of IIT, KGP. I was pretty sure about film making and ad making but the after movie had pushed us a lot yet I was dissatisfied with our work. It’s really hectic because one has to make the after movie within the three days of the fest after shooting it there itself. However, fortune had some different plan and our video was adjudged as the best after-movie! We had clinched a perfect hat-trick and that gave NITR some crucial points and helped the institute in bagging the Champions Trophy.
MM: You were also a part of Synergy in your first and second year. How was your journey with Synergy?
AS: Synergy played a very important role in shaping and transforming me. When I was in my first year, I was in a dilemma whether to go for synergy inductions or to prepare for IIT-JEE again. But eventually synergy happened to me and then there was no looking back. Even though I am not an active member of the club right now, I am sure I will be taking away lot of memories from here when I graduate and it will stay with me even after I leave the college.
MM: Before signing off, any message that you would like to leave for our readers.
AS: Do things which you love and stay passionate. One day, your efforts will definitely reap good results. So keep trying and experimenting new things in your field. Just remember the quote by Paulo Coelho
“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve that.”
So have guts and proceed in your field without a second thought.