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A Letter to Mr. Adhik Shirodkar

Pravin Deshpande

A Letter to Mr. Adhik Shirodkar Pravin Deshpande, Thane

Dear Sir,
I received an unbelievable text, saying Adhik Shirodkar sir passes away.

Sir, I couldn’t believe it. I went numb just when another message hit me with the same news. This was a text from Prasad Pawaskar of Fotographic Society of India. I called him back and he told me everything that has happened.

I still wanted to call you, on your phone, and listen to your warm and assuring voice. You’d say, “Hello, how are you? What’s your new project? How can I help you?” My mind crowded with your words but I couldn’t gather my guts to call you, sir.

Sir, I remember when I was an amateur Fotographer, in 80’s. You were renowned lawyer and I often read your name in the news. You always represented Shiv Sena and late Balasaheb Thakre in the court and shredded down the allegations. And in the same period I saw your wildlife clicks on the yearly planner of the Indian Express Group. They had published 5-6 of your pictures and my contribution was 3 images. But I was totally unaware of the fact that the renowned lawyer Adhik Shirodkar was the artist behind those Fotographs. I wanted to meet the Fotographer of those mesmerizing images.

A Letter to Mr. Adhik Shirodkar Pravin Deshpande, Thane

Later, I was freelancing for daily Sanj Loksatta and weekly Lokprabha. Sanjayji Raut was the chief subeditor of Lokprabha. While working for him he took me to meet a great person. When I walked up the stairs of the Girgaon apartment, I realized I was in your office. Then Sanjayji introduced us.

I remember that first meeting. Sir, I could see your expressions change when he told you that I am a Fotographer. Advocate Adhik Shirwadkar changed to Fotographer Adhik Shirwadkar and began discussing the art with an amateur like me. We discussed so many things, right from camera, lenses, flash to filters. Fortunately, both of us were Pentax lovers. A bond between us developed quickly and then you opened your inventory of equipments, right from Pentax to large format Hasselblad, for me. Our first meeting is a golden memory.

Sir, I remember when you were chief guest for Thane Foto Circle Society Society’s “Avishkar” event. I pursued you to accept this invitation. While addressing the audience you said, “I was unaware of the Foto Circle Society and its members. I had expected a marriage hall or pendol to be the venue and was expecting the Fotos clung to pendol cloth. But I would have missed the opportunity to see this beautiful exhibition, quality of your work and opportunity to address this large group of Fotographers if I had given up to my misconception and didn’t come to this beautiful theatre, Gadkari Rangayatan.”

You were candid and exceptionally warm hearted. You are the exceptional person who signed a donation cheque for Foto Circle Society.

A Letter to Mr. Adhik Shirodkar Pravin Deshpande, Thane

Later the Foto Circle Society decided to publish an online magazine Fa-Fotocha. Anju, Akruti, interviewer Swapnali and I; approached you for an interview. Smiling, you swept the tension off our minds and shared your experiences with us elatedly. We were left discussing facets of your personality; right from being a great Fotographer, a renowned advocate, Member of Parliament to a nature lover; all the way on our return journey from your house in Parel to Thane.

In 2013, I visited 10 draught affected districts in Maharashtra with Sanjay Naik and Madhavi Naik who is the president of Earth Foundation. Later we hosted “Pani- the story of water” exhibition for public awareness. You, Gopal Bodhe sir and opposition’s Minister Vinod Tawde were invited for the inauguration. Sir, I remember your wet eyes when you were watching the exhibition. Your voice was quivering with emotions while speaking to the audience. I could see the grief of those draught stricken people on your face. You suggested sending a couple of those pictures to Mumbai high court justice to raise an appeal, at your own expenses. Unfortunately we couldn’t pursue this plan; but your empathetic personality impressed us all.

A Letter to Mr. Adhik Shirodkar Pravin Deshpande, Thane

Sir, you were “down to earth”; personified. I remember your message from your interview in Fa-Fotocha. That was to use Fotography as a medium to spread awareness about nature and to educate people about the environment. It said 'We have turned our back to nature. Now let us go back to nature for our own survival.'

Sir, you’ll always be in our hearts, guiding us with words of wisdom and blessing us for new ventures.

Yours wannabe Eklavya,

Pravin Deshpande.

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