We had the good fortune of connecting with Shoaib Shawl and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shoaib, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
A seeker is like a thirsty person in the middle of a seemingly endless desert. The person walks in a specific direction hoping he will find water even though he doesn’t see it. It’s his thirst that makes him walk whatsoever. His throat might be dry or might taste the morning dew as the nights pass on this journey. However, he cannot sit in the middle expecting someone else to bring him a cup full of water. Water is what we seek, thirst is our love, dryness and dewdrops- challenges and ecstasy, and how far we can walk will be determined by our passion.
Everyone seeks something or the other, be it even a monk in the pursuit of nothingness. To achieve the ultimate goals you need to be thirsty enough. I believe in the concept of doing what you love. Hardship is part of life and it is evident that there are challenges in any journey but if you are on the path to achieving something that you truly love and are passionate about, you should never quit. However, I believe that the hardest challenge in life is to figure out what love is for you in the first place. Sometimes you may be attracted to a thing or a practice that amuses you and easily think of it to be something that you are passionate about. Later you may find yourself in a place where you feel disconnected from it. With the pressure of not contradicting your beliefs or the pressure of society, you might begin torturing yourself by not letting it go. That’s the point where you need to quit and find your actual love. But when it comes to quitting because of not being able to reach a state of perfection, I stand against it for there is no absolute perfection that one can ever achieve. It is the bitter truth, but through no river/ lake you can quench the thirst of your desires. Therefore, you need to enjoy the journey to the fullest and convert the hardships into opportunities for self-growth
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I associate art with my journey of fulfilling my desires and finding the true nature of love. My stories and artwork are a result of my contemplation of my soul. Born in Jammu and Kashmir, an Indian state in the foothills of the Himalayas, I have been surrounded by rich natural and cultural beauty. I began painting at an early stage of my childhood and later explored photography and finally filmmaking. I am currently doing a Bachelor of Fine Arts In Filmmaking at the New York Film Academy in LA. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to create various film projects, including short films, music videos, commercials, experimental films, etc as a writer, director, cinematographer, and production designer. Beginning with experimental films with unconventional structures, I am currently exploring genres of drama, mystery, and magical realism. My latest short film, ‘The Enchanted Phiran’ portrays the story of a young girl who is gifted a traditional cloak (phiran) with alleged magical powers by her bed-ridden mother. She seeks to channel its magic while protecting it from her ruthless father and greedy grandmother. The film has been screened in festivals including Pune Short Film Festival, Goa Short Film Festival, and Paradox International Short Film Festival and is still on the road to other festivals. It was also great experience filming a narrative music video, ‘Kahani’, in a nearly 400 years old, abandoned ruin in the middle of mountains of Kashmir. I am excited to be working on my next short film, ‘Beads Of Breath’, which explores the life of a madman in the Himalayas who seeks to discover the true nature of love while struggling with the dynamics of society. While learning and working as a filmmaker, my never-ending zeal for painting and photography also continues to give me a broader and vast experience of art and expression and also helping me as a production designer and cinematographer in films and commercials. My motive in this journey is to master portraying those experiences and feelings that humans encounter but fail to convey through words.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Coming to California from a higher altitude place, the sea has undoubtedly intrigued me. I love the close beaches like Santa Monica, Venice, and Malibu. Days sunsets and nights, everything is amazing near the sea. I am also a fan of environment hotspots and gardens like the Huntington gardens. Sometimes a hike up to serene places like the wisdom tree in Burbank is also a good idea. If you are a person who likes a festive atmosphere, then I would suggest places like the Grove.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have been blessed to have supportive parents. Despite having completely different career paths, it has been their love that has encouraged me to begin this journey in the very first place. Coming from a small town in India, it has been a surreal experience finding myself in California today and I thank them for this. Coming from a culture where other family relations are closely knit, my grandparents, uncles, aunts, siblings, and friends have also been integral support in this journey. Sometimes in life even bigger lessons are taught by strangers and things that you encounter out of nowhere, so I am grateful to God for creating opportunities, guiding me, and giving me the strength to travel on this path of life.
Other: Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/user159264099