Second Life

8 min read
12 Aug 2016
8 min read
967 words
Om Lamsal has seen the bright lights. But it's the light he's found within that means much more to him
Om Lamsal has seen the bright lights. But it’s the light he’s found within that means much more to him

One of the main lessons the 51-year-old Om has learned over the years has to do with happiness. “It sometimes requires that you restart your life from scratch,” he says. Re-starting was a decision Om had to make some ten years ago when he returned to Nepal after having left behind his career as a production supervisor in the Indian film industry.

During the course of his 25-year-long career in film production, Om helped manage everything from cast and sets to location and production logistics. Because he had a knack for managing things, while still in his 20s, he got to work for luminaries like Firoz Khan, whom he followed on the actor’s trip abroad for movies like Qurbani and Dayavan. Om also worked on the sets of movies like Midday. He even appeared on-screen as a junior artist for films such as Peheredar, a Bengali remake of Enter the Dragon, and Mehmood’s Naya Bakra, among others. Apart from films, Om also worked with ad production crews. He worked with Kunal Kapoor’s production company, Adfilm Valas, as a casting and production supervisor, and helped make commercials for brands such as Tata, Wagner and Kitply, among others.

One of the main lessons Om has learned over the years has to do with happiness

While money was never a problem when Om was working Mumbai, more work brought with it additional pressure that got too difficult for him to handle. Om started taking drugs and with each passing day, he slipped further into addiction. He only woke up from his stupor with his wife’s passing away, following which he decided to never touch drugs again. Today, as a 10-year-long member of Narcotics Anonymous, Om helps others like him break free of addiction.

“When I look at users, I feel like there is nothing different between them and me,” says Om. His history helps him relate to and make sense of their struggles. To help the drug addicts get rid of their addiction, Om tries to encourage them to see things in life that are worth staying sober for, and he talks to them about the problems that addiction can lead to. 

As a kid, the thing I hated most in the world was listening to people
Because of his addiction, Om hurt his wife and his mother many times. “For the longest time, for everything I put them through, I believed that I was a bad man,” he says. “And perhaps that was the reason I could not find happiness.” When Om returned to Nepal to be there for his mother, he started believing that regardless of all the ups and downs he had to face, god had a plan for him all his life. That represented a huge turnaround from whom he used to be as a youngster.

As a kid, Om used to sit in his front yard in Kichanas-5, Syangja, sharpening a knife to scare the passersby. “My neighbours used to give me advice,” he says. “At that time, the thing I hated most in the world was listening to people.” Tired of his life at home, he ran away and went to Mumbai at 13. There, he worked at people’s houses for a few years until finally finding work at RK Studios. With the help of some people in the film industry, he not only got a decent education but also learned how to work on movie sets. 

Although Om’s life had taken a turn for the better, briefly, his only way to find true happiness was to return to where he had run away from in the first place—home. When he returned to Nepal, he decided to remarry and start a family. Today, he lives with his wife and two kids in Nakhu and also goes to meet his mother from time to time. Sometimes, for work, he also oversees production logistics for foreign movies shot in Nepal, such as Up in the Wind, a Chinese movie, among others. 

But it’s his work as a vegetable seller that has provided him with more happiness than he ever got from his work in the film industry. “I struggled a lot in the Indian film industry, but I never felt like I truly succeeded,” he says. Today, Om thanks god every day for helping him overcome his addiction and allowing him to lead a healthy life. “I believe the turnaround also happened because I started listening to people, and treating them with respect and love,” he says.