I like when a picture tells a story. Fortunately, most of them do. Those stories are what endear you to the albums; a slice of life to be savored again & again. An album tucked away in some corner of the house is a sure shot pick me up. Who doesn’t love looking back on the path they travelled & the distance they covered? Photo albums are my memory capsules. Pop one & travel to a time & place of sweet memories.
Our early birthdays, in Bombay, were a huge investment of time & money. A professional photographer would be called. All those black & white photos are dear to my heart. I adore them. I look a complete idiot in almost all of them. Most have me, with my mouth open & eyes looking distractedly, at nothing in particular, least of all the camera. Nevertheless, I have often caught myself, running my fingers over them, reminiscing the old times & feeling very special.
When we were kids, we didn’t know a thing about cameras, neither did our parents. But, as parents today, we’ve become more camera savvy. We teach our kids how to pose, to stand in a particular way, & smile a particular smile. Or they see us posing & learn on their own. My daughter poses like a pro. Sometimes, she even says, “Click a snap now. Like this”. She enjoys the attention & is confident in front of the lens. As for us, we were all a bunch of shy, nervous, bewildered creatures back then.
At times when I am completely jobless or totally bored, an old album is a mood lifter. Some albums make you choke up with emotions. Especially, if there are memories trapped there, of a person who is no more, or of happier times with a friend, a parent or a sibling you aren’t in talking terms now. Some make you double up with laughter; especially those that have snapshots of little children – your own or others or maybe even you as a gawky kid or a self-conscious teen. Tiny tots with their singularly madcap expressions, wacky outfits (or no outfits), spur of the moment action, are a collector’s delight.
What I find excruciating are the wedding albums. So orchestrated! Same smile, same stance, (should I add “same groom!”), just the people with whom you stand keep changing. It’s the perfect example of a well regimented exercise in cordiality. However, the part I truly can’t stand is, when they click the pictures of the wedding guests eating. Do we really need to see them eating? And, whenever I've been a guest, & have had the videographer approach my table, with his assistant turning those big focus lights on me, I’ve wished to be invisible.
Is it strange that we capture only happy pictures? The days you wanted to kill your evil colleague, or the nights you cried your heart out or the time you hit your “angel” child or the days you had a tiff with your spouse & wanted to kill yourself for marrying him, the blessed family in shambles …ah! No! Well, those never come up in an album. It’s always the funny or joyful moments, where you’re hugging your co-worker during the office Diwali celebration or the blissful couple poses. By the way, the couple photos get so many sweet, well-meaning comments that you actually start believing them! Sample: “cute couple”, “pair made in heaven”, “lovely Jodi”, “what a pair”
It is considered inauspicious to click the photo of a newborn baby especially during the first few hours/days.
Wonder how Tan is going to look at all her baby photos. I wonder if she’ll have the time & patience to listen to her old mother retelling the tidbits of her life a zillionth time. Will she be pleased that I clicked those innumerable moments so that she’d see her life unfold in a picture story? I think she will be; I’m towards my mother.