Last Sunday, after hours of getting yelled at by my mother, I finally got around to cleaning my cupboard.
As expected, there were lots of unkempt clothes, piled up in a mess. There were also some things I had no idea I owned. Like an old packet of Phantom cigarettes, for instance. Naturally, the only way I could sort my cupboard was by emptying it and placing everything back in order. Yes, sometimes, you have to create a bigger mess to get things in order!
Anyway, as I was sorting out the clothes, some of which still had the tag on, I found a single earring that had lost its pair, many years ago. I also found something that took me back in time. Like, way back in time!
I found an old photo album with pictures from a family trip to Udaipur.
It was going to be a long night.
Flipping through the pages, looking at all the pictures, there was a constant smile on my face.
It was like reliving the past, all over again. Going back in time, 15 years ago and reliving every single episode from that trip. Memories came rushing back in my mind!
The time when my brother made me cry by hitting me on my head and my mother chose the exact moment to take a photograph. The time when my brother decided to ‘look adventurous’ but instead slipped in the waterfall.
It was all there, right in front of me, all over again.
Those were the days of film cameras. When the roll was carefully put in without exposing it to light and with just 24 pictures, a vacation was captured for life.
The generation now has probably never experienced what it’s like to get a photograph taken and then wait around for days to see what it ultimately looks like.
If you happened to look in the other direction in a family picture that your mother planned to frame, there was no taking another shot. The ‘not-so-perfect’ pictures actually were the perfect ones!
Flipping through the sheets of plastic that safeguard our memories is probably the best way to feel good on a bad day. Albums are bouquets of memories that always fresh.
Every time our friends or relatives visited, flipping through the album and narrating anecdotes from the trip would get us excited.
But the era of those cherished photo albums is long gone. With great cameras on phones, you can take a picture anytime you want.
Now, we take a bunch of pictures on a daily basis and upload them on social media. Instagram has tonnes of filters that have the capacity to reflect your mood from ‘serious’ to ‘we-went-crazy-that-night’.
But are those ‘memories’ that you repost on Facebook really a memory or just a moment perfectly-tuned for social media?
The tonnes of photo albums from our childhood are all there for us to revisit and whenever we do that, it’s a pleasant experience. But that hardly happens when you’ve backed up 100 photographs from every dinner in an obscure folder on your laptop.
Phones with better cameras come into the market every other day and we’re happy to pose innumerable times to get the perfect pout in a selfie.
But nothing can ever replace the charm of a film camera that still brings back the memories of a time when the world was perfect place even with its faults.