Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Capturing Life

That was the first time I was wearing a suit. It was my class 12th farewell and the idea was to imitate the elderly; ladies in saris and gentlemen in suit. I carried a mustache at that time and hello……how thin I was. I was invariably smiling in all the pictures and looking at that I can tell that I was not very comfortable.

So in the fits of cleaning my house, I rediscovered a bag full of pictures; pictures that captured life, pictures that captured past. Each one of them extrapolated an event and started telling a story. The time frame was not continuous and stories started coming randomly; just with a turn of a page.

And suddenly I was a girl. I was three years old and my mother had made me wear a frock. My father was helping her and the camera captured all three of us. It was festive day as Bhagwat uncle had come to our home with his new camera. So all of us got clicked myriad times; in different poses and in different dress; and that day continues to live on as representative of that age.

I had always liked her. She looked gorgeous in her cream sari and was the first woman I had a crush upon. And there she was; looking gorgeous as ever; sitting at the center of fifty of us; Class of UKG Section B. For me she never grew old and that snap took her from this world and pasted her that picture forever; at least for me.

The picture was clicked for finding her a perfect groom. She was Bhatnagar uncle’s daughter and had entered marriageable age. She was wearing a sari and the photographer made her cheeks look extra pink. Her eyes were expressionless, and after six years when she committed suicide those eyes kept haunting me for days. We never knew why she did that but that marriageable girl with extra pink cheeks is still alive in that album.

I was sitting on a boat, and I tried to look smart. I was not smiling and neither was I serious; and I had tilted my head slightly tilted towards the left. It was our trip to Varanasi and at least a score of us had gone there. Whenever any relative came to visit us in our suburb, we dutifully took them to some of the places around and such excursions were my window to the world. I in fact jumped from that window and eventually saw the world, but the joy never matched the one of that boat ride.

And then there was a generation leap. I was not even born and my parents were getting married. My father wore bell bottom pants and my mother had a big stylish bun on her head. I wonder why people of that generation comment on our fashion sense. My father had mischievous eyes and I always found it hard to believe that even my parents could have been so young.

Sometimes I wonder if I could go back in time carrying those albums, and then tell everybody what future has in store for them. I could have told my gardener that a storm would destroy his flowers that season; I could have asked that girl to be positive towards life.

But then I realize that I am mortal and put these questions to rest.