Today, I ended up taking an unexpected trip, completely out of the blue, down memory-lane courtesy a bunch of photographs that captured various different moments of my life. The entire journey from one picture to the next was nothing short of a roller-coaster ride. With each picture that I viewed, I was either re-living a memory or I was trying my best to construct one.
It’s perfectly acceptable to have no idea what was going on at that particular fated moment which my parents chose to capture the six-year old me. It’s also fine to wonder why the album contains a picture of my four-year old brother crying his lungs out. In my head, I was fabricating all kinds of fantastic stories – sometimes, it’s a good thing to not remember. It opens you up to infinite possibilities.
Then, there were more recent pictures of college-life. I was amazed at the amount of pictures I had of my college-days. To be fair, it isn’t really surprising – I went to college at a time when uploading pictures of your random day-to-day life was a popular Facebook trend and I was no exception to that rule. As a child, I remember having camera-rolls that would last almost a year (and sometimes even longer) capturing only significant events of your life. Today, a casual dinner with friends amounts to over fifty photographs!
Sometimes, I wonder if we are over-indulging on the exhibitionism. Do we really need to preserve every moment on film? I have great photographs of me at birthdays and parties with people I hardly know – I look pretty but there are no precious memories associated with any of these pictures. I find nothing to reminisce about when I glance through them. We all seemed to be too engrossed in capturing moments than making them. Today, we have thousands of pictures from our everyday life. How many do we actually treasure?
Some photographs also have the ugly quality of reminding you of all the bad decisions you have made. It can be amusing – for example, a picture of you with a really weird haircut because, at that point of time, you felt it looked really ‘cool’. At other times, it can be heart-wrenching especially when you stare at pictures of yourself with a person who has wronged you – yes, they seemed to be right at that point of time and yes, you have learnt your lesson but the photograph serves as an unpleasant reminder of the fool you had been. Destroying the evidence is no easy task – even if you delete the picture from your computer or tear the physical snap to shreds, one of your classmates is bound to have the proof of your ill choice on their Facebook page! It’s best to just ignore those memories and move on. At least, I did that! Meaning is a truly mysterious quality that arises at the juncture of the virtual world and the real world; don't you think?
What struck me as odd was the fact that I hardly have any pictures with some of my closest friends. Till date, I don’t own a single photograph of me and my best friends from school. My best friend and I would have less than five snaps together in a span of an eight-year long friendship. That’s less than one picture a year and a few of them out of this meagre lot are not even half-decent shots! The funny thing is – it doesn’t matter. I still cherish each and every moment I have spent with these special people even though I have no means of showcasing them to the world. I don’t see the point of flaunting them – they are dear to me; the world’s stamp of validation is not required.
Staring at the photographs brought me in touch with different versions of me. I got in touch with the younger me, the prettier me, the spunkier me – aspects of mine which I feel are slowly vanishing. However, that is life. I am sure as I move ahead; I will get in touch with these old parts and reconnect with them. It is equally possible that as I trudge forward, these parts will continue to bounce away and disconnect with me forever. Either ways, it is alright. Even if I am losing older versions of me, newer versions are getting created every moment. Whether I choose to capture them or not, all these versions will blend together in the end. Life is beautiful and more so, if you can freeze-frame at the right moments!