It’s amazing to live through the truthfulness of the adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words” and sometimes a thousand feelings too. A photo of a little girl reading a comic evoked many memories and even tingled my taste buds, while I was browsing through my old album.
It was a usual summer evening. Dad was about to come back from work. Mummy was in the kitchen, preparing tea and pakoras, an Indian snack. My elder sister was busy with her homework. My brother had already gone to play cricket with his friends. I, being the youngest in the family had the liberty to idly hang around. House was just as quiet and calm as a downtown on a Sunday evening. Other than the pakoras, there was nothing much to look forward to- no anticipations, no excitement.
As dad came through the door, the house went through a sudden change. The mood switched from silent Sunday evening downtown to happening Saturday night. People stopped their jobs and were now looking for something nice to wear and get ready. My brother was called back from the cricket field, which happened to be somebody’s driveway. My sister shifted from solving a (a + b)2 problem to ironing a dress that she recently bought. Mummy quickly dressed me in my favorite satin navy blue frock. I loved the pink flower brocade on it, although until then I didn’t know that it was called brocade. It was just a flower for me. Hair was combed with a side part; a hair clip was placed to keep my hair from falling on my eyes. I was transformed into a nice, clean, sweet eight years old. I was still confused. Lots of questions were coming to my mind. Why all this rush? What’s so special? Who was coming to our place?
It was not long before I found out that Mr. Photographer was coming to our house to click our family shots. Now everything made sense. It wasss a special event; it was a Photo Day.
Although, it was the mid 80s, not everybody in India owned a camera. My mom and dad were among the people who were not lucky enough to enjoy that luxury. That day dad had asked a professional photographer at his work place to come to our house and click some pictures for us.
Everybody smiled and photos were taken. Even our gardener Ram Prasad became a part of those memories. When my turn came, I was asked to pose and pretend that I was reading the comic. Instead of posing, I actually started reading my favorite comic character ‘Mr. Chaudhary and his companion Sabu’ and forgot about the photo.
Once the photos were taken, I could not wait to look at the prints. I waited and waited for them. I even got mad at my dad, as he was not getting the photos. It took good ten days before he got them and we could finally have a glance.
Now, when more than two decades have passed and that Photo Day is long gone; I realize how immature I was then. At that time, I just cared about the prints. I was naïve to think only about myself and how I looked. Now, when I am far, far away from my parents, my sibling and my country; I understand the value of the people and the place in those prints. They are thousands of miles away from me and it takes years of planning and saving before I can see them. I have to wait and wait before I can count my mom’s new wrinkles and witness my dad’s new shade of grey (hairs.) Now, I am not anxious about the prints but about the people in those prints.