My first memories of being captured, on a photo film that is, consist of me being rushed to the terrace, followed by a change of clothes and a brief touch up, which is followed by introduction of two more kids almost the same age and then one of my brothers clicking the picture. That was around a decade back, more or less. How times have changed!
The first camera dad bought was a Kodak. It was silver-grey in colour with one of the fancy shutters, drag it to the left and the camera lens will present itself. It came with a tripod, which I somehow never managed to fasten to the camera. There was this timer option which, well in those days, was not common. There was no zoom option however. You couldn’t waste the reel on pictures of sunflowers or bugs or drops of water, either. Each reel meant thirty two pictures, thirty five if you were lucky. Hence each frame had to be perfect.
I don’t exactly remember the year when the camera was bought. I must’ve in the fourth or fifth standard at that time. Can’t be sure! And hence, like every 90s kid it fascinated me! As did the TV or the radio or those game stations we had. Ah good old times! I was as I was saying intrigued by it, also I wasn’t really allowed to touch it. I had once opened the back compartment that housed the film, destroying a good ten-twenty pictures in the process. So yeah, there’s that!
How times change!
Fast forward to the turn of the century, or sometime around that. Say hello to digital cameras with their megapixel ratings, lenses that extended past the width of the cameras, crazy zoom options. Times changed and how! The Kodak was dead, my sister had dropped it on her Goa trip and well sand did some stuff which I wasn’t able to deal with. I had by now established my superiority in all things digital or mechanical or electrical. Next we bought a Sony. Since then we’ve bought a couple more of the Sony digicams. The one I currently own is a DSLR.
And that, right there brings me to the party philosophical question.
Granted that the quality of pictures has improved, granted the ease with which you take the pictures has also improved. But haven’t we also lost some stuff. That excitement when the camera was brought out has vanished. That anticipation over the trip, that excitement, that preparation for the perfect pose, it has all gone! Nobody says “cheese” anymore! If it’s not perfect you simply erase the previous file! Phones have cameras! Facebook is filled with “photographers” showcasing their “photographs” which usually involve a watermark which goes like this ” photography”. The photographs well they usually involve some bugs, some plants, some birds, some animals or some stuff. I’m not saying its all bad, irritating yes.
The novelty has gone missing. That I do think is bad. If you ask me to go back to the photographic films, I won’t, but there are times when I miss the good’ol times!
Oh! And on that note do check out “Sajal Photography” !
Wait, that can’t be right!
Writers are magicians; and inventors of time machines, and a lot of other stuff too. Writers are gods, notice the small ‘g’. Writers are gods, creators of their own worlds; own universes. We are not bound by space or time for that matter. We are also liars, great liars. We turn believers into non-believers and vice-versa. I was reading an interview of Mr. Quentin Tarantino a few days back wherein he talked about “bringing literature back to film-making”. I was impressed.
I was reading this book by Carol S. Dweck: ‘Mindsets’; my friend who had lent me this one had a lot of these self-help books. I am not that big a fan. So, yeah I was reading this book and you know out of the blue I realised something. This market, the self help books market that is, is a pretty big one; and even though they are all talking about different things they all seem to make sense. It was then that I came up with a postulate explaining the phenomenon. It goes like this: they take a fact, a simple basic true fact, then they build their whole theory upon this one simple basic fact; this one truth. Now since we know that what we began with is inherently true, we concur that whatever is being built upon that is also true. And that’s why the book you’re reading always seems to make sense. Confused? Take a deep breath and read it again.
This is also how great fiction writers operate I believe, creating great characters, and vivid scenarios. That brings me to the other stuff I wanted to talk about. We are all so different and yet so same, so damn same!
The last chapter of the book, ‘The road less traveled‘, deals with this subject. Something about a collective conscience of the human race. It says something amazing. It says each generation adds to this thing, this collective conscience and we all draw from it. Not as efficiently as desired, but still. As an example consider a normal response to any threatening situation. How do we know how to react to the said situation? How do we know we have to get of the way of a raging bull or truck or car or elephant or well you get the zest, don’t you? We do so by drawing from this collective conscious, we move because after getting thrashed enough number of times, some one at some time must have dove out-of-the-way and that reaction would have been registered in the consciousness.
This is how characters connect on some level when we are reading a work, I think. Or maybe not. Its your pick really. We are what we choose to believe after all!
Oh and lastly, writers are assholes. Most of them atleast. Break one’s heart and you’ll know! Or have a fight with one and don’t forget to check the creativity with which you’ll be killed off on the next novel!
“Why do we fall Bruce?” -“So that we can learn to pick ourself up!”
—The Dark Knight Rises
So the year ended and another began. I’m not sure if there’s anything to celebrate. But then that’s how I feel about almost any holiday. I meant festival. Holidays are fun. The ones which don’t involve getting out of the pad. So yeah the year ended. And I believe I’m actually five days late. In my defence I had been trying to come up with a poem. You know something to commemorate the event.
I’ll tell you about the theme. It was supposed to be about falling. I am not sure if it was the black and white wallpaper of a person in free fall or just the quote; but I was fixated to the idea. Couldn’t quite let go. The result? I’m five days too late.
Happy New Year
As a wish I think its obnoxious really. I mean why wish for happiness? Its widely over-rated, really. Happiness is momentary, a sort of destination, a goal; and if you continue obsessing over the destination, you neither enjoy the journey or the destination when you finally reach it. Always seems to fall short of expectations!
A better wish? I have one, though its a bit derivative.
“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.Make your mistakes, next year and forever.“-Neil Gaiman
So yeah, run, hit a rock, fall, pick yourself up, run, fall into a damn pit this time, but climb up, and run again till you hit a damn wall or reach a cliff or something similar and when you do, break the wall, jump and fly! OK, maybe avoid jumping off a cliff! Do something, live!
Oh and in case you were wondering what will I be doing this year; I’ll be challenging myself a bit!