Friday, October 21, 2011

History for her

A couple of days ago I logged into and uploaded the 160+ pictures that I had taken of my daughter over the last 2000 odd days since she was born. I spent around 2 hours agonising over what I wanted to do with the pics, which were not really high resolution and hence not printable as photographs for an album.

I finally decided to order a photobook, paid Rs 750 inclusive of taxes and handling and waited quite excited. Yesterday I recieved the photobook. I had managed to arrange the photos in a manner where they started with her earlier ones and ended with the ones which are the latest. The low res ones are now postage stamp sized. These pics include one of the crow that (atleast Tamara believes ) comes home and crows for her everyday.

I gave it to Tamara last evening and since then she has been looking at the photos and making me tell her stories about each one of them. Stories about how the photo was taken, where, why, with whom, what was she doing? did she really do this? do that? its been an endless stream of events, which I imagine she re-lives in her little head.

I probably will now collect every photograph of the family and get them printed and keep them as family heirlooms for the next generation. They need to know the history of their family and there has to be a family story teller who narrates these stories.

I suppose this is how it was before this incredible invention that captures light and a moment in infinite flowing time was discovered. I think now that the frescoes of Ajanta, Elephanta, Aborginal prints of Australia are all pictures that were created to allow some father somewhere to tell stories to his next generation.

Unfortunately - I have very few pics of my growing up years. It was expensive then to get them printed, and cameras were so few that it was considered a luxury. One of these days I have to go to the family home in Pune (yes I am a Malayali who does not have an ancestral home in Kerala, but a family home in Pune) and go through my Dad's papers. I am sure there will be a treasure trove of history in there. The last time I went through these papers, I found a huge stack of old pictures of Dad's days as a labour union leader in Pune. The ones with George Fernandes, Madhu Dandavate and Datta Samant are the ones I treasure. I have to sit my mom down and get her version of this history written down. I started writing a fictionalised version of my parents life in Parayil House - somehow it has remained an incomplete work, maybe its not time yet.

Coming back to my daughter and her photobook, for her, the last 5 years are mysterious, she remembers little things from her brief life and reaffirms them by referring to the photos. I think it is the best gift one can give a child - a treasure of stories that go beyond Enid Blyton and Chota Bheem.

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