The Facebook algorithm periodically throws curve balls at my feed with posts and pictures from years ago. Most of these dredgings are arbitrary status messages I’d have posted while in emo mode or places I’d have checked-in to. But once in a while it is a picture.
Now here is the thing with seeing a picture from years ago.
At first sight the picture makes me happy as I recollect the circumstances it was taken under. Then I’m awash with sadness as I acknowledge the passage of time since.
It is more joy-painful when there are other people in that picture; people who are not around me anymore because of circumstances. But the picture does tell me,’This happened once. Maybe this will happen again. So be open to it.’
Someone once asked me, “Why is New York so special to you?”
While jokingly replying to that query I did chance upon the real reason. Growing up in India and moving around a lot I never felt solidarity with any place.That was until New York where I’ve been for sometime now.
New York is where my immediate past jogs with my present. while walking down an avenue or turning a corner I can see my former self in that place. It gives me an immediate point of reference as to how far or little, I have progressed.
On my first visit to Times Square in 2007 I had two pictures taken.
One with the NASDAQ building in the background for the purposes of sending it to my parents so that they’d be fooled into thinking I worked there. The other was me resting my back on this red grill with Virgin (Mega store) flashing in the background for my orkut profile picture.
Here is a picture of Anushka Shetty from the movie Swagatham (a terrible movie btw) that”ll give you a general idea of that area and how I was positioned.
Today there is no Virgin Mega store; it is a forever 21. There is no red fence, just the road.
When I walk through that area pointing out sights to visiting friends (no other reason to go to Times Square IMO) I am reminded of that boy who stood there in 2007 dressed in a yellow GAP shirt, chermas jeans and a blue adidas cap; nervously posing for a picture, worried about getting ticketed because he was obstructing the flow of pedestrians. (A senior at uni had sacred the shit out of me with talk of you will get a ticket for everything and anything in New York. The fines usually run from $120 – arrest and deportation. Calculate that ??$$ = ??INR and be mindful at all times.) Fcuk you man for all the anxiety demons you planted in my fob head.
When experiencing or recollecting a moment like the one above. I tell myself, “Remember this. Remember this happened. Remember this important or shitty thought or experince.”
Spoiler alert : I never remember.
It is actually a good thing though. Else I’d just become a prisoner to the past refusing to move ahead in action or thought.
But I should totally not be the lead in Edge of Tomorrow because I would never remember shit if I re-spawned after getting terminated by aliens the previous day.
Take some pictures.
Pictures are bulwarks against forgetfulness.
Pictures are time machines.
Do not take too many pictures though. Else sorting,categorizing and editing them is a pain in the ass.
Cannot write, cannot create any art or music or film ?
Do not want to forget or be forgotten ?
Take a Picture or be in a picture.