For a girl, born to middle class working parents, the mid 90’s wasn’t the ideal time for entering the teens. Not at least in my part of geography; the semi-urban modest township of Arah.
It was a time when dreams were in plenty, the wish-list never ending and thanks to the beginning of the EMI era of then supposedly shining India, the pocket money ever so scant. It always boiled down to, “you are a big girl now and should take up the responsibilities”. And then it all began.
With a humble earthen piggy-bank, that mother bought me to encourage that golden middle-class value; a paisa saved is a paisa earnt. And save I did! Every penny I could squeeze out of my pocket money, every ten rupee note given by those angelic relatives who visited us on vacation, every five rupee note entitled to on Dushera and Deewali, it all went in that ever hungry Piggy bank.
One day my younger brother broke that piggy-bank trying to imitate Tendulkar’s lofted drive with his new bat. And lo behold! It poured out five hundred and ninety four rupees and fifty paise. A fortune so beautiful that my eyes couldn’t believe and a happiness so huge my heart just ached. “So what do you want to do with it?” inquired my very much moved Dad. Buy me a camera, will you? Please?
And that is how I got my first point and shoot. A KODAK. Real fancy stuff, for that time.
Chasing your dream all the while, craving it, fantasizing it and living in daydreams is one thing and achieving it for real is entirely different. Ok, you bought a camera but now what? It never occurred to me that it will need films as well. And films didn’t come that cheap. My Dad, the best & most generous Dad I can imagine of; walked that extra mile, against all pleadings and posturing of my Mom, and bought me two set of films. I was happy, happier than ever before. And I clicked.
Click .. click.. trees, flowers, bee ,butterfly, crow, a puppy ,a pumpkin, friends and even my dad shaving and granny snoozing.
I couldn’t sleep the whole night when my dad said tomorrow the neighborhood studio will be giving the developed photos. I was the most happening child in the colony entire Sunday morning when all the kids around were waiting to see how my photos had turned up. Well, it turned out to be a disaster!
It was on the 34th click perhaps that I realized there is something called a cap that covers the lens at the front and you remove it or not the peephole shows you what’s ahead and the camera clicks, harmlessly without registering anything on the films. There wasn’t anything on the films except for my dad’s face half covered in shaving foam and my granny taking her afternoon nap with her mouth wide open.
I was torn with anguish and grief and yet again the best dad in the world came as the saving grace. He got the two photos printed and more for salvaging my spirits then for their aesthetic appeal proudly displayed them above the TV cabinet, the prime spot in our tiny living room.
It brings a smile to my face every time I think of it ,well that was how it began,