Sunday, 15 June 2014

Bridge to the past

Just the other day, I was looking at some childhood photographs, as I do from time to time. And without question, such viewing always brings forth a few chuckles and awakens many fond memories. 

While I was happily cruising down memory lane, my friend asked me if those pictures I was looking at, were my childhood pictures. When I replied in the affirmative, she mentioned rather wistfully that she did not have any pictures of her childhood and of her growing-up years.

Source : Google Images
My cruise braked to a sudden screeching halt. Having been fortunate enough to have always had several childhood clicks (thanks to a very enthusiastic click-happy Uncle and some cousins), hers was a completely unimaginable situation for me.

Took me a while to really appreciate what she was saying. It then hit me right in the gut that, for this person there was absolutely no way of knowing who and how she or her siblings (& cousins) were as kids or in their growing-up years. Not even one single image of those times. She said that all she had were the vague descriptions given by her family and the rest were left to her imagination. For me, it felt as if a big part of her identity had been snatched away, forever. Now, is that a big deal for her?  Maybe. Maybe not. 

Source : Google Images
While it is gladdening to hear stories from our families about us, it is a different ballgame when those stories are reinforced with pictures. 

It gives a certain unadulterated pleasure or satisfaction to actually see how cute (or monkey-like) we used to look when we were kids, how atrociously or cutely we were dressed or had our hair styled or cut (oh yes!), whether we had all our milk teeth intact at that time or those top two or bottom two teeth were missing with gaping-hole shy grins, whether some of us had just started to sprout pimples, whether the little girls had their "moggina jaDe-reshme lehnga" moment and so on. 

For me, such pictures form a bridge connecting our (and sometimes our kids' and/or grandkids') present to our misty past, giving a sense of both continuity & identity. They show how & who we were, long after that moment has passed; They bring back to life our moments already lived, allowing us to savour them over and over again till we die or to pester others with, or maybe both!

Source: Google Images

Having my own such bridge makes me wish that I could somehow help my friend find her bridge.

What do the pictures of your childhood & growing-up years mean to you and why?