This summer, I bought a special 16 GB SD card. I was arming myself for the summer break. ‘ I don’t want to be stranded without any digital space to treasure the moment’ – I reasoned to my husband. I did my math and was thrilled that the plastic chip with a few copper teeth protruding could hold all the memories that I was going to create. My husband just rolled his eyes.
In good old days, which is only 10 years ago, all I had was a film roll. ‘A what?’, asked my son, Sid, baffled. He has heard the word for the first time. Even I can’t believe, I managed vacations with the ability to shoot very few pictures. I had to be thrifty and therefore had to make a good judgement – is the moment picture worthy for posterity or not?
I remember, carrying my old camera that boasted of Auto focus to every place we went. It was an indispensable part of all our memorable moments. But, I distinctly remember the harrowing wait to get a peek at the pictures taken. Firstly, I had to exhaust all the exposures on the film roll and then, visit the studio. The man there converted those weird looking ghostly figures called ‘negatives’ to some colorful endearing ones . Many times, the wait to see the photo prints was so long that, I would camp in the studio. Almost always, he threw in a free album to keep my photographs safe.
In contrast, I am now endowed with the gift of ‘plenty’. I mindlessly click every thing I see. I always check on the picture immediately because, if I am not happy with what I see, I click again. Most importantly, I don’t have to wait that long if I need to physically hold a picture and admire it. No, I don’t have to wait at all. All I have to do is to plug in the cable and print it out in my study.
Now, back from my vacation, I plug in my 16 GB SD onto the computer to copy all the pictures.
The computer reads the file. My eyes almost pop up in pride – 2000 odd pictures? 2124 to be precise. I browse through them. I smile at some while I shudder at some others. I cannot imagine I clicked the same object from various angles and lighting. I comfort myself saying, I am learning the art of photography.
I then walk to cabinet in my study where I have all my old photo albums. I flip through the pages. A far younger and a rather self conscious me stares back. I cannot tell for sure, what tugs my heart.
Yes. I can take 2000 pictures or more now and there is no waiting period. Yet, the wait and the thriftiness of picture taking then, was magical. The prints that came out in the size of a post card were viewed so often that my 2000 pictures may be put to shame. I remember flipping through the pictures with friends and family, making silly comments and reliving every moment with tons of laughter. Many times, we passed it on to members of the family and some other times, we fought for copies of some pictures like they were precious stones. In the end, I reckon, those pictures were always worth the wait because, no matter what, the joy of looking at the photographs through the plastic shields in the album can never equal the joy of watching the pictures in a huge LCD. Perhaps, it is time to print some pictures from my vacation and store them in an album to relive those moments. Who knows, it may well grant me with a few things to laugh about.