Every photograph has a story to tell

I have always believed that every photograph has a story to tell – something so compelling that one doesn`t really want to share it. Perhaps that is why it took me 26 years to tell you this story.

Every photo has a story to tell. Except when it is that of a naked woman, in which case its Erotica
The three children caught in this 26-year old photograph are Jamshed V Rajan (a self-proclaimed Internet guru), Sumathy (the most artistic person in the family, who has plans of leaving her teaching career behind and joining the ITES-BPO sector) and Deepa (a house wife and the most affectionate of us all).

Story of the Photograph

Those were the innocent days. Children didn`t demand play stations and parents didn`t buy costly toys because they were never guilty of not spending enough time with their kids.

I still remember when my father – the more playful of the two parents because he could afford the time and money – called us all and announced that we were going out to take a family photograph. We hadn`t taken one since the youngest member of the family (the one with chubby cheeks) had arrived.

“Pick out your best clothes and be ready. I will be home by 4.30 p.m. and we will leave in half an hour,” he said.

It wasn`t a difficult task for me. I had only two good shorts and the zipper in the second didn`t work. I decided to wear the red short and the only shirt (out of the four I had) that would go well with it. Being an Army man`s son I couldn`t afford to be photographed without a belt and a pair of shoes. Kendriya Vidhyala`s red belt and white shoes, which was reserved for Saturdays, completed my attire.

Back then, it wasn`t fashionable to wear one`s socks around one`s ankles. I had to borrow two pink colored rubber bands from my mother to hold my socks in the right position. I have a feeling, by using the rubber bands I had cut the blood supply to my feet by half …but I wasn`t complaining.

I don`t know if Deepa (the one in salwar) had trouble choosing her best – I wasn`t into girls` clothes then. Sumathy, being the second girl in the family had a host of clothes to choose from. Besides, being a small kid, she could afford to be seen wearing woolens in April.
There was immense camaraderie while we ironed the clothes. In fact there was so much camaraderie that Deepa offered to iron Sumathy`s best woolens and burnt them.

As promised, my father came home early and we left for the studio at 5 p.m..

I heard my father ask my mother, “Shall we go to the studio we went to two years back?”

Today, I shudder to think how much we have progressed in terms of photography. My daughter is all of 80-odd days old and I already have 100s of pictures.

My mother nodded in agreement.

Half way through our walk, my mother asked Deepa, “Where is your dupatta?”

Apparently, in all the excitement, my sister had left her dupatta at home.

Mother (turning towards daddy): “Is it ok to take a picture without a dupatta?
Father: “No way. What is the point in taking a picture if we can`t show it to others?”
Mother: “You are right. Let us buy one on the way.”

We entered a small shop and in ten minutes had with us a red dupatta – something that would go well with Deepa`s pink salwar.

Soon enough we were in the studio – a very small, smelly place. In one corner stood a wall-mounted mirror and on a stool nearby I could see a few dirty combs and a tin of Ponds talcum powder. My parents applied a dash of the talcum powder (remember, we had walked two kilometers and were now sweating). They then took turns combing our hair and powdering us.

Before we were to take our respective positions, my father spotted that my white canvas shoes were not actually white. The studio man suggested we try applying some talcum powder, which he assured had worked for the previous client.

After my shoes were white enough to be photographed, the studio man guided us to our respective positions. I remember him telling our parents, “After I arrange the kids, you both can occupy positions just behind them.”

After 10 minutes of struggle, the studio man managed to place us at the right spot. By then, my father had had different ideas. I didn`t hear what he told my mom, but I did see her nodding her approval.

My father turned towards the studio man and said: “Why don`t you take a photograph of these three first? We will join them later.”

It all happened in a flash. Pun intended.

The studio man looked towards my father and said, “Come on now…it is your turn.”

“How much will it be for this snap if I want three copies – one for each of them?” asked my father.

I didn`t get the exact amount, but I did see my father`s eyebrows knit. He looked at my mom and didn`t say a word…but I did see her nod in approval. My parents didn`t stand with us that day for the second photograph. And it was three years before we went out again for a family photograph.

Today…26 years hence…we three have a copy of this photograph. We miss our father, though.

Warning: This is a pretty long post. πŸ˜‰

I have a very funny family. Read about them

# Accepting gifts from relatives
# Rekha is getting ready for my family
# My world is suddenly crowded
# Never be selfish, go and meet your in-laws
# My Grandma didn`t go to Jail

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30 thoughts on “Every photograph has a story to tell

  1. It made for a very touching read ( even though, it was as usual, witty!!)..You never know what little things bring back vivid memories and one certainly never knows what little, seemingly ordinary things, we’l goto cherish in the future..

    Loved the post.

  2. Hey.. Jamm..loved the post.. v nice.. I laffed when I was somewhere in the middle..and I also felt choked @ the end.. I know how you must be feeling after 26 long years….

  3. Very nostalgic. For the first time your blog brought fond memories of my childhood and “Vaman Bros” photographers in SpurTank Road, Chetput. (It is not there now!)

  4. I read your blog for the first time yesterday and today you have written, perhaps the best piece i have ever read anywhere… Great going man!!!

  5. Wonderful ! Touching. Funny. Amazing. And connecting a deep chord. How do you manage all this in one piece ?!? Hmm..oh yes. Each picture has a story to tell

  6. The piece is amazingly written. Your blog reached a certain level of maturity after your marriage and looks like your writing has changed after the baby’s arrival too!!

  7. One of the best pieces I have read in a long time. You’ve captured the innocence of those days so well and with such good sense of humor. Thank you sir!

  8. such a lovely post and yes our parents spend lot of time with us, unlike us, we think of our kids at workplace but when we go back home, we are busy with tv etc rather than concertrate on them or their pranks…… lovely lovely lovely post and that rubber band to socks was amazing, which every students did as their parents strictly told them to wear those two pair of socks thru out the year. nowadays children will never wear such things and they will demand new and latest.. is it the generation fault or parents fault…. i just loved this one raj

  9. I’ve been an avid reader of this blog for sometime now. I couldn’t help but respond to this blog.
    Amazing would be a mild word of appreciation for your writing style.

    This one bought back so many memories. πŸ™‚ Thanks dude. U keep me awake during my office hours πŸ™‚

    Cheers!!

  10. Jammy! The comments you have received for this post does tell a story as well.. You have nanaged to bring about a tear or two in every reader’s eyes…A googly every delivery makes bowling predicable, but once in two overs will make watching interesting… a really good one!

  11. Touching.. brought back memories of one “Prayag Photo Studio”.. and those talcom powedered faces in black and white photographs.. The mystrey and magic of photo studios..still feels like the world of Harry Potter:)

  12. wow good one rajan
    how thoughtfull of ur father …imean the copy for each of u …….that is foresight which our patents have and had for every action that concerned us .They did everythig with so much thought ………this was nt achieved with training it came out of that huge sense of responsibilty and love they had towards us .
    This generation wud be only half as responsible as our parents were then .
    And such a small act but such a depth of sacrifice hidden ….nt taking their own photo so that each of u got a copy ….how typical of pur parents .
    I rmember our trips to a small shop in Andheri to get our dresses once a year ….but i never remember any shopping trips to buy dresses for our parents πŸ™
    Now when they are so far away from us each and every gesture is remembered and missed …..
    Let thi s blog be a tribute to all our parents who loved , nurtured , sacrificed and cared so that all of us are what we are now .

  13. Hi Jammy,
    very new to your site…
    Really loved your wiity humour in every small thing around. But this post actually made me comment (considering I am damn lazy in posting it)… A beautiful thing to remember…

  14. The last line of your post left a lump in my throat and made my heart skip a beat.
    You manage to touch deep emotions just as well as you manage to leave your readers grasping for breath with a hearty laughs!
    … already addicted to your site… now, how to find time to go through all your posts, is not even a question! πŸ™‚

  15. Touching! cute story πŸ™‚ It is filled with deep emotions which have been penned down in an effectively amazingly special way.

  16. Jammy ,
    Been reading your blogs for a long time now… love them all .. and this one just made me want to respond..

  17. Hi Jammy,
    Had a boring day in office so was casually surfing the net and came across your blog. Superb I must say. The way you connect with your readers is praiseworthy. An entire generation of people can identify with” photo taken in a studio with talcum powder” thing. Good work. Now I have something intresting to keep me busy in office:-)

  18. i am typing this with eyes filled.it took me back to my childhood memories…THANK YOU RAJAN.
    When you will come out with book.
    we are waiting

  19. Since the last few days I have been regularly shirking work and going through your blog posts…Found some genuinely humorous and others “wannabe” humorous. But nothing made me respond as this did. There are a few of my photographs clicked in studios.But I don’t remember the experience as such. And then achan got a Yashica from his brother who used to stay in “Gelf” back then. So all our photographs, then onward, have been the ones clicked by amma. We have a digital camera now and the ubiquitous mobile camera, but the yashica still remains a prized possession.

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