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Saturday, June 18, 2011

a thank you note

photographs and brightly colored paper, 
are your mask you wear in this caper. that is our life

As the vehicle slowly started moving, i passed the central park of Kathmandu. The sun was about to set as it lit the short grasses with the last rays of light, slowly being teased by a cool breeze. A Norah Jones song started playing in my head. Boys were playing cricket, as their silhouette was being painted a faint orange by the light behind them. Oblivious to the traffic and noise around the park, some boys lay on the ground, day dreaming or making small chit chat. Some were in the mood for bromance. I saw a frightened yet excited eyes of a kid sitting almost on the handles of a bike without a helmet on (!!!). In the distance, I could see a fuzzy frame of white mountains beyond the valley covered by clouds of dust. A handsome tanned man on a bike gave me a confused look seeing the smile on my face. And all I could think of at that moment was to be thankful. To my camera.

So many of us take pictures to keep memories. We are scared our moments won’t come back and thus want to keep a part of it on glossy paper or on our computers. We often take them out to look back at disconnected friends and try to live up the times again, although photos are only one-dimensional, doing a poor job of describing the true essence of their content. Some of us take pictures simply to enjoy a narcissistic adrenaline rush admiring features of our physical image. Some of us are plain random, taking pictures of drunk acquaintances making an idiot out of themselves. Most people, when picking up a hobby or getting into a project, get so observed in itself that they only think about the end result. We forget to enjoy the journey.

That day I realized that of all the things I have learnt after picking up my camera, the most precious lesson was that I have begun to cherish moments when I don’t have a camera in my hands. I don't feel the excessive need to take  pictures when I travel or when I meet friends, for these times are for me to live up right then and there. Not to lose over a couple of frames that I can enjoy later. Maybe I won’t even remember most of such times again without a physical evidence to look at, but I don’t mind. If I have lived the moment when it’s happening, is that not going to make the best mental pictures?

I quote my friend Sanjog Rai , photography class should be a requirement in all educational programs because it makes you see the world rather than just look at it...”. It is true. Even if you're not a hobbyist photographer, take out your cameras more often. Get really obsessed with how it works and think about how to get the most beautiful pictures. And once you put that camera down, you will see what a difference it makes to your perspective of things around you. You really begin to open your eyes.

p.s there's only a month and a half in Kathmandu left for me now. YIKES! I'm nervous and excited.