I am all nostalgia. I have been so for more than 24 hours now. To think that I don’t have access to those treasured memories committed to photo albums fills me with angst. I forced myself to think about all those poems I remember well, hoping it would compensate for the loss. Didn’t work.
So I worked myself into a frenzy and created this collage — showing bits and pieces of my life — then and now. I thought compiling this would plaster my mental bruises. I actually tried to think that it has a meaning. And then I tried to imagine what meaning people would make of it. I did not like the results I came up with. Sigh. I realised that this picture has no perspective; it’s a mess; a shallow, static, mess…. So I thought, and it plunged me into an altogether different current of thought.
I began to see things — in the way they told us at school to notice details in a photograph before writing a story on it. A story bares the rough edges of a well-done picture. I discovered much later, of course, that a story is often hidden in a picture. There may not be obvious details giving away a story. And yet, you can feel its artful presence. You will find your elusive sprite of a story in-between layers of possibilities.
Thank god for stories — we have something to counter the senile stupidity of capturing time in a colour capsule. Isn’t it a pity that now that I’m humouring myself with school-level exercises, I have nothing to see — far less to show — from those times?
I wish I could paint with words. Paint, for example, all those purple and red stares I elicited when I begged my teacher to put me in the same section as my friends. That was our last year in school, and I stared at the snaky lines of names in the register as I fought off tears. Obviously I didn’t see the way they saw things.
“Do you really think, my dear, you will get everything you want in life?”, she had asked in a sweet-sodden voice.
Guess that question would make for a very high resolution image, several gigabyte strong. Pity I have no pictures to tell such stories. I will always have to whisk them up on the keyboard. But I shan’t give away my story — or my answer — that I leave to your imagination!