There was a time, not so long ago, when there were no digital cameras and no mobile phone cameras. For taking still photographs, we used to have that prized Kodak film roll camera. The film roll had a limited capacity. We could only click 36 photos on one roll. The process of converting them to actual pictures was painful and often disappointing. Painful, because it was a long process and involved a photo studio. Disappointing, because often we would discover that some photos haven't turned out great and there was no way to capture that moment ever again.
Compare that with today's scenario, when digital / mobile cameras rule the roost. One you don't need a roll, so you can go click-happy and click as many pictures as you want. Second, the output is right there in front of you. So if you are not happy, you can click another picture. Third, as digital / mobile camera also is your storage and retrieval device, there is neither any hassle of storage nor any chance of photos or your negatives getting damaged. You can also now share pictures with the click of a button.
But there is a down side as well. There are so many pictures now on our phones and we are so busy in creating new ones, that we have lost the sense of wonder associated with browsing through our old albums and photographs. I have always believed that the key purpose of photos is to provide us with the ability to look back. To feel nostalgic about the times gone by. Sadly, that purpose has been muddled in the race to get more likes on Facebook.
We had gone for a college trip to Goa during my engineering. When I browse through the photo album of one particular day from that trip, there I see a picture where one of my friends is standing besides me on a rock by the sea shore. There are 5 photos with us standing exactly in the same pose at the same place. 4 out 36 photos in that roll were wasted. Because we all were wasted that day. We had been drinking beer for hours. Had it been a mobile camera, we would have deleted those 4 additional pictures and may be that memory as well.
But I am digressing. I am fascinated by one particular feature of digital cameras. Zoom in feature. Once you have clicked a picture on a digital camera, at any later time, you can zoom in and find surprising details which you may not have noticed while clicking the picture. That is not possible with pictures clicked on film roll cameras. You can look as long as you want at the pictures in your photo albums (physical ones), but you won't be able to zoom in.
I just imagined, what are the kind of things you would discover, if you had the ability to Zoom-in on your older pictures.
1. Would you find out in your school's group picture whether that girl is smiling at you or not?
2. Would you find out the beer brand you had 15 years ago, because the bottle you had thrown carelessly around is still in the bottom left corner of the picture?
3. Would you find out who really was clapping for you standing by the wings of the stage, when you were receiving the award at your school's annual function?
4. Would you find out who borrowed your favorite Enid Blyton book during the bus ride to Ludhiana, while returning from that school picnic?
5. Would you find out whether your best friend was digging his nose or just scratching it?
6. Would you finally find out who was the one who was wearing spikes while giving you birthday bumps?
7. Would you find out who all had tears in their eyes at the farewell party?
If you had the ability to Zoom-in, you would definitely find things in your old pictures, that would surprise you or may be even shock you. You may find answers to some questions that have always bothered you or you might feel cheated, because you had always thought something transpired otherwise. The possibilities are infinite and tantalizing. But the moot point is if you had this ability would you really Zoom-in or would you just let it be!
You can't go back in the past and change anything. That Enid Blyton book is lost forever. The girl who clapped for you from the wings may have married someone else, completely oblivious to the feelings you had for her then. You have memories - some strong, some faded - of the events in past, the way you thought they happened. What is more precious? To know the details? To know the truth? Or to just keep your memories the way they are? Isn't life less burdened when you don't Zoom in? Sometimes it is not the specifics that matter; what matters is, the larger picture!!!
Memories are the key not to the past, but to the future ~ Corrie ten Boom
My last year's challenge post from letter Z was about linguistic jokes. It was about my mother-in-law pronouncing Zebra as Jebra. That led me to a discovery about Zebra / Jebra. Read it here.
My theme for this year's #AtoZchallenge is all about writing stories, anecdotes and observations from my life in form of easy to read listicles. You can read the theme reveal post here.