Sepia Tinted Memories


I was never keen on taking photographs when I was young. For in those days, that flash for a millisecond would frighten me, and those red and blue spots that follow after a snap made me hesitant. But sometimes, even though a moment might've been dreadful, the after-effect at large would be beautiful. Maybe all those pictures which my father had taken of me, incessantly, created that one beautiful album. Photographs can become conduits of memories. A celluloid still is sufficient for one to travel in time to that point and relive it again, proving that maybe photographs can be a time travel machine.

When I think of Christmas, there's a nostalgic sepia memory of that huge tree in Wafi with fake snow and echoes of real laughs and giggles. I always wanted a tree at home. When I went to the Carrefour in my neighbourhood and walked past the aisle with those Christmas trees, I squealed because I wanted one. Starting from 7-foot trees, I walked through the aisle holding my father's index finger with my tiny 6-year-old hand. At the end of the line, there was a small 4-foot tree that screamed my name, and I knew this was the one that'd accompany me home. Putting up red fairy lights around it and those shinny baubles stained a smile on my lips. The tree was a few inches taller than me, and I had to stretch to reach the top of it to place that golden star. That small tree in that small rented room had radiated joy. I often wonder where that tree disappeared.

I realized that over the years, what meant happiness to me changed, constantly. Decorating a Christmas tree, seeing NY fireworks from the top of the building, wearing 'coloured clothes' for a day in contrast to that monotonous school uniform, or even packing those snacks for those yearly school picnics, I grew.