Grumble out of bed. Lights on, I sit and stare into the nothingness of the ceiling of my room. Look at my desk and think of how I should clean up the damn thing at some point. Open the sliding cabinet containing all the papers from my dad’s meticulously arranged bills, investments and strategic financial planning. Smile to myself at the sight of my college graduation mark sheets. With a good friend now in Vikhroli, I refresh the memory of the nervous phone call made to a class mate from Bombay inquiring fearfully of my 3rd year results. “Dhruv, I don’t know the exact number but your average is coming to a mid second division”. What sheer and utter excitement. I hadn’t studied anywhere near as much as I could have, should have. Irrespective, my way with words in subject matter that allowed for grandiose explanations and name-dropped theories saw to it that I pulled through. I recall with happiness the relief in the creator's voice in hearing of the result.
So you see, this is why I can't find it within myself to provide motivation and drive to you during times of academic duress. My academic duress was limited purely to all-nighters before the damn paper, cramming in every possible word in the most selective of studying possible. It was like a damn game of russian roulette every single time. Anyways, I also think I don't give myself enough credit in that regard. Doesn't matter because I give myself a hell a lot of credit for everything else.. HA HA.
I start shifting through some of my old books. From Gerald Durrell to a series of yellowed Jeffrey Archer's. There's also my old Asterix collection. Darn I loved those. I could read and guffaw my way through half a dozen even today.
My fingers feel something soft, a picture. Delicately and carefully (as delicate and carefully one can be at half past midnight in a dimly lighted room) I remove the objects from their hiding place. Its in fact a series of pictures; with a couple of cards thrown in. I go through them and read some of the words.
Instantly, a sea of memories and vague recollections of intense conversations overtake me. Some had scribbled and angled scripts, others large and loud fonts categorizing their efforts to emote on paper. I think to myself 'some more additions to the memory box'
Introducing, the memory box.
A shoe box once belonging to a fine leather brown pair I picked up in Bern, now containing footprints (how ironic) and words of the past 4 years and beyond. Past relationships, conference sugar cubes, short-lived liasons, leather bound diaries and more. I take the shoe box down and peer inside. It's already packed quite near to the top. I realize as I go through (only cursorily) the contents, ' there's a lot of writing in here, not a single picture'
Not a single picture Not one.
'A picture speaks a thousand words'. Bullshit.
Words speak a thousand pictures. Every card, every tiny piece of paper, every book with an inscription brings me back to a time, place and memory that now has an era attached to it. The present streams on in infinity till it too gets bounded by words once written, and thoughts once shared.
A picture plays a small, momentary and futile part.
Hey, we are celebrating...so lets take a picture! Say cheese.."snap snap"...ohhh that's gorgeous, you guys photograph so well!
That's it, captured in time, for a supposed eternity.
Show me a picture from our arguments, from the time I saw 200 people cry, argue and emote in a room with me. Show me a picture of you waitng at the airport to pick me up, or the time I sat down to tell you I didn't love you anymore.
Show me those pictures. What? don't have any?
Too bad. I have them in words.
(I know this is hilarious coming from a guy who loves taking pictures...
Which is why, I at times, fear those words. In that box there are 'what ifs and if nots'. In that box there are speculations and heartfelt expressions of devotion and passion. In that box there is blood, sweat and tears shed to achieve where I am today. I'm not always ready to face them.
Bring on the pictures. The snapshots are of the finale. The finito. They captured my success, my happiness. I collect my past in a 2x2 box that breaths softly from the wisdom it contains.
The pictures are displayed proudly across my room. I don't need a box for those.