General harbingers of joy (or depression, if you are beyond a particular age) – Birthdays.
In my world, the celebration starts at midnight. Calls start pouring in, messages pop up and there are also times when friends surprise you with a birthday cake. But I’ve been constantly hearing “this is the best birthday” ever so often these days that it makes me wonder how one can get to the age of mid-20s without having at least ONE memorable birthday in their life? Am I the spoilt brat here?
The first such statement was heard when we were in college. My friend said he’d never had a cake in his life. I was quite surprised because he has a naturally gregarious family. And we were also in our late teens and those are the times to make such memories.
But now, flipping through the albums on Facebook, I wonder if the site has made our memories for happy times shorter? There is an overload of images on FB – both ours and friends. So every new image instantly replaces the previous image and blurs those memories faster than they were meant to be blurred. Or if a fabulous birthday only one where photos can be taken?
Some of my best birthday memories aren’t even on FB. They were absolute surprises and beautiful. In fact, I have very few photos from last year’s birthday and that was one of the rocking ones.
But not just birthdays… everything. There are constant photos of us clubbing, eating out, chilling… and there are so many! And each one has a photograph to remind us… and for others to comment on. After a while, does it all sink into the ocean of ‘that happened’?
When I catch up with friends, we manage to recall the most mundane of incidents (for most part). The people we meet and the unique way we associate them with an event. Now, it is all like in Memento (or Ghajini for the Indians)… a polaroid.
This might seem strange coming for a photographer… but the need to catalogue every single moment of our life is kind of… weird. And unhealthy. I like to be able to recall a night without photographic aids. The birthdays I mentioned… some parts that totally rocked – I don’t have any photographs of them outside my mind. And they’ll probably stay with me forever.