Sunday, July 23, 2017

Down `photo` lane

   The old photo album is a  treasure trove of memories. The other day I was going through an old family album featuring photos of my siblings & I in our childhood. There were the mandatory photos taken when we were three months old, just after we had learned to turn on our stomachs. All of us staring at the camera with a frightened look and with a  black `kajol` dot on our cheeks to ward off the evil eye. For the same reason that   parents were not allowed to take photos of kids until they were three months old.
The next one showed all of us standing at different angles, probably when we were one year old. Except for my sister, who was wearing a `jaddi`,  all the male siblings were in our birthday suits! I also discovered separate albums for each one of us tracing our growth from childhood to our marriage. Marriage albums those days were with black sheets of paper bound in  black hard cover featuring black & white  photos pasted in position with four corner stickers. If you wanted to remove a picture from the album, it had to be torn off as it was not meant to be removed from the album.

I was thrilled to see a photo taken when I was four years old, clad in a pyjama /kurtha with my long hair tied  into a bun with flowers tucked in.  The photo was taken a couple of days before my family`s visit to Tirupathi to have my first `Mottai ( Mundan) , as was customary in our family. I also found thousands of loose photos taken on various occasions packed in different envelops or as inserts in transparent plastic albums.

Fast forward to modern times. Though I could not find any of the albums featuring my children`s photographic history ( as they were thoughtfully given away to them by my late  wife after their marriages) I did find a few photos taken during the time when my eldest daughter presented us with our  first grandson. There were  pictures taken showing my daughter lying on her back in a maternity hospital with a big protruding  tummy; the new born baby in the hands of my son-in law and a  beaming picture of my daughter with a deflated stomach  with her child next to her. This was twenty years ago. These days it has become customary for young parents  to record on their mobile cameras the minute to minute action before & after delivery of a baby and instantly share the same on their `Whats App` groups. I shudder to think of the day when some over enthusiastic young father (who is  allowed inside the delivery room if it is a normal delivery) decides to share the photo of the child coming out of the womb.  

Even the marriage albums with the accompanying video CDs have become lavish affairs. I am told that some families with deep pockets hire a photographer to accompany the newly married couple on their honeymoon so that the memories of the young couple cavorting in different places and situations can be captured for posterity.  Seems fine so long as it does not include their bedroom! 

 As an old timer I feel that the sheer  joy of browsing through old albums and going down memory lane can never be replaced by the thousands of instant photographs taken on mobiles which are forgotten after they are shared on` Whats App` groups`!

(This article has appeared in Adyar Times issue dated 23-29th July,2017 under my column `Rajan`s Random Reflections`. If you like it please share it with your friends)

Have you ordered for my new  book of short stories titled `A Difficult choice`?

Containing 15 short stories dealing with contemporary issues, the book is priced at Rs.199/-only and  has a Foreword by the legendary Novelist and Playwright  Shri Indira Parthasarathy.  The proceeds from the sale of the book will go towards the activities of Prabha Rajan Talent Foundation

 You can order your copies on : or write to me for your copy of the book ( The book is  also available at  Words & Worth, Besant Nagar and Odessey at Adyar/Tiruvanmiyur in Chennai.

Sunday, July 9, 2017


To  fantasize is to imagine something that you would like to happen. Another word for it is day dreaming.
 `Day dreaming helps the mind unwind, connect the dots and get creative` says a report in a leading daily. The author of the report recommends that when children complain of boredom, instead of overloading them with all kinds of  activities,  give them time to daydream. When they have nothing to do they are likely to indulge in `day dreaming` about what they want to do in life ,  which is good for them . The same report also quotes Sabu Cyril, the well known Art director; “ Day dreaming helped make me what I am today”. 
All of us have been fantasizing  or day dreaming about something or the other right from our childhood.
Living in a chawl in Mumbai in my early years where  50 people shared two common toilets every morning  ( what a nightmare!) I would dream of owning a home with toilets for every  member of the family.Today I have a 6-bedroom independent  home with  seven  toilets ( including the one located outside the house  for servants)- The irony is that we now have only three members living in the house.

As an adolescent I would dream of cavorting with the beautiful actresses of the time. Later in college, I would imagine that any girl who talked to me nicely was in love with me – the number  of one sided love affairs I had would have been  a record. Ofcourse,  like everyone else I was also in search of an ideal wife who would satisfy all the features and qualities I was looking for in my future partner. Since I could not find one on my own, I dutifully married a girl of my parents’ choice. Over a period of time she acquired all the qualities  I wanted in my wife ( I don`t know if I satisfied all her expectations) and we became an ideal couple in the eyes of  the society.

At seventy I dreamt of taking up `Vanaprastha` as prescribed by our Sastras and lead a carefree life without family responsibilities.  I imagined  that by doing so I would be  allowing total freedom to my wife so that she could  enjoy doing the things  that she always wanted to do, without me breathing down her neck. The sudden departure of my wife from this world four  years ago made me change my plans. Today I fantasize that I am still living with my wife;  feeling her presence in every room and every object in the house she passionately looked after!

I find  that age is no barrier for fantasizing. These days in my dreams I go back forty years in time and imagine  eating all the mouthwatering dishes I enjoyed,   indulge myself with  drinks   that made me  extra spirited, travel to countries and places I have not yet visited, doing all the things that I know I cannot  do because of my age and related health issues.

It is fun to indulge in day dreaming and go after such dreams , irrespective of your age. You will never get bored with life!

This article appeared in the 9-15th July 2017  issue of Adyar Times under my column `Rajan`s random Reflections`