Photographic Memory

Week 2: 1/2/16

INDIA. Mumbai. A view of Marine Drive from atop the flyover, 2010. 

To be honest the southern part of Bombay had always been like a foreign land to me. Living in the suburban area I felt like a tourist when I saw the sea, the tall skyscrapers and the elite people who lived here. These never appealed to me as a part of my home. But it was different that day, the roads were glistening from the first rain, the smell of petrichor emanating from small potted plants along the way freshened my mind. I felt the salty sea air embracing my sides and making me fall in love with the Arabian waters. Naturally I smiled to myself, I was feeling oddly happy and content. I got down from the cab, something I wasn’t used to, I walked on the famous Marine Drive. I had never done this before, to walk on the seaside or to maybe understand what I really wanted. I sat on the stones there, thinking about life, how I had been desperately wanting to say some things but I didn’t have the courage to. I looked at my reflection in the puddle reminding myself that my decisions will affect no one else but me. I took a deep breathe and made the call.

“Amma, I don’t want to do medicine, I can’t be a doctor”

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“How much more?” I thought to myself. I was seated on the boxes trying my absolute best to keep my now sore body still. I was still for more than an hour while my classmates sketched me. I had tried everything to keep myself engaged, counting numbers but I got distracted after 233, anticipating my classmates’ portrait of me. I also tried to steal glances around the room, I looked at the clock till I realised it was worthless because the more I stared at the minute arm the slower it seemed to move, I watched my crush concentrating on his portrait but I had to divert myself from the beautiful scene as he looked suspicious of my actions, I also looked at professor who was slumped in his chair, snoring peacefully unaware of my agony. After an eternity when my classmates were done I finally anticipated the joy of movement and locomotion but alas! My whole body was numb, I fell flat on my face as I tried to stand up making a complete fool of myself. Being an artist till date I have drawn numerous portraits but never once, after this incident I volunteered to model.

INDIA. Mumbai. Children having a goat-drawn cart ride at Juhu Beach, 1971.

Recently seasides and beaches had become my favourite place. One of my favourite places was the Juhu Beach. The beach wasn’t flawless but somewhere it held a special place in the hearts of the Mumbaikars. The liveliness of the beach somehow makes you overlook the stinky garbage. But  as a kid I loved the rides there the most. Trampoline and the Ferris wheel were the ones that I enjoyed the most, though I was scared of heights. But what I hated were horses, they were abnormally tall, their facial expressions were never welcoming and they also smelled funny. So instead of horse I sat on goat rides. My family would mock me but when I saw other kids ride it, I never gave it much thought. Instead I always thought goat rides should be promoted as much as horse rides, they should get the attention they deserve.

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