Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Five Years

A weight has been pressing upon me over the last few months, the coming of this day. It's beyond me to articulate, five years without my father, five years of us struggling on, living with his absence, clinging to memories lest they wind away from us forever.

These photographs I photographed today perhaps say all I cannot. The blurs, the reflections, the detachment of  the picture of a picture - these voice my struggles with time, memory and grief. I find my memories becoming echoes - his voice more distant, the sparkle in his eye harder to catch in my mind's eye. During these moments, nothing seems to articulate the pain of time passing than Auden's plea for clocks to stop.

I realise how few photographs of Baba I have. He was the photographer, we the photographees. He is here, with his beloved Leica, puzzling over its temperamental workings in intense concentration. I realise that his pictures are in fact gifts to us now - that they enable us to see what he saw, what he found beautiful, what he never wanted to forget. The landscapes, cityscapes, pictures of boats and rickshaws from his youth replaced later by pictures of us.

My Baba was a patriarch, he ruled, he led, he demanded and he decided. Without him, we muddle along, doing our best, not quite whole, not quite steady. The carefree happiness and laughter I see in these pictures - not quite that now. We are sadder, quieter, never allowing ourselves to exist quite in the present.

In consolation, people always say those lost to us wouldn't want us to be unhappy, to be sad because of them. But my Baba would have wanted to be missed always, to know we knew he was our centre, the heart of our hearts.