“Anu! Hurry up. The studio will close at 8 p m and you are still not dressed for our family picture.”
“How can I be ready on time when the kids are running wild all over the place? All three of them are fighting to get into the bathroom to shower first after coming back from the park. The girls are driving me crazy with their requests for my compact and lipstick and Yash is insisting on wearing his favorite but faded t shirt for the picture. I am certain we didn’t trouble our parents so much when we were 10 and 12 years old.”
“How can you be so sure, my dear? Let’s ask your parents next time we visit them.”
“Amit, don’t mock me. I am tired of running around pacifying the little warriors .They do know they are related and on the same team, right?”
“You relax and let me help the kids get ready.”
After almost an hour, the Mehra family scrambled out of their house and made a beeline for the BEST bus that would take them to the photo studio near Nariman point. The distance from their home in Colaba to Nariman Point wasn’t much and Amit hoped to reach the studio in time for their picture.
Pic credit Pixabay
In those days, I am talking about the seventies, there used to be a handful of studios where the professional photographers clicked pictures on their bulky cameras after adjusting the lights, camera and the wooden benches in their studios. Their instructions sounded something like this – tilt your head to the right, lift your chin up, smile, eyes on me, etc. The Mehras were on their annual visit to Mohan photo studio for their family portrait.
The pictures, two copies, would be ready for collection after a few days and the whole family waited excitedly for the envelope containing the black and white photos and its negatives.
“They look like they were cut out of old x ray reports we got from the hospital when papa broke his arm.” This observation by the 10 year old Yashasvi elicited spontaneous laughter from everybody in the room.
Anu gently removed the treasured picture from the envelope and pasted it in the hard bound album. She kept the second copy in the envelope and put it in her Godrej cupboard for safekeeping.Last year they had splurged on a fancy frame from their local shop and Amit had done a good job of hanging the picture on a sturdy nail in the living room. The picture was a conversation starter for friends and relatives.
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