While doing some spring cleaning recently, I came across a carton which I had forgotten even existed! As I used a paper cutter to gently remove the rotting packing tape, my heart beat faster in anticipation of what long lost treasure would be revealed once I managed to open the box. The tape finally gave way and I opened the lid to a plethora of items I had forgotten even existed; letters and cards from friends and family, fading photographs I remember taking with my manual Canon camera, spools and spools of negatives, and video tapes which were unlabelled!
Seating myself comfortably, I began my journey in the past by opening a big plastic bag full of postcards which had been sent by friends and family from various locations around the world, the stamps still clinging on to the right-hand-side corner of the postcard. Stamps, which were once considered a precious commodity, now relegated to museums where the younger generation look at them in passing and wonder at their purpose! Majority of the postcards were from my maternal grandfather who was a prolific traveler and would send us a card from each location he visited; Japan, China, Argentina, Brazil, India dated 1978, 1980, 1981 and such. Reading his short notes and salutations made me miss him more though a lifetime has passed since he left us all.
Next I opened a box filled with greeting cards and letters sent by friends during the days when letter writing was the way to stay in touch with loved from out of town: Writing a letter and the much anticipated wait for its reply had a certain un-explainable joy associated to it, but that romance is lost forever under the weight of emails and fast spreading internet. I read some of the letters and aerograms, and traveled back in time to when I was a school girl and life was so much more simpler. Whilst sifting through the pile of letters and greeting cards, I realised that many of the letters were from friends who are still an integral part of my life; so 35 years on, I am very lucky to still be carrying with me the pure love and friendship of special and sincere friends. I also found a pile of letters written to me by my long gone mother which spoke volumes of her love and best wishes for me. With tears of gratitude, I gently folded away the treasures and packed them carefully, looking forward to another time in the future when I would dive deeper and longer in the past.
The last box contained pictures of a bunch of school girls in white uniforms and green sashes, all presumably taken by me during various school events. The colours were fading and some of the pictures were stuck together due to time and humidity, but the glimmer of innocence and hope could still be seen shining in the eyes of my friends. Life has taken us all in different directions, and each of us is carrying our own burden of the worlds worries, but for now, I let myself travel back to a time where we believed that all the world was good and that life would be perfect. The photographs moved on from the early 80’s to the 90’s with addition of new friends, new journeys and new chapters, and it was apparent that my love for the camera remained unchanged. I sifted through the picture collection of College and University days, and the fun times played before my eyes like a much loved movie. The birth of my children merited a large separate collection of photographs taken by me, and I reviewed all of them marveling at how fast time has flown as two of my children have left the nest and started the journey of discovering who they are. Sad at the loss of those simple and carefree days, yet grateful for having people from my past still as important in my present, I carefully packed the memories away in anticipation that I would revisit them soon and smile again.