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The Old Photo Albums


This time when I had gone to visit my mother, I made an amazing discovery. As usual we started chit chatting. The discussion routed through many topics and it was while narrating something from the past that my mother reminded me of the photographs. My daughter was all too excited when she heard that granny had baby photographs of her mother (me). Within a minute all the old albums were dug out from the cabinet. Looking at those photos of myself as a child, my mother when she was so young, her marriage photos all in black and white print, a thought struck me.

I glanced through the albums totally mesmerized. So many moments and events were all there right in front of me. The past was practically staring out at me.

A few photo albums had the effect of an entire life story. It was a nostalgic experience. Each photograph had a story behind it. As my mother explained every photo in the album to her granddaughter, my thoughts changed from the past to the present. I had a CD for every occasion. Every trip of mine was on a CD all recorded for viewing. A set of CD’s had photos of so many moments and events. But I had very few photo albums. I felt very poignant. On seeing the albums neatly stacked with so many photographs taken 40 years ago and some even earlier I had felt that progress had somehow reduced the sentiment of certain things.

Technology has provided us with so many options. My computer has so many photos stored on them. But they lack the feel of the albums. We use digital cameras and handy cams to shoot photos and videos. All can be stored away safely. It is an excellent step towards progress where we need not buy photo film rolls and load in a camera like we used to do earlier. We could delete photos we didn’t like with a click. So we are left with great photos with fantastic smiles and brilliant expressions. But I miss the ones with weird expressions and odd smiles which earlier we couldn’t delete. The suspense of seeing the photos after getting them from the studio has faded away…….


Earlier photographs were clicked only on special occasions and then stored away in albums for years together wrapped in covers so that dust wouldn’t accumulate and were brought out on family reunions where everyone would sit together and comment on each photograph and relate incidents linked to it. No television, camera, computer was required to show the photographs. No electricity or battery was needed and progress had nothing to do with it. The albums could be picked up and the photographs would be right there in front of you. There was no clutter as albums were dated and marked. It was as simple as that. It did take up space in your house, but the memories it treasured was worth it.

Life is more convenient and easy today due to the various inventions and progress in technology.

Physical hard work is less though mental stress has crossed all boundaries. With just a click we can connect to anybody and the photos we take on the camera can be viewed within a minute by a person staying anywhere in the world.

But in all this I feel somewhere the feel and essence of certain things have been lost. I still prefer reading a story from a book than on the internet. I like the feel of the newspaper in my hand while I read it every morning. Similarly, the albums evoked an emotion in me which none of the photos on the CD could. The not so glamorous black and white print photos had made me realize certain facts.

Progress is essential.
But, there is a security in the ancient pattern of living. Though we step on and move ahead with the world and with its progress our heart yearns for certain old and outdated stuff because of the sentimental value they hold. I used to wonder how old and outdated things could be precious or important. But now I truly understand the meaning of “Old is gold”……. And how progress can influence sentiments…..

Contributed By  Ms Naina Nair, Dubai, UAE. II completed my Post graduate education in Mumbai, India and am presently residing in Dubai, UAE. Writing has been my passion since childhood. I have been writing poems, articles and stories of which some have been published in newspapers and magazines.

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