Thursday, June 21, 2007

Cameras are uncomplicated, eh? Have you tried handling your computer? Huh? HUH?!?!?

This is exactly why I hate technology. I go off on a wonderful holiday with a new camera (a professional Canon DS21251, might I add), wanting to finally educate myself about photography a little. But along comes my mesmerized father who wants to push every single shiny button on the camera - not that I blame him for that, I did all the fiddling I had to on the train to Delhi and then accused him of slowing down the shutter speed to five seconds. And then, he insisted on photographing every single cottage on every single mountain road, leaving me to kick random pebbles and start a minor landslide. I hate it when elders behave like children. All the sanctity goes out of childhood.

If I had a normal, boring, black camera, I’d click a picture, maybe click again for safety, then resign myself to fate until the film developed. If the picture came out bad, I’d say “Oh, well” and face the world with a smile. But with a digital camera you can take the perfect picture, so you have to – it’s like a compulsive action to click, check the photo, delete it, aim two inches to the left, click, check, delete, aim two inches to the right, click, check, delete, and so on till you realise you missed watching the sunset you set out to drink in, all because of a metal box with fancy knobs.

I did take my share of pictures, though. I’d realized long ago that you have to lose every degree of your self-respect and sanity if you’re behind a camera lens, but this trip made me reconsider every bit of the intelligence I thought I possessed. I chased butterflies till they alighted on a leaf and clicked for all I was worth – and realized the camera was still in black-and-white mode. But then I went up to the prettiest Himachali girls I’d ever seen in my life and asked if I could take a picture of them. I got away with it, getting only an uncertain smile. Had a boy my age tried it, he’d have been assailed by shrieks and a heavy branch in his face. I made little kids roll about on a meadow. I photographed white flowers and yellow flowers and orange flowers, and felt like I’d revolutionized the world. I lost my footing, fell into piles of dried horsedung, and still felt powerful. I could Click. I could Capture. I was invincible. I suppose technology does have its merits. Sometimes.

Back to the present. I get back home, and plan a nice blog entry about the holiday. I try to upload the pictures onto the computer (including the mathematically calculated sunsets) and discover that the USB thing is faulty – so faulty that it makes my computer restart and shut down seven times in a row without me touching a single key. I whimper at the strange sounds my computer’s making, then try again. This time, my computer shuts down and stays that way for two days.

Sometimes, technology is a pain in the wrong place. I miss my old camera, and I miss my old non-blogging days. At least I didn’t feel this overwhelming desire to share the darn sunsets with the entire universe.

I think I shall revert to painting.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Adrift Already.

Yesterday was nothing special, another day drifting into anonymity. Woke up early with a most nasty bellyache, went off to give the SAT Subject Tests, successfully threw up before the test in a bathroom that redefined bathrooms, got distracted by the invigilator’s shade of lipstick, groaned through world history and literature – partly out of my own ineptness, and partly because of my tummy, which was by then doing weird flipflops – and then felt sorry for myself the rest of the day.

Today I am off for a holiday, heading for the hills. I have a new camera *crazy celebration dance* so my next post WILL have pictures of dense undergrowth and mountains. I have chucked my cell phone into the bottom-most drawer of my table, and packed my clothes into the one side of the suitcase that I was designated. Two pairs of jeans and a hoard of sweatshirts don’t take up much space; I wanted to carry my own knapsack, but mothers are sometimes the most wonderful and sometimes the most unreasonable creatures on the planet.

I’m trying very unsuccessfully to complete a lot of things at the last moment. Multitasking always hated me. To take a break, I’m doing the most sensible thing I’ve done this crazy morning – typing out the last blog entry in a week or so. I’ve been tagged by New Age Scheherazade, and I shall have to type out the last paragraph of Page 123 of the book I’m reading currently, which happens to be Adrift On The Nile by Naguib Mahfouz. The only other Mahfouz I’ve read, Palace Walk, shares a love-hate relationship with me. I read it in bursts and starts, abandon it for three months, then pick up where I left off and read again. The last time I checked I had a hundred pages left. I’ve always disliked translations, but this Mahfouz is different. It’s giving me thrills already. Anyway, Page 123:

“He paused for a moment before saying: “No.” His hesitation made a deep impression on everyone. Why don’t I put the brazier out on the balcony and have my own fire festival? Its blaze is immortal, unlike that of false stars. But women are like the dust, known not only for their rich scent but by the way they seep and settle into you. Cleopatra, for all her amours, never divulged the secret of her heart. The love of a woman is like political theatre: there is no doubt about the loftiness of its goal, but you wonder about the integrity of it. No one benefits from this houseboat like the rats and cockroaches and the geckos. And nothing bursts in unannounced through the door like grief. And yesterday the dawn said to me when it broke that really it had no name.”

I also have to tag five others. I tag Annesha because of her single-minded insistence at stuffing this wonderful book down my throat if I didn’t read it, I tag Brinda at irrelevantbanter, and Flamebird. Also Mrinalini of the Demented Thoughts. That makes four. I can’t think of anyone else, so we’ll just assume I’m mathematically challenged, which is true anyway.

One amazing quote which integrates the two things I love doing most – “The world is like a book, and he who has never traveled has only read a page.” No, “he” wasn’t one of the two things. I shall act offended, and storm off the page now.