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Saturday, 30 January 2010

Picture Portrait

I have this huge picture of my spiritual Master, Maharaji Charan Singh, nailed up on the wall, in the foyer. It is very old picture of Maharaji in white kurta and white turban with the backdrop of blue and it has been there as far as I can remember. The picture has different expressions at different hours of the day and they change according to my moods. On the days when I am happy, I see the smile and on the days when I am angry, I see the grin. My friends, who don’t know him, ask me if this is the picture of my father and I always say ‘Yes’ cause he is the only father that I have known, having lost my biological father at the age of three. This picture gives me inner strength.

Maharaji was very photogenic and I think he used to love to pose. Whenever I had visited my paternal aunt (who was a very close friend of Maharaji), I used to see the beautiful poses in her house of her trips with Maharaji. There would be picture of his trips abroad; there would be party pictures and many more in my aunt’s personal album. There was one picture that I had liked which was actually a painting. It was a huge painting of Maharaji sitting on an easy chair,outdoors, cross legged, in churidhar-kurta and a shawl, looking out into the fields, his gaze fixed at hundreds of sevadhars doing manual labor of lifting/sifting sand, transporting it on their heads. I used to love that painting and I would always stop for one moment longer, whenever I passed by that painting.

My aunt is no more and so have Maharaji Charan Singh too, but what happened to those pictures and that painting, I have never asked.

But I am thinking what happens to those pictures when the person is not there no more? How long do the people preserve the photographs before they decide that they don’t need it anymore? And how do they dispose it?

With the digital camera, now we click too many pictures and then dispose off those which we don’t care, but in the days gone by, each picture had a story to tell. Whenever we visited our family, and if ran out of conversation, family albums were taken out to discuss the pictorial stories. Portrait pictures were clicked in the photo studio and blown up to life-size to decorate the foyers and the bedrooms and the halls.

I, for one, don’t buy pictures nor calendars of Gods or of any spiritual Masters because I worry about the storage. I would not like to insult the photograph and throw them away in the garbage when I don’t need them anymore. Why must we buy so many pictures and put them up in every room? We just need one picture to remember and admire the person. Some people like to keep it in their wallet, visible only to themselves, and to admire it secretly. But having too many pictures, all over the house, is quite scary to the non-believer.

When I inherited my family house, first thing that I did was to bring down all those life-size pictures that ruled every wall of my house. I have packed them up and stuffed them into the drawers, out of sight. There are too many albums sitting in the cupboard and I really do not know what to do about them. The photograph which don’t have me, don’t interest me and I am sure that even if they become antique, they will still not get me any copyrights.

Only this picture of Maharaji, which I had loved it even then, is still hanging up in my house, but that’s because it speaks to me.

I don’t store nor develop any more memories, I would never want the abuse of my pictures, even after I am here in this world, no more……..and I am certain that nobody else would want it too….

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