A ‘no-camera’ moment

An updated post from my archives:

In the future we will photograph everything and look at nothing,’ said the title of the article from the New Yorker, which one of my friends had shared on FB the other day. It went on to give some mind boggling figures: Humans have two billion smartphones, and, based on the ultra-conservative assumption that we each upload about two photos a day to various Internet platforms, that means we take about four billion photographs a day. 

Truly stupendous, isn’t it? When I read this, I remembered one of my posts in which I had said that some of the best moments of my life are etched in my mind, and not captured on camera.  I believe that such images are more beautiful and cherished, though they can’t be shared as the ones that are captured in photographs and on videos. Honestly, how many of us get the time to even browse through our photographs whether printed or digital?

The selfie craze and ‘sharing’ every moment of one’s life with the world at large is becoming something of an epidemic. There is a Nokia mobile phone that is touted as the ‘selfie phone’!

Of course capturing moments with our children and loved ones including friends and then sharing or looking at them years later has its own charm. Sometimes they are the only memories we have of those whom we would never meet, like grandparents who had left us before we could see them or even recollect them or when they see the photos and videos of grand and great-grandchildren whom they would never meet….

Let me come to my story.

For a long time we had a small camera, a simple point-and-shoot Canon Hotshot. We took many photos of the Brats when they were babies and then toddlers and kids. But somewhere along the way it went kaput and we never got another one for quite some time. As they grew up, things became pretty hectic with school, exams and work.

Then we went on a holiday. This trip is one of the most memorable since it stands out in the collective memory of the entire family.

I think the older one was around 12 and the younger about six. We decided to go to Jaipur. Back then we had no car and of course we still had no camera. It was the Christmas-New Year holiday week for the kids. The L&M had got a week’s leave for a family vacation, I took leave and off we went, armed with huge bags and suitcases full of warm clothing, it being the last week of December and bitingly cold in the north.

At Jaipur, we didn’t take any guided tour since it meant that we visited places as per their tour schedule and wouldn’t be able dawdle at sites we wanted to or pick and choose the places we wanted to visit. The kids were fond of forts so it was the Amer fort first and then the Jaigarh fort. We spent a whole day in these two forts, with the boys posing with the cannon and standing on the ramparts. We looked at them with pride and imprinted the sight in our heads and hearts in the absence of film.

Am I glad that it turned out that way! Because I still remember the joy on their faces on as they pretended to be soldiers and strutted around the grounds. And the elephant ride to the top of the Amer fort, with the little one giggling at the huge droppings of the mount ahead of ours, as the procession wended its way up to the top.

We had also planned to stop at Sariska for a couple of days while returning. It was here that we missed having a camera. Or did we?

Even in those days people went on holidays in their cars. We were perhaps the only guests at the Sariska Lodge who had come by public transport, having lugged out oversized bags to the lodge from the highway where the bus from Jaipur had dropped us off. And that had its consequences. The reception clerk asked us where we had parked our car and when we said we didn’t have one, made us cool our heels!

Finally we got a room, but only for a day because it was the year end and they were booked for the New Year, which was just a day away. We debated about going to another place nearby, but took it because we were raring to start on the safari right away.

Those were the days when tigers were really on the dangerously endangered list and were hardly to be sighted even in Corbett National Park.  Sariska was worse. But the guides know how to keep the interest of the tourists stoked to peak levels and keep them breathless with anticipation at a sighting ‘any time now’!

The first time we went to Sariska we fell lock, stock and barrel to their tricks. The jeep would be moving when suddenly it would stop and the guide would place his finger on his lips, while pointing out to the pugmarks on the ground. We would sit with our hair on end waiting for the beast to show itself for something like half an hour, pinching our noses not to sneeze, trying desperately not to cough….and then the jeep would move again, with the guide shaking his head ruefully. After a little distance, the vehicle would grind to a halt again with the guide whispering that the tiger was around somewhere near and point at the mangled flesh of some animal at a distance and the charade would continue.

But the next time we went there — this time with only the younger brat, since the older one was working by then — we had become the wiser and got to know how the guides did it. They made the pugmarks (if you see them, they will be perfectly made, as if by some mould) and have the carcasses placed strategically to dupe the travelers. So where were the tigers?

Isn't she beautiful?

Isn’t she beautiful?

But that’s not what this post is about.

Coming back to the first safari, we got to see other animals – neelgai, foxes, hyenas, deer – quite a few of them too. The first mentioned is a blue cow literally (neel (blue) + gai (cow)) At one place where we had stopped to look around, we felt eyes on us. Our searching eyes revealed a neelgai, its large soulful eyes looking at us from behind the bushes. It didn’t move and we stared at it in fascination. After twenty years and more, that neelgai still stands out in our memory. Ask anyone in the family about the first trip to Sariska and the neelgai would be the first to be mentioned, not even the hyena which had made my skin crawl and made me want to bolt.

If we had captured it in film we could have looked at the picture and reminisced about it and shared it on FB with our friends. That would have been awesome, right?

But look at it this way: today we can recall that neelgai anywhere, anytime and all we need to do is to close our eyes and hark back to that biting winter day in the forest to see those beautifully large, kind and limpid eyes of that neelgai.

There have been many holidays after that, when we went by our car (and didn’t have to cool our heels at the reception for the lack of it!) and took hundreds of pictures – of the kids, of the entire family, of the mountains and rivers and waterfalls – all memorable and dear to all of us. But they all pale by comparison to that single no-camera memory of the neelgai back in the woods of Sariska….

Do you have any such no-camera moment? How about sharing them?

Image courtesy: indiapost.com 

75 comments

  1. jaishvats · · Reply

    You are right…. The no camera moments are rooted in memory…. They are sort of videos rather than snapshots…..some pleasant and some haunting though!

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    1. You are so right Jayashree! They are more videos than snapshots 🙂

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  2. Today’s world has become more about capturing pictures and ensuring the world sees them.. whether we derive any joy or not 🙂 Yes, I still have lot of no-camera moments and also print camera moments.. I love looking at old photo albums much more than I enjoy digital. I realize the no-camera moment capture so much more than images…they capture scents,images,smiles, voices from the past and a whole lot of rich vivid experiences. Truly no camera can compare to our brain..

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    1. Oh I love the print camera moments too. This was when we had limited exposures and so each shot was cherished. Digital clicks are not the same. And true too that memory captures the scents, emotions and more. Click with the eyes and store in the permanent memory of the brain, right?

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  3. Enjoyed reading about your Jaipur-Sariska trip. Especially that bit about ‘cooling the heels’!

    We also never take the guided tours, mostly because it takes us at least double the time at each site! Yes, because of the camera! S likes to take lots of pictures of the places we visit, from different perspectives, angles, what not – and then of course also ‘look’ at things without the camera, to be sure! Thankfully, it is the place that captures his imagination, not the co-traveler 🙂 Which leaves me free to take in the sights in my own way, without the camera. Now with mobile camera, once in a while I am inspired to record some sights that really capture my interest. There is definitely something to be said about spontaneously and naturally experiencing the place, the sights, the sounds, the feel of the air without having this urge to document and record each and every bit of the experience. Like the neelgai experience you speak of. Documentation often adds an interpretive layer to the whole thing, I feel, taking away some of the holistic feel of the experience.

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    1. I didn’t mean to knock photography per se. Just wanted to highlight the need to take in the sights through our eyes instead of just through the viewfinder of a camera! I am sure a discerning photographer like Suhas would spend time actually looking at the sights too. And for people like us, no guided tour would do, would it? We can’t be hurried through places where we want to linger or made to dawdle in places where the company gains to make some commission 🙂

      As for documentation, there are times when it actually enhances the experience and someone like you would be the best person to do that kind of interpretation, Beloo. I have seen some of your temple tour photos and loved them — the pictures as well as the words.

      Yes, if you read the comments, you would find Vinni’s talking about it too. And he had been just 6 at that time!

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      1. “Discerning photographer” – I should tell him about this. He says, he takes so many photos so at least some would come out okay 🙂
        You are absolutely right, we can’t be hurried through places!
        I just went back and read Vinni’s comment. It captures perfectly what you are also saying in the post about memories of that family vacation.

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  4. My father always insisted on clicking a photograph of every single thing during our trips, including our hotel rooms and corridoors which annoyed me a great deal. Most of these photoes are stashed up in some remote folder in our PC we never look at. It was better when we had photo albums, when each photo had a special value.

    And is it true about the man made pugmarks? We were showed one too during a safari and we clicked pics of it, and also boasted a lot about how we narrowly missed the beast! :p

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    1. That is the problem with clicking too many pictures, especially if they are not captioned to remind us of the occasion — unless of course they were so memorable that they bring on a cascade of memories when we look at them. The advantage of photographs is that we can browse through them and get nostalgic, especially if a loved one is involved.

      Oh yes, the fake pugmarks are ‘real’ if you know what I mean 🙂 I have written about a quarter century and more ago, when tigers were hardly found in any tiger reserve and this perhaps was the only way they could lure tourists for the safari!

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  5. very interesting post, I love clicking photos when ever we go out, i click few phots but that’s true many beautiful memories stay in our heart and after many years when we remember those movements we feel so happy जैसे कल की बात है
    While reading this post I just remembered Many precious movements which I spent with my parents, and this movements we’re not capatured by camera.

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    1. I am so glad that you could visualise your parents and feel close to them while reading my post 🙂 It is good to capture some great scenery while traveling but to look at everything only through the lens of a camera is robbing us of the real experience.

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  6. All my moments are no camera moments – I am the only guy I know who can take a blurred picture with a digital camera 🙂 The one picture perfect still that stays in my mind is that miniature Christmas tree growing from out of rock, which I saw on a trek to Bandarpoonch; oops, I forget that cloud moving across a mountain, when the sun caught it and made it seem like a flame at the heart of the mountain; oh! The scudding clouds BELOW you that flew at the mountain you were standing on and became the mist in which you were shrouded; that emerald lake by the side of the Kanchenjunga Viewpoint 2 and those massive spears of ice that hung down the mountain…

    Trekking, in fact, gives you a lot of views that no camera can adequately capture. Try capturing a view of green valleys seen through the white lines of sleeting snow; or the view of a carpet of flowers through a drizzle; the sight of a green meadow getting carpeted by the pristine white of snow as you watch…I could go on and on.

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    1. Oh, you have so many no-camera moments that I envy you heartily 🙂 And they indeed are etched forever in your memory as can be seen from the vivid description you give of each one of them. I tried to picture the Christmas tree growing out of rock and was transported to the trail. Isn’t this what reading vs watching video is all about? Something that the reader can imagine and enjoy rather than have someone else’s image of the same? Of course, this is not to knock photographs because a good picture is worth a thousand words, as they say 🙂

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  7. i find it really funny when ppl pretend to have come to un-wind and all they do is click photos left right and center so they can show other ppl what they saw. the best images are the one’s your camera cant capture 🙂

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    1. But like Siddharth had pointed out in his comment, sometimes we need to click to share with our loved ones who are missing the trip. But otherwise, our brains store the memories better than any hard disk 🙂

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  8. Always wondered why a camera cant capture the beauty what an eye can see. Dad used to teach me how to use camera from a single digit age, never understood the concept of focus. If we can see it why cant i take a pic that looks so.

    As i grew up had few concepts how we can replicate the way we look into pictures. ( as you still see i dont have patent and not a millionaire so obviously it didnt work 🙂 ) But after working enough with lenses did realize I can make it look prettier in a diff way which eyes cant even imagine to see.

    Well i guess its after all, all abt perspective 😀

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    1. agreed about the different perspectives but when you miss seeing the glory of the moment for technical reasons, you miss it forever, don’t you?

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  9. I have written a few experiences about the cycling trip, not the whole account. You can read them here..

    http://sangeeta-homealone.blogspot.com/2011/09/for-those-who-want-to-know.html

    and here…http://sangeeta-homealone.blogspot.com/2011/09/himalayas-conspired.html

    Varsha of “Wholesome options” has posted an interview too…http://wholesomeoptions.blogspot.com/2011/11/wow-woman-sangeeta-khanna.html

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    1. I know. I had commented on it too! And I didn’t know that you had two blogs till now! I will read and comment. Thanks for the links 🙂

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      1. Thanks for your encouraging comment at wholesome option 🙂
        And i have four blogs 🙂 and many more interests 🙂
        Loved reading many of your posts yesterday..

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        1. Wow and double wow! I will have a look at all of them; I am already subscribed to your desividesi khana blog. 🙂 We need to have interests so that we may live independent and happy. I am glad you liked my posts. Do visit again…and again 😀

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  10. Wonderful post….
    Before i start i would say there are some people who click pictures just to share them on fb…posing like wannabes….but that is not the essence of this post 🙂

    There have been many precious moments which we didn’t capture on camera and they are imprinted like it happened last moment…. i so get lost in the lap of nature that i often forget to take pictures….on my recent cycling expedition i took just a few pictures and that too whenever i saw some flora or rock formation which was rare in our world….enjoying the moment is the main motto.

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    1. We really forget to enjoy the moment in our quest to capture it for posterity, little realising that looking at something in print or film is not the same thing as enjoying the scene. I don’t like pictures of me in front of monuments and sights either. Is it to just say that I was there? Would love to share your experiences of the cycling trip. Have you recorded them somewhere? Give me the link if you have, please?

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  11. That’s why we blog right? To preserve those no-camera moments?!

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    1. Right you are! Blogging about such moments is like reading a book vis-a-vis watching a movie. the reader is left to imagine the scene 😀

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  12. I had a similar discussion with a friend a few weeks ago. The sudden influx of low cost digital cameras and camera mobiles have made photography available to everyone.
    And many in their rush to capture the moment forget to live the moment. There is a difference. I consider myself a decent photographer, but sometimes you have to let go of the instinct to click. Stop looking at the world through a viewfinder and thinking in light, shutter speed and aperture opening. Sometimes, you just need to use your 5 senses to capture it.

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    1. This is the first comment from a photographer acknowledging that we tend to miss the moment in our quest to capture it for posterity. 🙂 God has indeed given us the best camera with digital memory to store images for our lifetime, hasn’t He?

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  13. I liked your insights about the forest guides. I can’t believe that I have been fooled by them so many times! I really feel stupid now.

    The only time I used the camera was when my kid broke it and I blogged about it :-). It was a good thing because the post got quiet a few FB shares! But the tragic twist in the tale was my wife upgraded to DSLR. So now I am keeping the camera in a safe place. I can’t afford another upgrade. We don’t even take it out to snap pics. 🙂

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    1. Don’t feel bad. They are so expert at it that anyone can be taken in. We too got the wiser only the second time around. What is the use of having a camera when you can’t use it? The best way is to keep the kiddo at a safe distance from it, if you ask me. Depending upon his age, you can use suitable excuses to stop him from touching it. Psst. kids can be easily fooled no matter how clever they are. The trick is to know their weakness and go for it. 🙂

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  14. I feel youngsters nowadays do not observe anything intently because it is easy to click it and then go over it in leisure….

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    1. Yeah. Isn’t it sad that we miss the original for an image of it? But that seems to be the trend.

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  15. I developed an interest in photography only 3-4 years back after I was gifted with a camera. So till then, I have had many no-camera moments. But one that comes to my mind now is my time in Bhuj in 1992 for field work as part of my M.Sc. Geology disseration. I did have a film camera but that was only for photographing rock formations and rock specimens. It didn’t occur to me then that I could photograph non-study stuff as well. 😀

    I have many vivid and stark memories from that trip: sunrises and sunsets, standing atop Kala Dongar and seeing the landscape around me, a small temple on the Bhuj Mandvi Road as the only signs of habitation I saw from atop a small hill, and the surprisingly comforting stillness. I was probably the only one was miles around and yet I did’nt feel scared or threatened. I still remember every non-geological (and geological) moment of the trip. Those not captured on camera and those captured on camera.

    This is an very interesting post and I like the comments and debate generated here. In my opinion and experience, no matter how many photographs I take, those that are imprinted in my mind are always stronger.

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    1. So cute of you to be so conscientious and only photograph the specimens 😀 I would love to be in such a place where you feel so one with nature. You never feel scared in such a setting. It is so comforting that it is as if you are part of a primeval whole. You know, I had not posted any picture of the ghat where I sat and watched the Ganga on our trip for this reason. There were none and I didn’t want to take any because it was too personal. The L&M too didn’t click me there, perhaps sensing my need to be alone with her. Thank you for liking the post. I knew people do have such moments, but honestly didn’t expect them to say so and share too, what with cameras ruling our lives today 🙂

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  16. So True!

    I went to Leh recently, and took a couple of photographs. Unfortunately, the magnificence of the mountains, the lakes, and the deep blue skies couldn’t be captured by my camera. It surely wasn’t my camera which messed up the pics, it was so “terribly” beautiful(if i may), that my memories are more beautiful than the pictures.

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    1. You went to Leh? Lucky you! That is one of the places I would love to visit some day, health permitting. Leave alone Leh, I have not even visited Kulu Manali. And yes, I can understand how it must have been to be dwarfed by the magnificence of nature especially the majestic snow-clad peaks and crystal clear waters which were ‘terribly’ beautiful 🙂 Such memories are truly overwhelming.

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  17. very true…. images captured in our minds and hearts are everlasting, and much better than that any camera can take…. while i do still keep clicking photos, of late, have been slowly growing more aware of how my perspective has changed thanks to the camera… i feel i see only angles and lights and frames now! which is why i have postponed the idea of buying a dslr! imagine, if this is the way i am with a simple digicam, what will happen if i have to think of which lens to use and what aperture!! and with a kid in tow too!!!

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    1. I never realised that a photographer has to take into account all these things. We just point and shoot and if we are lucky, get a good shot 😀 I can imagine what it will be like with a more advanced camera (psst…I don’t know what a dslr is!) But do take all those pics and post them so that those like me who can’t travel so much can enjoy the trips through your blogs 🙂

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      1. not just all that… my son says all i think about on a trip or while going anywhere, is – what to write on the blog!!! photos and articles seem to be taking over our life!!!

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        1. LOL the poor thing! But you do so many things with him that he must be just saying it good naturedly, and not as a complaint of ignoring him. He is such a sweet boy!

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  18. The Neelgai and how innocent it looked will be forever etched in our minds; and no way we could ever erase it. One of the reasons why the vacation is so close to our hearts is because of the situations surrounding it. I would have been only 6 when we went for this; but I remember a lot from that holiday! How we all snuggled up at night at sleep to fight the harsh cold. Remember the key chains which had the wooden insects inside and they wiggled their legs when you held them in your hands! How many of those we bought and we tripped on them for years!

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    1. It had been terribly cold hadn’t it? And the day we came back from Jaipur and the bus had broken down, we were roaming the fields and wondering why we couldn’t bear the cold — it turned out that it was -1 C that day in that area, remember? And I remember the wooden insects — how many people did you freak out with those 😀

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  19. We had a similar experience at the Jim Corbet National Park – my white jeans turned an ash gray, we look intently at tiger droppings and ooh and ahhed at the lone owl perched on a tree.

    And the mind’s camera is far more interesting that the digital contraptions we get – one can always colour it with our imagination.

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    1. LOL that happens when we don’t want to accept that we have been taken for a ride, literally. Why an owl, even a crow looks like some exotic bird 🙂 you have put it so nicely: we can colour the images with our imagination. Perfect!

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  20. Much though i have a camera now and would not in my life go for holidays without it, much of my exciting life was without camera. I probably have no single memories, multitude of vague images in my head of picnics, treks, hikes in the forests one which probably stands out is this one trip to sikkim when after trying to see the kanchenjunga for 2 days, we woke up the 3rd morning to see this magnificent view from the hotel window. I don’t need a photograph to remember that view.. it was just so awesome a sight.
    ps: sariska tales of how guides make you believe abound but I have to share that recently a friend of mine came back having seen a tiger there. Maybe you should visit again .

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    1. I somehow was convinced that we all have wonderful no-camera moments, which is what made me write this post. It must have been so wonderful to see the peak. I can imagine the excitement by well, just imagining 😀

      Maybe we should go again, but stories of no sighting are more than the lone sighting to inspire me 😦

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  21. I have been to sariska long back as a small kid and vividly remember spotting barasinghas, hyenas, neelgais, some birds and not spotting any tigers or lions 😛 Even we dint have any camera then, and anyways I would have been quite young to handle it.

    There have been so many moments when I dint have a camera and was quite happy about this fact too :)… I enjoy taking it all alone sometimes, without the gadgets and savoring those moments… those small little things around… that get imprinted in the eye of the mind, so true they are cherished as much…always.. I do love my no cam moments as much as i love my cam moments 🙂

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    1. I am so glad that you enjoy your camera moments as much as the no-camera ones, else where would we find the absolutely gorgeous shots of the Himalayas and the Ganga? But yes, some trips are meant to be enjoyed on a spiritual level, which means doing it in one’s heart and mind.

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  22. S.R.Ayyangar · · Reply

    Just last week I got a call from my class IX classmate (1963) that he has come to Bangalore to attend a marriage. I was delighted to go and meet this old pall after full 48 years, a nostalgic moment indeed. But, alas…I forgot to take my camera along to capture those happy moments to share!

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    1. These moments need to be captured in film! It must have been so disappointing for you to have left your camera behind and not able to capture such a priceless meeting. Recently the entire family had been together but we failed to get a single shot of all us together. That kind of rankles still.

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  23. Oh yes, all my childhood vacations were without camera. We just have a few pics of Kashmir, which were taken by a professional photographer. Most of the vacations are etched in our memories though I would have preferred to have some pictures with me to show to my husband and children. I am happy that I take a lot of photos now, as kids will remember a lot of things by the visuals when they grow up. Oh yes, I had the same experience at Corbett where the guide asked us to go slow etc. but wasn’t as dramatic as yours at Sariska and thank god for no fake paw marks :). I was also disappointed with the thorough lack of animals at Corbett as I had mentioned in my blog post.

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    1. I remember the professional photographers too. Why even family pictures and portraits had to be taken either in a studio or by a photogrpaher! in those days. Unlike today most middle-class families didn’t have cameras those days either. But sure, we do miss not having any photos to share from the trips and get-togethers. Travel blogging has brought a new dimension to the concept of memory sharing, hasn’t it? I myself enjoy the trips vicariously when I read the posts by these bloggers. I read about the paw marks in Anu’s post on Corbett and so mentioned our own experience. With children one needs to either keep refreshing their memories of a particular event or just give them visuals to jog their memories. Good thinking 🙂

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  24. My no cam moments are when I saw my children for the 1st time brought out of the operation theatre! Nothing tops that! The birth of new lives!

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    1. Another perfect no-camera moment! Nothing to equal that feeling of seeing your child for the first time with your own eyes and recording it for all times to come 🙂

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  25. I can so relate to you on this part because I cherish memories. As I say, memories are the only thing that stay with you. Although I like photography, there are times when you’re happy that there was no camera! A memory that’s ‘etched’ in my mind is when I saw thousands of fireflies light up the surroundings on one of my trips. The best part was, even though we did have a camera, the fireflies couldn’t be clicked because the lights were only enough for human eyes 🙂 🙂

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    1. That sure was one perfect no-camera moment! How wonderful it must have been to see the place light up with the fireflies! I am sure you must be talking about it and remembering that scene whenever you talk about the trip 🙂

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  26. Zeph I recently went to Kanha ( from Jabalpur) -haven’t got round to writing abt it .The Tiger was too busy to see us and I too did not relish the idea of bumping around on an open jeep inhaling red dust at 6 am in the morning -especially with the kids.So after too unsuccessful safaris we just took it easy and enjoyed the jungle- getting up and finding a herd of cheetal staring at you in distance – persuading the ranger to allow us to accompany him on one of his paidal forays in safe -non core areas and seeing a peacock dancing , a hornbill in full flight . I think the best non camera moments are the ones that stay imprinted photograph like in your mind’s eye.
    Thanks for this wonderful post.

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    1. Good for you that you didn’t go on a wild goose oops….tiger chase 🙂 I think that the tigers are either too few in number to be seen in such vast areas (they could be deep in the forest where no one can go) and the forest guides simply make us salivate in anticipation throwing all kinds of lures. You were wise to go on a foot safari even if you could only see some birds. Do the kids remember those? That;s what matters most.

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  27. AlkaGurha · · Reply

    One has to have a passion for photography and sadly both of us lack the same.
    We click pictures only when we are on a vacation…and with a grown up son who handles the camera we hardly click any pics.

    I have not been to Sariska. A wildlife trip definitely deserves a good camera though.

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    1. Oh yes, but that trip we simply didn’t have one, but strangely, though we have gone on other trips since, that one remains etched in our memories. Children these days have great photographic sense, don’t they?

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  28. Sorry ZM but I don’t agree with you on this one. I feel photography is just a way of sharing what you saw with everyone. Mind you not randomly clicked pics but pics where you put some thought in it and think of what you would like to capture and take away with you forever. Too many people today are spoilt by digital cameras that allow one to take about a million pics and then pick the 20 keepers! I on the other hand conciously avoid taking snaps haphazardly (unless its a action scene or the “in the moment” shot where one takes multiple pics to ensure that at least one of the shots would capture the moment perfectly).
    Particularly why I stress on the sharing bit – well we as a family used to go on an annual vacation for a fortnight to some state in India. Then, about 15 years ago my grandfather’s health deteriorated making travel difficult after which both my grandparents stopped travelling on the annual trip. Papa had a film camera then (limited to 36 shots) so he actually would carefully count down the snaps he was taking and painstakingly write down in a notepad what the subject of the picture was so that we could return home and then show it to my grandparents. It was just a way for them to feel that they were there as well even when they couldn’t go with us. Oh and Papa always ensures that at least one of us is always in a picture so that it can never be mistaken for a picture postcard and instead has a personal touch to it.

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    1. Hey Sidhdharth, I never said photography is bad or that no-camera is the best way to enjoy a vacation or anything else, for that matter. Just that it is equally memorable to not have a camera to record everything. I have mentioned that photos are a great way to share the memories, haven’t I? The difference is the feeling factor that makes sharing of pics so nice. I can so understand the elderly people’s joy to see their children and grandchildren having a good time and thus vicariously join the trip, which they otherwise can’t. And it is indeed thoughtful of your father to personalise it too. But surely you must have some no-camera moments too?

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      1. To be honest, I can’t remember any right now though I’m sure there would be many. 😉

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        1. I will wait 😀

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  29. Yup – appa had an old point and shoot camera, which would more often not-work than work 🙂 So many of our trips were photo and camera less. I think I was about 10 or so and anna about 13, when we first made our first trip to Delhi. Till then, most vacations were spent at uncle/aun’s houses in various parts of Tamil Nadu. So, we were (at least, I was) super excited.

    Although I was just 10, I vividly remember the trip including getting completely drenched in Raj Ghat, (don’t ask me how, that is material for a separate post 🙂 ), seeing & dipping in River Ganga for the first time, visiting Krisna janmasthan and many such more… Have made several trips to many places after that – with parents, with anna and with K – but nothing compares to this first trip and its excitement.

    Btw, I have never heard of Neelgai, will have to look it up. A blue cow – what a unique sight it must have been!

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    1. There is something to say about imprinting memories in one’s mind than on film. But this is not to knock photography in any way. It is a wonderful thing to capture and then share and reminisce about the shots. But like you have experienced, that one trip stands out for you, right? For us, if anyone just mentioned Sariska, we would all chorus, ‘Remember that Neelgai?’ It was that memorable. btw, neelagai’s are not exactly blue as in BLUE, but have a tinge of blue probably due to the hide and it is a wild cow. But the eyes are so enormous and soulful.

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  30. Nuttie Natters · · Reply

    At the risk of sounding ancient – i sometimes resent having a camera – You are looking at a gorgeous sunset and all kinds of “philosophical”/random/romantic thoughts are going through your head and someone says – pose pose !!! Several poses and camera settings later and that moment when u were one with nature is lost forever!

    Man i sound like some nut case – dont i?

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    1. Oh no, you don’t. You just said something that I have omitted in my post. Of losing that one particular moment in the hurry to capture it for posterity.

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  31. We are a camera obsessed family as in my dad used to be the one armed with a camer when we go to kerala and take photos. Then I took over and I also loved and still love taking pictures of people unlike the current craze of nature. I like to see expressions later.

    However there was this one trip I took to Managalore with office colleagues and it was the first time visit. Strangely everyone except me had forgotten to get a camera and this was not the time when all of us had camera phones. Mine was the old camera where a reel has to be put so just 36 snaps which got over pretty soon as Mangalore beaches are a treat and cant waste time taking pics so just enjoyed it. The best part about it is once we reached back we realized that the reel was spoilt so actually no pics at all from a great trip but then like you mentioned I still can remember each of the beaches as if saw it yesterday.

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    1. Oh, a no-camera trip that stayed with you? How wonderful! As I say, when we have no prints or recorded images to fall back on, we exercise our brains to remember the details. It is much like reading a book where we imagine the scenes and watching a film where everything is laid out before us.

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  32. Saru Singhal · · Reply

    Gadgets do help to preserve memories but feelings are always stored in heart. Those were good old days where memories were lived by discussing or telling it to friends. Now, a snapshot has taken its place.

    Your posts made me nostalgic. I think I will recall all the good times I had with my family which has no camera moments…:)

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    1. You have put it so well Saru. A photo has no value till there is some feeling attached to it. I am glad my post made you nostalgic for your family and the memories associated with it.

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  33. OMG you and L&M are my parents soul mates…I swear my parents hate photography to its core…I hardly have any photos of them unless taken in sly..and they give the same logic…its better to close your eyes and remember those moments than those frozen in time…I dont photograph myself too often as well…just consicous…but their logic and your logic so match 🙂

    you know during my wedding, they didnt want photography at all 🙂 but RD’s family insisted and then we agreed since my bro and mamas were also very enthu about it 🙂

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    1. It is not that we are totally against it. But I feel sometimes that we are not giving enough exercise to our brains and memory by imprinting them in our minds, clicking away. This time when we went to Rishikesh Haridwar, the L&M took the pics and he was so kanjoos, as if he were wasting film, when all he was doing was recording on digital camera 😀 There were so few pics from that trip! I hate getting photographed too, but the boys treat me like another kid and make me pose as they click. Sigh. What one has to do to please kids these days 🙂 But not wanting photographs in a wedding? I must meet your folks!

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  34. Quite agree . Moments cherished in the mind are better than moments cherished in camera .

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    1. Not to say that the ones on camera are any inferior. 🙂

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