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  • Writer's pictureAcyut Saraf

Click Connection!

“Hey, how are you? Let’s click a selfie and post on my social media page.” We all are so used to this fast-paced digital and instant life. For us, clicking a picture and uploading is a daily affair. Our cameras are digital and always in our pockets. We go click, click-click and simply delete what we don’t like.

Our parents often share their experiences and how things were during their times. Both my parents are fond of photography. They often mention buying film rolls and getting the pictures developed once a roll is over. They would think about what to click and patiently wait for the print to see if they were able to capture a good one.

I happened to see a single-lens reflex camera in my mother’s cupboard. There was a letter along with it. With my mother’s permission, I read it and was surprised to see that it was from a professor in South Africa. I had never heard about my mom having an acquaintance from there. There was an interesting story behind it which I decided to pen down for everyone.

My mother had gone to England to attend her graduation ceremony accompanied by her younger brother. They travelled to tourist places and clicked many pictures from the manual camera. Finally, on the graduation day, my uncle clicked several pictures of my mother in the graduation attire on the University campus.

After a memorable journey, they were happily returning home. My mother was eager to get the pictures developed and share them with family and friends. At the entrance of the airport, no trolley was in sight and the airport was packed with people. Heathrow airport is definitely the busiest airport in the world but this sight was strange. After standing for half an hour in the non-moving queue, they were shocked to hear that the crew of the airline went on strike. Suddenly, there was chaos. After running from one counter to another they finally understood that they needed to rebook themselves on another available flight of any other airline as the strike seemed indefinite. Finally, they managed to get the flight for the next day from Gatwick airport. Hundreds of people slept at the airport and most of them remained hungry as the airport was not prepared for such a catastrophe and hence, they didn’t have enough food.

The next morning the excitement of going home overtook the hunger and sleep. My mother and uncle took their luggage on a trolley which they grabbed by chance and went to take the interconnecting train to Gatwick airport. My uncle, who was just 15 years old, hung the camera on the hook of the trolley for convenience. They quickly boarded with their luggage as the train arrived. After the gates shut, my mother was counting all her bags and she remembered about her camera. They had forgotten to collect it from the trolley which they could see from the train but couldn’t do anything about it.

With a heavy heart and almost in tears, they headed to the boarding gate. My mother had lost all the pictures of her graduation. After returning, they contacted airport authorities to see if they have it in the lost and found department, but no such luck. They had no choice but to forget and move on.

After more than 6 months, my mother received an email from her university international officer. She wanted to know if my mother had lost her camera when she had gone to attend her graduation. This came as a shock to her. She immediately wrote back hoping to hear some good news. The officer called the next day. All the pieces of the puzzle fell into place. The University international officer had received a call from a professor asking for an Indian female student who graduated six months back and he even mailed her picture to them. The officer checked the records and finally found out my mother was one of the graduates of that year.

The camera had a note from the professor explaining how he spotted the camera on the trolley and took it with him. As he was busy, he couldn’t get the roll printed for many months.

The camera was now in South Africa. We were excited at the thought of finally getting back the camera, but were also worried about its safety. However, Lady Fortune favoured us this time. They found a connection with a doctor who was going to come to Mumbai to travel to Nepal for social work. She was kind enough to get the camera to my mother.

Finally, the camera reached my mother along with the memorable pictures. My parents are now using the latest single-lens digital camera but my mother has kept the camera which reminds her of the virtue in people and that anything is possible in life.

I am sure this story will leave you with two thoughts- we never know what life has planned for us and good things do happen.

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