I remember waking up from the flash of the first Kodak point and shoot my father had brought home one night, I must have that photograph somewhere: my mother, almost asleep, almost awake looking at my father almost with annoyance after which the camera was mostly used to take family photographs, just sometimes, when I was four or five, I would take that Kodak and put it right above a flower, sometimes inside it if it was long and wide enough, and click.
I still have the Sony videocamera my parents gave to me on my 18th birthday. My father suggested that I use it to take still shots of my grandmother who was then dying of leukaemia but I didn’t although I still have that last photograph of her somewhere looking into the webcam of my laptop which I used to remember whenever I would dial her phone number after her death: 5122621.
The Canon Powershot I used until last year was bought in Delhi in 2011, a few weeks after I stopped dating a photographer who I’d started dating after breaking up with my first boyfriend, who introduced me to Tarkovsky and Bertolucci and who also taught me how to use torrent, albeit with reluctance because he told me that I wouldn’t need him anymore.
I stood on a strange road in Bombay with my mother and gave Rs.5000 to a man who was selling me his father-in-law’s FED 2, not because he needed the money but because he didn’t need that camera, and thought of my father who wanted to be a photographer but could never buy a camera for lack of money, perhaps, or maybe because nobody sold cameras in the village he grew up in.
I bought the Canon 60D earlier this year in Calcutta and remembered all the men who have loved me and all the men who could have, as I walked on the streets of Prague alone, looking for the Franz Kafka museum thinking about Pinkhassov, Calvino and Nirmal Verma and all the photographs I could have taken, all the people I could have become.
Tomorrow, or the day after, I will go look for the old man who will perhaps sell me his old German Agfa Clack.