Monday, April 04, 2016

C is for captured

"Mama, when will my baby teeth start falling out?" Xena asked me some time last year.

"When you are six or seven..."

"Yayyyyy! My teeth will fall out! I'm gonna get new teeth!"

Her excitement and enthusiasm amused and also disturbed me. I don't remember being that thrilled when my first tooth fell out. I was never a big fan of the whole tooth-shaking-and-falling-out process. I had bawled my eyes out, not when my first tooth fell out, but when I realised that the process would occur nineteen more times!

My dad, on the other hand, thought it was a momentous occasion and had a picture taken of me, displaying a wide grin, but with a front tooth missing. He loved the picture so much, he had it framed and hung on the most prominent wall of the house. I didn't mind it all that much initially. In fact, I was quite proud of the fact that such a giant picture of me was up on the wall. My sister would sometimes play this ridiculous game she'd invented called 'How high can I fling my slipper up?' and one day, she flung it up so high it hit my picture. The picture didn't fall, but I was enraged and cried for a full fifteen minutes. That's how possessive I was about that picture. 

However, as I grew older, I soon realised how hideous I found the picture. I don't know if it was the missing tooth, or the lop-sided fringe (I'm pretty sure it was the handiwork of my sister again!), but I could say with confidence that it was the worst picture of me ever. And I only have like 10 pictures of me as a kid. I hated it. I would ask dad to take it down, especially when we expected guests, and he'd refuse, saying he had captured a special moment of my childhood and the world needed to see it. Sheesh.

Years passed. All my baby teeth had fallen out and new ones had taken their place. The photo and the frame hadn't budged from the wall, even though they were showing rather extreme signs of aging. One fine day, dad realised that it really was quite dilapidated, and it was indeed time to take it down. And he did. I was sure that even if he hadn't, it would have fallen down by itself; its condition was that bad. Anyway, the photo went away and I breathed a sigh of relief. I moved to Singapore and sent him better pictures of me to hang on the wall. He did, but somehow, he never printed any of them that big.

When Xena and I started discussing the fall of her first tooth, the first thought that struck me was that of my photograph. For some strange reason, I longed to see it. Was there a chance that it was somewhere? If not, was there a chance the negative had somehow survived my dad's multiple transfers? Was there a chance I could print it and show it to Xena, and perhaps even do a collage with her photo when her first tooth fell out? 

I didn't dare to ask dad because he'd have said, "Oh, now you like it? Now you want it??" So I casually asked my mom when I was there last year, "So what happened to that photo of me with my first broken tooth?"

"We took it down, remember? You insisted we take it down. I'm not sure where it is anymore."

"Erm, yeah. You wouldn't happen to have the negative, would you?"

"The negative??"

"Yeah... you know, for printing it again..."

"Why? I thought you hated it?"

"Erm, yeah. I'd like to show it to Xena..."

"Hmm... we definitely don't have the negative."

Oh, well.

So I gave up the hunt.

However, I was in for a surprise. Last week, my cousin sent me a message on behalf of my mom. There was no message actually, it was just a photo of a photo.

A photo of the photo.

So there it was, staring at me, that hideous photo of me with one tooth missing. I still hate it, I do. But I also cherish it. Dad had indeed captured a special moment of my childhood.

I had no intention of posting the picture, but I know that if I didn't, some of you would have been after my life, "Photo, or it didn't happen."

So here it is, that hideous photo of me, concealed behind the most extreme filter I could find, which just about gives you an idea of what it is, hopefully without giving you enough material to point and laugh. Hmmmph!




5 comments:

Bubblegum.... said...

Hairstyle!!!!! OMG I want an elder sister :'( :'(

PS: Yes,unlike other kids I never asked for younger sibling once my brother was a year old and started kicking me. I always questioned my parents why the hell they cant give me an elder sister/brother?

Prathima said...

This is priceless, Sayesha :-D
I don't know which one is better, your missing tooth or your hairstyle. Cute!

Art said...

Thats awesome..
Sad part... i have a quarter tooth broken, after my permanent tooth, so its like a cave opening.. and I blame my cousin brother for it.. :)

I used to hate it.. But now I have got used to it. and its part of my identity now..

As a kid, everytime any tooth started shaking.. I would help it more by shaking it inside, only to get scolded by mom...

All the best to Xena for her first tooth fall, whenever it happens :)

Arun said...

Cute photo!

Sayesha said...

Bubblegum,
LOL! What did they reply?? :D

Prathima,
Thanks! :P

Art,
Thank you! She's really looking forward to it, but I'm a little scared. :/

Arun,
Thank you. :D