One winter night in 2005, I went out with Lala. The path back to our place stretched and we ended up where our empty stomachs lead to. It was a restaurant. The moment we finished the meal, he got a call from someone who sent him a few documents that needed to be seen right away. Pre-hyper connected world had its limitations. One element that existed to eliminate those limitations were the internet cafes, one of which was right around the block. It was in that basement internet cafe on a cloudy winter night when I came across Flickr for the first time. The idea was dope for younger hearts. Both of us signed up and uploaded pictures in the coming days. As the internet was quite an effort to access, those uploads declined in quantity in the coming days and soon we hit the limit of 200 pictures. Another dilemma that exists even today is the unfriendly country and its policies that don’t let people grow. Payment gateways did exist but they required business accounts that were not for young students like us. 

Yahoo bought the service and destroyed it. It was plain rigidity of the management to nurture the service. Then came the iPhone and Instagram. They “filtered out” the feelings that existed before their arrival. Once we forgot to log out of those accounts while using public machines. About two hundred of those treasure photographs were lost. The lesson was learned. With newer towns, I too was a settler that moved to Twitter followed by Facebook and then Instagram. Love is a haunting boy, as I was told. And yes, it is. It pulled me back in 2010. It was a deserted town then and in contrast to Instagram, it still is. The happiness of Flickr however cannot be replicated. There is no hashtag war, no clout chasing, and no “influenzas”. Only if I could still recover those 179 photographs from the lost account, the story would be complete. There is always a puzzle piece that stays missing. 

A picture is a thousand words, as they say. Since 2010, the book of pictures is in the making. What are our lives, but moments, some more cherished than others. It is these moments that define us. Have you lived a moment that you have always wanted to live again but no photographic or video record of it exists for you to look back at it? Smartphones all around with such capable time-freezing gadgetry but only those would realize the blessing who have missing puzzle pieces that itch as long as the mind is capable to remind us of it. 

Nonetheless, the spirit to capture time in fragments that don’t change with us still exists. Every time I upload a picture to Flickr, I find myself sitting in that basement cafe with a filled stomach, enjoying the warmth indoors while keeping the uncomfortable winter breeze outside. And Lala is sitting in the next seat, reading those documents emailed to him. Sadly, the joy is short-lasting as upload speeds have increased. Yet for that short time, I feel frozen in time, unchanged.

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