family photos

Memories in Black and White

Radha Nair


Radha schooled in the Convent of Jesus and Mary (Delhi) and St. Joseph's Convent (Bombay), and graduated from Lady Shri Ram College (Delhi). She taught English at Women's Polytechnic (Madras and Coimbatore) for six years. Since 2007, she has been a freelance writer for the Hindustan Times (Mumbai), the Deccan Herald (Bangalore), and for the online editions of Outlook Traveller, India Traveller Travelogue, and Mathrabhumi (Calicut). She won the first prize in a short story competition conducted by the Deccan Herald in 2007. She has written many short stories based on her memories of family holidays in Calicut\; one of these was published in Penguin First Proof, 2010.

In the 1950s, when I was a Standard 10 student, in my all-girls class there was only one girl who owned a Box Camera. So when she brought it along for school picnics, she was the centre of great adulation. Everyone wanted to get as close to her as possible, just to see how this magic box worked.

We hung round while Tina Vakil gently eased out her Kodak Box Camera from its leather case. We watched her in focused silence, as she slowly made precise adjustments with the camera. Then she chose a scenic spot and got us all to stand together, as tightly as possible, while she framed us on the viewfinder before she took snaps of us at Borivili National Park.

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