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One day I was taking an after dinner stroll on the terrace of my house when I saw bright colorful sparks lighting up the distant sky. Fireworks! It was the festival season and some temple or other was having a display as part of the celebration. I debated whether to go down and get my camera. It was a good opportunity to hone one’s skills at capturing lights in the night sky. But the fact of the matter was that the distance was too great. Besides, the whole show was sure to get over by the time I rushed downstairs got the camera, and huffed and puffed my way back. So I chose to simply watch. That’s when the answer came to me to something that had been in my mind for a long time.

To know what that was, one needs to rewind to a time months back, and a conversation I had with the First Born. I don’t remember what exactly led to it, but he happened to mention how at a fireworks display he had last been to, there was a man behind him who was clicking pictures all the time the show was on. I doubt he saw even part of the entire show other than through his lens, he told me. What about enjoying the show?

Probably some of you are already nodding your heads in agreement. I have heard much the same opinion from a lot of others in my friends (and also the foes-) circle. They talk disdainfully of those who whip out their cameras at prominent tourist locations. How about enjoying what you have come to see instead of taking pictures, they ask in irritation. Excuse me if I break your bubble. But what if they have come to take pictures? What if taking pictures is what gives them joy?

When I thought about it, I could come up with more reasons as to why a person could have been clicking away instead of watching a fireworks display. I will enumerate them for you:

  1. They do NOT actually enjoy it and have been dragged there by someone, so think they might as well make the best of it by photographing the whole event.
  2. Their enjoyment lies in showing off to friends and relatives that they had been to a prestigious show.
  3. Their field of interest is photography which is the reason they are there, to see how best they can capture the display. Shucks, I didn’t get that right. I wonder when and where the next display is. I really gotta practice to get these night shots right. (That could well have been me!)
  4. They are on a job, sent there by the editor or someone like that explicitly for the express purpose of covering the event. You better not come back without the best pictures John/Jane!
  5. They promised someone back home (a sick child/spouse who could not make it perhaps) that they would cover the whole event and get them all the pictures so they wouldn’t feel as if they missed it.
  6. They got themselves a new camera and want to test it.
  7. They want everyone to know they have a new and expensive camera, what better way than to click a few (okay, a lot many) good pictures?
  8. (Add your own reason, if you have any)

So yes, you love watching something with your naked eye. Fine. Nay, that is indeed GREAT! But is that reason enough to want others to be like you, think, feel, and also want to do things just like you? Suppose one day you go to see the Great Wall of China. You are walking along the wall, marveling at the construction, enjoying the feel of the place, the view, when you notice someone standing next to you and clicking away. You turn  up your nose at them (and their actions) and come over all hoity-toity. Why? How difficult is it to understand or accept that some may (or DO) prefer taking pictures to enjoying the view or soaking in atmosphere. Just as there exist those who like both in different degrees. You see, we are all different, not clones of each other.

And now, these are some photographs I clicked from last Diwali from the celebrations in my neighborhood. And no, they have got nothing to do with the post other than the fact that the pictures seem to go with the topic. I have a long way to go in getting better shots of them (tricky) fireworks. But this seems a good start (hopefully)!

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And on that note, I kick off the New Year at Shail’s Nest 🙂

©Shail Mohan 2015