17 Mar 2016 20:41 IST

How do you hold on to a moment?

Sometimes, you realise it’s you who’s the captive, not the moment you’re capturing

Technology and the Internet have made instant photographers of us all. First, there was my point-and-shoot camera, which I’d keep handy in my pocket and whip out whenever I saw something I wanted to record — a bright sunset, a lorry with a curious phrase or quote, some monument or building that I saw on a trip somewhere. Then came the mobile phone with a camera, and next the smartphone with a better camera. Then comes the juggling between the two – or three. (The third is a DSLR, in case you’re wondering. The grander the vista, the more sophisticated the camera, you see.)

How do you hold on to a moment and never let it go? The camera is a solution. But there comes a stage when you realise it’s you that’s the captive, not the moment you’re capturing. It’s when you reach for your camera or your phone with a sigh and realise this is yet another important moment you cannot go without recording. It’s when you tell your inner voice to shut up and continue to click away. It’s when you feel the camera interferes with your bag, your clothes, your hat. It’s when you get irritated that your stroll down the street has to be interrupted frequently by the compulsion to photograph everything there. It’s when your head begins to ache. It’s when you take stock later that night, or several days later, and realise you haven't the foggiest recollection of why you decided to photograph that subject. It begins to bother you that you only saw it through the tiny screen of the camera, not with your own eyes.

It gets worse when you struggle to remember what you saw. And when you see other people’s photographs of the same scene and wonder how you could have missed seeing for yourself the details in their photograph.

It could be that life is short, the interesting moments many, and gadgets a way to preserve them all. But there’s also a liberating relief in letting the world go by without flashing your camera at it so often. I’m trying to get there. Are you?

Note: The picture is one of the many everyday moments the writer tried to capture in her life’s journey. She is now on Instagram as sra.srav and is looking for her 81st follower.