I don’t even remember the first time someone took my photograph. I was hardly one year old, and by looking at that photograph now, I am sure that I might have enjoyed the whole session, looking at my dad and smiling at him non-stop. But growing up, I didn’t have much inclination towards camera, and always felt a bit too embarrassed whenever someone took my photo. I couldn’t stand to have my photograph taken, and used to find some really ridiculous measures to avoid it, like crying loudly in public. Call it inferiority complex or lack of confidence, I don’t mind the way you may define my behaviour, but I always used to get literally frozen, the moment I see a camera in front of me, and have broken down to tears on many occasions, in order to avoid photographers, especially in parties and wedding functions. I still remember the day my mom’ sister got married. I think I was about five or six years old then. After a lot of vain efforts, the photographer approached my dad, to help him get a few pictures of mine. Perhaps, he felt that I may happily smile when my dad is around, but I proved him wrong, and cried non-stop for about an hour, and finally, my dad was literally forced to take me out of the venue for some time, in order to pacify me and make me come back to ‘sense’.
After a few years, there were a few more similar attempts from my family and friends, but I literally freaked out at them, growling & shouting my lungs out, because, I knew very well that I would get ‘paralysed’ seeing a camera in-front of me. I guess those were perhaps the last resolute attempts to click my pictures. I think even my dad gave up since then, and never forced me to be a part any photograph. I felt as if I got rid of a really huge problem that I had for such a long time, because, later on, no one even bothered to call me while clicking pictures, as they knew very well that the ‘worst’ would happen if someone tries to take my photographs. My happiness knew no bounds when I successfully got rid of all the possible chances of getting photographed.
After years of dealing with my ‘fear’, I’ve come a long way from the ‘struggling’ childhood days, and have started ‘loving’ cameras. But looking back, I think I can relate my ’fear’ to some of the random comments about my looks, that I used to hear since childhood. A little girl with curly hair, dark complexion, and full lips, I was often called the ‘Afro’ looking. Did that kill my spirits? Not sure! By now, when all my cousins have lots of pictures from the various stages of their life, very neatly arranged in their album, I hardly have a few, to get a recap of the bygone days. Other than the group photographs of school and college days, which I couldn’t avoid, our album will hardly have a very few photographs of mine, because they were all clicked without my notice. Strange, but true! All thanks to my ‘phobia’!