Thursday, February 19, 2009

Picture Perfect

When we bought a new laptop a few months ago, I decided to search for a perfect background image. I wasn’t going to settle for another African Savannah in the twilight again! This background had to be something which would be pleasant, meaningful and memorable. It had to be that perfect picture which would cheer me up as I opened my computer to type up another academic essay, weary-eyed. Searching for that photograph was like a fanciful game I liked to play—something which kept me engaged when the weather turned too hostile.

I was already bored with those dreamy award-winning snaps of sparkling beaches, tumultuous waves and calm backwaters of distant rivers. They had been used too often. I tried to experiment with funny comic strips, trying to make them all fit in together….I was picky with the Japanese Anime’ images which could suit as a background. The result was a distorted puzzle of a desktop which resembled a virtual version of a newspaper with some bothersome icons floating about like they never belonged there. My computer was the pathetic shade of bright orange and yellow of the Savannah again as I considered coming up with something better. Why not a family tree? I thought, and instantly tried to collect photographs of every relative I knew. It was a time-consuming and challenging process, gathering photographs. Trying to tailor them together into that organized family tree proved impossible as grinning uncles disappeared under the heads of my younger cousins and the aunts were buried below half-smiling friends. It was a complete mess of a collage, and my desktop became a painful chaos of smiling faces. I painted them beige in the hope that they would look more diginified and uniform, but it seemed like the collage could not be mended. True, I did play with some nice photographs, but they lost their meaning when the computer stretched them too much. The Savannah had won again, and I thought my computer would stay sickly orange forever.

The collage had discouraged me from designing a family portrait. Why bother? I thought, Just get used to the Savannah. I remembered how there were plenty of albums back home which affectionately treasured the most precious of memories…they would have made wonderful backgrounds. But they still required to be digitalized, and I was sure no one would waste their time on such things. One day, someone decided answered my prayers. I was considerably surprised when a cousin offered a digitalized version of an old 1994 family portrait out of the blue…and I knew my search had ended. There we were—the family, all together frozen in time…our smiles intact, and so very genuine! I don’t know why the photo looked perfect to me—but it seemed ideal. It was just the thing I wanted….that rare picture I had been craving for. I was delighted. Since that day, this family portrait has remained my desktop background, and I loose myself in it every single time I switch on the computer....and fond smile answers the question when someone questions inquisitively, "Is that your family up there?"

(PS: You can click to enlarge. And can you guess where I am?? :-) )


Karthik Raghavan said...


Nice pic :) not too hard to guess who might've been you, given the fact that you told the year of the photo..

So looking for interesting pics? Check out M C Escher. I've spent HOURS exploring him. I'm not too artistically inclined, but his paintings give me goosebumps. There's a thrill of pleasure letting your eyes run through and discovering his patterns. He's a very "intelligent" painter. Check these out:

I also wrote a post about his paintings, and put some really good ones. Do check them out - especially Metamorphosis and Waterfall. You're into books right? Have you read Godel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid? Its by Douglas Hofstadter. I came across Escher through this book only. Wrote about these here -
You might be interested :)

Shakunthala said...


U r de one in white dress!..:P..

am i rite?..;)



You must be one of the two sweet little girls in the picture. I too usually have a picture of a little girl on my desktop - my granddaughter Arundati! I keep updating it frequently, though.

Lakshmi Bharadwaj said...

Karthik: Thanks for all those wonderful links...I shall go through them when i have time! Sure, i'll check out your blogs too, and tell u how i found them!! Have been reading some actually...quite interesting!
Shakuntala: Gosh, girl, you are always so clever with these things!! Let's just leave it to that...and let others guess! ;)
Raji: Aww....arundati!! I've heard you talk about her on your blogs...and seems to be a very sweet kid, seriosuly...I esp remember the ramayana serials that she loved so had mentioned on your blogs once...i remember...wishing all the very best for lil arundati then!! :-) May she grow up to become just like her grandma!! ;-)

praneshachar said...

great background choosen every time you switch on laptop you get memories rally back. yes you are one in white ( hope I am right) obviously you are one of the two other must be your cousin your chikkammas daughter arjun was nor born then right
give details of each one for our info have a great day

Lakshmi Bharadwaj said...

Mr. Pranesh:Yes, u are right, that's me in white! :-) Arjun wasen't born then...the rest of the ppl include my dodamma, dodappa, ajji and thata...sure, will write more abt them when i find sure u will be interested to read! Thanks for the comment! :-) Hope Kshitija;s doing well!! ALl the best wishes!

praneshachar said...

thatha ajji shashtabdi photona adu 60th birthday that is my guess
kshitija is off to honeymoon with sharath to maurtius they are fine

Lakshmi Bharadwaj said...

Mr. Pranesh: Wow, perfect, right on the money!! Howdu, idu thatha ajji shashtabdi did you guess??:-) Wow...great at guesswork eh? Well, nice to knw they are doing well...wishing them a very happy time in mauritius! :D

Anil P said...

A family pic is a perfect choice no doubt. Have you tried a black and white version of the pic you've put up on the blog?

Maddy said...

how an old pic can bring back such wonderful thoughts...I guess that is how artists make a trade and camera companies make a business..Just yesterday my wife was telling me - nothing to beat a print in an album. You have all those digital photos in some directory. do u ever look at it?

Lakshmi Bharadwaj said...

Anil: You know, that's an interesting thing to do...I could try and paint it black and would give it what i call the "classic" look, wouldn;t it?
Maddy: Your wife is a smart woman! I totally agree with her! I never even try to look at digital photos anymore...not even the ones i took! An album is always better-at least, that's what i feel.