Diaries & Cameras

“At last, I have got it,” thought the hunter. But it had already fled the carcass, leaving nothing but the skeleton of words held together within the skin of an image.

Remember the secret diary you had as a child? The one you hid in different places every month? Mine was covered in brown leather and had arrived as a New Year’s gift from Japanese business associates of my grandfather. Every other page had illustrations, along with what seemed to be improving quotations; but as they were in Japanese letters, it can’t be said I benefited from them.


The illustrations though, took me into a whole new imaginary world. I took to inventing stories about each picture, stopping only when the diary filled up with my scrawls.  Of course when the next one came, I had to brighten its ruled pages with my own sketches.


To me, it seems only natural that visuals and stories should inspire each other. We are all hunters, obsessed with capturing moments or emotions or things. A beautiful leaf must be photographed before the morning dew fades from it. The laughter of a child must be recorded in the right words, before it transforms. Most of the time, the substance eludes us, leaving words and images behind.


But once, just once maybe, there will be a sentence and a picture that will encapsulate it all. Till then.


~ Vatsala

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