Back when digital cameras were rare, my dad was fond of taking photos of some of my life’s milestones. I used to have fun playing with the negatives he kept in the cabinet in their bedroom. Raising them against the light, I try to match the negatives with the developed photos. We collected these photos throughout the years, and put them into photo albums. At the moment, they’re sitting beneath our coffee table in our living room. Any curious mind can get one and peek through the memories inside.
It’s funny, how times have changed since then.
With the rise of technology, there’s no need for us to go to developing shops to get our photos. Anyone with a smartphone equipped with a camera can just point and shoot whenever they want.
Dust have been collecting on top of the albums for some time now.
I wonder, in 10 years time, will the people in those photos remember the memories within?
In the story of Kambal, there was a line there that have made me ponder.
To quote the story,
‘Uwing pinag-uusapan nila kami, kamangha-mangha ang kuwento. Kakaiba ang aming itsura.’
‘Noong una kasi kaming nagpakita sa kanunuan ng mga taong hindi nakakaalam sa aming pinagmulan at sa mga hindi nakakaalala sa magkalingkis naming pinanggalingan, kinailangan namin silang maghain.‘
‘Everytime they talk about us , our stories are always dazzling. Our looks are unworldly.’
‘The first time we showed ourselves to your ancestors, to those who doesn’t know about our beginnings and our linked origins, we have to amaze them.’
She was talking about the supernatural beings that roam in that parallel dimension, who just looks like us and who live just like us, contrary to what we have always heard from our bedtime stories. They were talking about supernatural beings, of creatures who have lived long ago, who have power to rise mountains and tame seas. Creatures who live in majestic palaces, every nook and corner decorated with intricate furniture, which spoke of their status and power.
People can easily forget the simple things. That’s why authors wrap up everything they have learned and what they believe in in words, in stories that won’t be forgotten. These are the things that will still remain, even if their creators are long gone. Every story written is like a Pandora’s Box. Some of them will tell of the tragedies that have happened, but beneath the prose, there lies the author’s hope. That someone will keep on reading their stories in the future, and they would learn from it.
In The Music of Pestle-on-Mortar, the author talked about how stories can resound through our society, into the hearts of people, given that the author is in touch with their culture that they are from. It is crucial that our stories are built on our origins. This is what hooks people into the narrative, what makes them continue from start to finish.
Mythologies last. That’s why we incorporate supernatural beings into our stories. That’s why we create fantasies out of the top of our heads.
These beings are practically the embodiment of our bloody history, our way of living. That’s why the twin said that we are intertwined, right from the beginning.
Even when Amina grew up, even if she doesn’t see her twin like she had before, she can still feel her presence in places that people usually overlook. Even if her hometown is in the process of urbanization, her twin’s presence stays strong. The past still lingers. One cannot erase traditions and culture that easily.
Even if buildings start looming above us, even if people are exposed to different philosophies more so than before, their culture is forever etched into their identity. This is what colonizers can never truly conquer. This is why heroes rise from the depths of hardships, why they choose to fight those who hurt their Motherland. It flows through our veins, and it shall remain until our last days.
There’s a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words.
If so, then those photo albums must be worth a novel.
Within those pages lies a story, one that can be found everyday, if one wishes to find it. It’s nothing extraordinary, but it is special all the same. People in those photos might not remember, but it is a part of their timeline. It is these simple things that build us up into the person that we are now. These are our humble beginnings. To some, it is just an intermission to something far greater.
If the mind forgets, then these photo albums shall serve as a gentle reminder.