My mother recently received a CD in the mail from my aunt, who had traveled to Pakistan for lesiure. There, she had encountered a bag full of photo negatives given to her by a distant relative. The negatives: forgotten, discarded, and triggered by her mere presence more than 40 years later.

My mother’s family is from Delhi, India. They moved to Quetta, Pakistan after turmoil between India and Pakistan. My mother is one of 12 siblings. She is the fourth youngest, the latter five of them being very close in age, referred to as the “Panja”, or “Palm.”  Born after a span of many years, my mother’s older siblings look as if they are her parents. I was shocked to see how beautiful and youthful my grandmother was, despite bearing 12 children. Moreso, I was startled by the resemblance between my mother and I… how similar in gestures and features we are. I saw glimpses of my younger sister in her, as well. It’s odd to think of your own parents as a child. Their memories, their experiences, their stories… how they actually were existing beings before we came along.

These photos made me realize how precious time can be, and how years fly without us even realizing it. The beauty of childhood and youth are captured in these photos. Old photos are treasures. I am one of those people who cling onto anything with memories or a story behind it. The viewing of old photos is bittersweet, and leaves you feeling a combination of loss, sorrow, joy, and realization. It really is a surreal experience.

I do not know who took these photos. My mother doesn’t remember these photos, and she spent the evening reminiscing quietly and withdrawn in her thoughts, something that is not in her normal range of behavior. I am planning on printing these and binding them to a beautiful album.