Memory of Punjab

This photo was taken in 1979, in Jammu during pilgrimage to Vaishno Devi.My father born in 1968 grew up in Bathinda, Punjab with four of his siblings and extended family of 19 cousins all living on the same street.  When I asked him about a special story about this image, he tells me he went for a trip with his parents after his board exams and spent his pocket money to secretly get this photo done in a studio in front of an old camera in Kashmiri attire. The idea of a solo photo was fascinating to him.My great grand father, Roshan lal katia a senior advocate had 11 kids who further had 24 children. My father being one of them.  He recalls my great grand father having a taste for luxury and a forward thinking man who educated all his children to become doctors and lawyers.A curious spirit, he has some fond memories of his childhood adventures. Some of his family expeditions to Agra, Rishikesh bring back memories with his family. He enjoyed travels on trains for simple pleasure of buying tea and snacks whenever the train would halt. He and his two younger brothers would buy small toys like marbles from vendors on the platform. Returning from a holiday would also mean bringing back sweets for the neighbors and telling them stories of their visits. His primary school was summer hill convent and then high school was St. Joseph where all his cousins studied too. He got 10-paisa pocket money, which would be spent on snacks and sometimes to buy kites.  He remembers that the back lane of his house would clog rainwater during monsoons and him and his cousins would make paper boats to sail in this pool. He tells me, they would get new clothes for special occasions, and sometimes made from the same roll of fabric making them all look identical. On those special occasions samosas were a delicacy. He fondly remembers his first birthday celebrations where samosas and chola bathura were served with ice cream made of milk fat.He tells me that his father had a sweet spot for him, for he was the only one who had a cycle. The day that cycle had to be delivered, he went to the cycle shop at 7 am in the morning and sat all day at the shop to make sure it was modified according to him. He would clean his red cycle every day after school and run errands to be able to ride his cycle.In 1984 he went for his first international trip to Nepal with school friends and later to Thailand in 1989. In 1987, his first trip to Bombay was a special one as he went to the Taj Hotel for high tea and attended a Bollywood night!The photo series ’ Memory of Punjab’ is a documentation of his journey through childhood in Punjab. A small effort to capture that curious spirit to explore, travel and own small pleasures