I remember one time I almost got pranked at Babsy’s place. It was years ago in Bombay. I was leaving my Aunt Babsy’s place, off Breach Candy, and was headed out to visit friends in Cuffe Parade.
My cousin handed me a package to drop off at an address. Well, good thing Babsy rushed her man Friday, in the nick of time, to catch me still waiting for the bus and who apologetically reclaimed the package while saying something about a fictitious address. My cousin would have had me chasing a ghost.
Many years later, I found myself at Babsy’s place again. By then, Babsy was gone. My cousin was gone. There were pictures of long-gone aunts and uncles, sisters, brothers, cousins and old friends under the glass of her dressing table.
Some were framed and hanging on the walls of peeling plaster. Or propped up in a row on a shelf. There were linen sheets ironed and folded on a chair. Here and there lay the remains of a life. I felt I had to chase down that ghost.
They were five siblings at first. Thrity, my father Nogi, Babsy, Hector and Aban. Now there were none. This was Babsy’s place, and if I closed my eyes, I could hear her voice calling my cousin’s name.
I had acquired a Panasonic GF1 with a 20mm lens a few months before the trip to Bombay. It had a nice feature where one could choose the aspect ratio — 3:2, 1:1, 16:9, etc. So, for the majority of these images I selected the square format, very much like my first camera, the plastic Agfa Click, that took 120 film. The idea of pairing images came to me only now.
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