My niece Mariam just got married in Islamabad. It feels like yesterday that I held a little girl in my arms for the very first time. And then, all of a sudden, she is grown up. In her elegant wedding dress, she looked very much like her mother—my elder sister.
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Time truly flies, but the perception of time is only noticeable through the detection of change—when we reflect on the past, either looking back on our memories or browsing old photo albums.
Photographs have a unique quality to infinitely pause time and freeze a moment forever. Though the arrow of time flies one-way, photos allow us to go back and revisit past and relive old times. Unlike our frail memories, pictures don’t fade. Using vivid visual details present in a photo, we can recreate a moment in our mind and play it however we want. It is magical. Perhaps, that’s why we have become so addicted to photos that we now prefer to photograph than live the present moment.
I took these pictures on 16th and 17th January 2021 and August 2007. Only fourteen years in between, but with a significant difference.
A new chapter opens today. In another fourteen years, the pictures from 2021 will feel like yesterday too. And so the circle of time will keep spinning, rewriting past, present, and future.
We all are going to shift places, lose some loved ones and welcome new ones. Life will take unexpected twists and turns, and we are most likely to lose track of even ourselves. But these pictures will be here to remind us where we were yesterday. As an astronomer at ALMA observatory in Chile once told me, “if we know where we came from, we might also know where we will go in the future, and why we are here in the first place!”
Happy wedding, Mariam and Qaisar!