The Old Man and his Memory Box

My grandfather and his forty year old projector box

My grandfather (my mother’s father) is one of my biggest role models in life. He was born into a very poor and low-caste family, but went on to become one of the city’s best and most respected pediatric surgeons. He is now eighty three years old, and retired.

In the year of 1970, my grandfather went to London for further studies (I think he went to King’s College, although I’m not too sure), and then on a trip to some other countries in Europe. He brought back home, of all things, a small projector and a box of slides. My mother told me how my grandfather would switch off all the lights at night, and switch on the projector, and show them pictures of London and Barcelona and all the other beautiful places he’d been to. The cathedrals of sunny Barcelona and the old, Victorian-style buildings at King’s, they saw it all, large as life, right on the very wall of their living room. It was quite magical.

In this day and age, we have much better technology, and way better projectors, of course, but something about the little old box really fascinated me. Now although I’m not all that very tech-savvy, I do appreciate the marvels of modern day technology. We’ve advanced to a period in time when nothing seems impossible, and everything just a flick of a finger or a click of a button away. But there was something about that small metal box, that lit up inside and showed us the world, that was quite enchanting. Seeing my usually calm and quiet grandfather fuss over this little metal box showed me the kind of memories it held.

My mother happened to mention it today (as she had come down to visit me), and he realized he’d forgotten about his old projector, and made it a point to get it out. He fussed over it and scolded my baby cousin when she came too close to it (he never scolds her- or anybody for that matter), and asked me to draw the curtains so the room would get just a bit darker (it was 12 in the afternoon). He switched on the projector and a yellow light blinked to life inside it, and it positively heated up with the amount of memories that were imprisoned within, waiting to be let out. He tweaked this and adjusted that, and took out the box of slides.

It was a 35 mm H&G slide projector, Made In Japan. I don’t know anything about projectors, but this was what was written on it. I don’t even know if it is supposed to be a high-end model or not. Whatever it is, it worked even after so many, many years, and that’s pretty cool, I think. It must be about forty or so years old. Almost half a century old.

 

The pictures were not all that clear – and also, the room was not dark enough, but it was a delight to see them anyway. I kept hovering about, clicking pictures, which made my grandfather get quite irritated with me (he has no idea that pictures of him and his beloved projector are up here), but I clicked away anyway. We saw some of the slides of London and Barcelona and Thailand and also some childhood photos of my mother and her siblings, after much adjusting to get a somewhat sharp picture.

One of the many boxes of slides

Some of the slides all laid out

So that was how I spent my afternoon today, and I thought it’d make for a very nice blog post, and so here it is. A post about my grandfather, and his magical little box full of memories. 🙂

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