The Most Valuable Gift
This story was originally published in August 2014.
Everything we do… Everything we have ever done has been to preserve the things we treasure most—our families, a loved one, a way of life, social status, power, memories, wealth… We do it consciously on a material level, and quite unknowingly otherwise. Our thoughts, motives, labours, efforts to conserve, and the most mundane, routine activities are meant to preserve something precious. To exist, our physical beings need to do this. Our spiritual wellbeing depends on it. It is, possibly, the only purpose of our lives. However selfish this may seem, the irony is that it can also be the most selfless of all reasons to exist.
This reason is also why we inevitably snatch tiny moments out of days and premeditatively forget the rest. Our own knowledge of our existence is conditional to choosing what to retain and, subsequently, deciding what to leave out. With the passage of time, what we have forgotten increases incalculably in proportion to the moments we care to remember, making the most meaningful memories or the most significant snatches of time absolutely priceless.
Against the buzzing background clutter of things we wish to achieve every day, we often fail to appreciate our small accumulation of memories even though we would like to. So we keep photographs in our wallets, a collection of small photo frames in our living rooms, and pictures in family albums. Over the years, these tiny objects gain importance in our lives, and we find ourselves enjoying photography because it makes us aware of our choices of moments and spaces.
When you decide to buy a camera, I do hope that you also gift your friends with a few photographs of their special moments. The price you pay for buying a camera will be more than compensated by the gift of your memories of them. It may not cost you much. Yet, in all likelihood, it would make the most valuable gift of all.
— K Madhavan Pillai
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