They say that you never forget your first true love. You never forget your true love. Even though you may have moved on, something of the essence of that love always stays with you. It is real. It helped you discover something of yourself. It opened up your eyes, it brightened your spirit.
There is something about your first love that brings life to you. There is a bounce in your step when you discover love. You cherish it, you nurture it. If it is real, it never really goes away.
Many, many years back when I had started my career in a steel mill, I was stuck. I was groping for something that would bring life to me. I was grumpy because I had not gone to the USA to do my PhD in corrosion engineering ( I will come back to this later next week ).
Suddenly, out of the blue, I decided that I wanted to do photography. Don’t ask me where this came from. It did. So, being the poor underpaid engineer that I was, I turned to my dad. Why did he fund my first camera? Good question. Never answered. But, he did. It was to cost me 5 months salary, that first buy.
And so, one evening, I took the local train from the suburbs of Bombay to the southern part of the city. There, on the footpath, was this chap selling “imported” cameras.
The Olympus OM-2n then entered my life. It stayed with me as my faithful photographic companion for many years. Those were the days when we did not have fancy dry boxes in which to store cameras. I went down to Crawford Market, bought huge glass jars, pots of glycerine and kilos of silica gel (the desiccant) and brought them back home. I had a measly kerosene stove in my little apartment, one that you had to manually pump to generate a flame. Bombay is humid, so there I was, faithfully heating the gel every weekend to ensure that my camera and the telephoto zoom that I had also saved for, were safe.
They were my pride and joy and my faithful companions when I started my journey in the world of photography.
Where is the Olympus today? With me… This is one friend that shall stay with me for life. We have been on many trips together. We’ve tumbled down mountainsides together. We have traversed mountain streams together. We have been to temples together, and other places. We have walked the streets together.
Will the Olympus come with me on another photography trip? Oh, I am sure.
Like I said, you never – ever – forget your first true love.