Secrets in the Postcards
"A picture is a secret about a secret, the more it tells you the less you know,” someone once said, and PostSecret, an online art project, combines pictures with secrets, and gives a person a rare glimpse into art that is at once heart touching and very much real.
PostSecret was a concept that came to founder Frank Warren one night at the Quartier Latin in Paris, where he saw in a dream a message written behind some postcards he had bought, saying that he would find his answers in the secrets of strangers. Thus in January of 2004, postsecret.com was formed, which displays the secrets of anonymous strangers mailed in on one side of postcards which are often homemade. A new batch of secrets is uploaded every Sunday, and anyone can send in secrets.
Much of PostSecret's appeal lies in the simplicity with which strangers have held up their secrets, and the secrets, ranging from harrowing ones to amusing ones like 'At our national history museum, all the souvenirs are made in another country!' The creativity with which people piece their secrets with pictures, produces something so strong that it moves you.
Since its start, PostSecret has also published a number of books containing their post card collection, and also regularly hosts events all over USA. Recently, they launched an iPod application using which people can view and upload secrets more easily. PostSecret is a corner of the cyberspace, running into which a person would definitely have to stop and scroll through a world of strange secrets that seems wonderfully different, and somehow a little melancholy.
Day one: young and invincible. Day two: back pains from cricket. Day three: Invincibility is a lie!
The day you first fall off a bike or realise that you cannot drink hot chocolate with a straw, some time during which your age is still a one digit number, you also find out that you are not invincible anymore. Before that, your life was a jungle and you were an ape, and fevers were something your parents used to sweat over and they would “attempt” to stop you from going to the playing field in the afternoon. Failure, which used to be just a notion, catches up pretty quick though. That loss of invincibility is life's first disillusionment, which leads to scores of other disillusionments that come soon enough.
Remember how you bet on your life that Argentina would win the World Cup this year because your cousin said so? Well you find out that they didn't. But kids have an infinite capacity to move on, and your brain rebuilds itself, stocks up this wisdom, and goes on to focus more important matters like the ongoing wrestling match between the Undertaker and Triple H.
You think you've passed. But those were only the elementary years at the school of hard knocks. Soon you are introduced to the horror of all horrors - exams. By the time you return home with the first B in your report card, you think you have already been reduced to the level of mere mortals.
At first you ignore the jabbing headache behind your eyes, and then the fact that you are watching TV standing a foot away from it. When the headaches get worse, you tell your parents, and when they take you to the optician, you find out that you're half blind. Now that is a fatal blow to your ego, and you decide to drop out of school because you cannot bear the thought of your friends laughing at the bespectacled you. It does not help that your parents didn't allow you to choose the Harry Potter glasses and instead made you buy the red grandpa ones. You peer into the mirror, at your bug eyed reflection, and decide that not only are you human, but you are also old.
With sombre grace that only comes with great age, you make sacrifices like not grabbing the last piece of cookie on the plate, and just when you think that you have managed to get used to being old, your life comes to an end.
Some annoying relative discovers a stray strand of grey hair in your sea of dark, healthy waves, and you hear no end to it. This time, it is official. You are old.
You enter your teenage years old and stooped, so stooped that you soon develop excruciating back aches. But you are not even surprised, and that's because you are old. Trapped in this vicious cycle of thoughts, you fail to notice that most of your friends also have glasses by now, and that those fancy hues in their hair could have a purpose more sinister than fashion.
Just then, right before you sink into the quagmire of senility, you meet someone. Someone well into his seventies, but still bursting with life. This could be someone you always knew but never noticed, someone you recently met, or even a friend of your parents. And then, seeing them laughing heartily, doing push ups and eating like a gourmand, you face the important - though not final - disillusionment: age is but a number of years. Suddenly, a wonderful veil has been lifted. You have become younger than ever, and you go on living life as it should be lived, despite the cracking back pain and thick glasses, which are, luckily for you, all the rage this season.