Everyone expressed surprise at the three-year old kid. How differently my nephew looks and talks today! My sister commented on her son: "He was lovely with that round face, I wish he'd eat more". We started remembering the boy's catch-phrases and idiosyncratic pronunciations from April 2004. He'd say a word on tape the funny way he used to, and everyone would remember.
The camera panned to my sister's husband (the boy's father) and it was obvious: he had aged. Back then, he looked a guy in his twenties. Now he has a rash of white hair and looks 'thirties'.
My sisters were surprised at how much weight they carried around back then. My parents had lost weight too, but we all took it well. In their old age, they have to lose weight.
Then I put on the "Jul 02" tape and caught a glimpse of my dad, the healthy, rotund, expressive man he is. I was surprised; he now looks skinnier and more frail. Everyone seemed to think I should fast-forward because it would hurt him. But my dad was a picture of contentment: "What would not please me about looking healthy and good?"
My mother hadn't changed very much. Sure, her face was younger, and she was fatter, but it didn't strike us as a big difference.
I had recorded on the tape various segments from our daily lives. In one clip, while the living room TV played to no one, I panned around the room zooming on various things - slices of cake left on the table, my parent's wedding photo ... In outdoor clips, I took in the settings for minutes on end. They said they were bored. My youngest sister said that whatever the merits of my filming, I was the only one to appreciate it - so perhaps I can fast-forward?
My clips were greeted with silence. Then my mother led the charge: "Hamada has aged!" Then everyone joined in. "Oh my God, he had hair!" "He was thinner and so much younger." My dad teased me: "Everyone's aged a little, but Ahmed, I would say 40 years at least."
I couldn't see that much of a difference. But I guess I was in the minority on that one too.