Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Dear Diary...

I used to keep a daily diary when I was younger – I probably started the habit when I was in the 8th standard and continued, increasingly sporadically, over the next few years until it petered out completely by the time I was 25 or so. I still have those diaries, safely stored right at the bottom of a box full of books. I haven’t seen them in years; I think the last time I had a look at them was when I was unpacking the big box of my books that had been sent over from India.

The reason they’re at the bottom of the box and untouched in several years is that I’d really rather that nobody ever got to read them – me included. The entries were by turn embarrassing, pathetic, maudlin, overenthusiastic, usually happy, sometimes angsty, sometimes angry... but mostly they were mystifying. There were lots of references to people by their initials or by private nicknames that I’d coined. Who were JT and MS, among others, and who were the unfortunately named Fish Face and Aruvai Rani (Queen Bore)? Or Anju Paisa (Five Paise) or the 5H Guy?

You’d think I would at least remember Fish Face and Aruvai Rani given that their names were so evocative... but no. I didn’t have a clue as I re-read my diaries. I literally could not put a single name or face against those initials and references. And yet they featured so much in my life then – they must have, to crop up in my diary so regularly and cause me so much joy and heartache. I suppose I must have expected to remember them – possibly for ever - which is one reason why I didn’t feel the need to maintain a de-coder for those initials and nicknames. The other reason, of course, was the small matter of keeping the identities secret from any accidental reader. Secrecy is, after all, the hallmark of every teenager. But I really do wish I’d known that the 40-year-old me would desperately require a key to the shorthand devised by the 14-year-old me... I would have taken the trouble to write all names in full along with descriptions of who they were and why what they said or did had mattered so much.

The worst thing about re-reading my own diaries as a grown-up was how incredibly embarrassing I found the pre-teen and then the teenager that I had been - how practically every reaction I'd had seemed really quite over-the-top. About the only thing that I didn't embarrass myself with was my writing... although the emotions were all over the place, I still managed to write coherently and mostly with humour - no matter how angry or sad or happy I was. You'll just have to take my word for this, though, because nobody's EVER going to read my diaries while I draw breath. (Once I've stopped drawing breath, I'm pretty certain I won't care... but if I'm wrong, the curious diary reader had better be wary of some radical hauntings with me in the starring role.) You have been warned.

4 comments:

Teesu (very very Indian, very very good) said...

Heh heh heh heh heh. I am with you on the 'looking-back-i-seem-to-have-been-a-tad-silly' thing. I have taped myself when I was between 9 and 15 and certainly, am not going to broadcast all that's on tape. Hilarious stuff. Now, your threats of haunting are enough to scare me off. But of course, if I go first, I plan to sneak into this box and poondhu-vilayaadify :D

ANu said...

Please post some excerpts - please do

Shyam said...

Teesu: Ok, IF indeed you manage to go first, I might let you have a peek at my diaries :)

Anu: But I DID post an excerpt! Look at the title of my post! :D

Anu said...

Darn! You got me :-)