Back home from office, I had made up my mind to read and not waste time watching movies or FRIENDS yet again on my laptop. While browsing through my bookshelf, I came across it, hidden beneath the pile of books, as though it was a secret I wished to fiercely guard. My old diaries. Ah, I’ve spent so many Dear Diary moments with them.
I didn’t maintain a diary for many years. Just two- three, I think, that too sporadically. I was inspired by Betty from Archie Comics and started every entry with “Dear Diary…” And reading through them, I realised why I decided to stop writing them. They were much too dangerous. A personal diary attracts other people to it like a flame does a moth, especially if you tell them “Don’t read that. That’s my personal diary.”
When I was in school, and my teenage romance had come out in the open creating a furore, my (then) boyfriend and I decided to stop talking in school and used to communicate via a diary, with the help of a friend. It was fun, now that I think of it. The relationship may have ended long back, but I can never forget writing in the diary :). The excitement when our mutual friend came to me and handed me my little book of love, going home and waiting for mom to have her afternoon siesta just so that I could sit and read it in peace. And then elaborately writing a reply. Our hopes, our dreams, our angst, that little book was witness to all that. Then we broke up, but for some reason, I didn’t discard that diary. I forgot about it, tucked away inside an old backpack where I’d saved a lot of other stuff like greeting cards (whatever happened to that grand old tradition, I wonder), Dairy Milk wrappers, gifts, etc. Then one fine day, when I was in college, my mom happened to find it. And there it came, the tears. “What is that?? Why? When?” I explained to her that it was a long, long time ago, and that the book, along with its co-author, was a closed chapter in my life. Thankfully, she believed me. I didn’t waste much time in destroying the diary.
After that, I was a bit more careful with my diaries, even though I was the sole author of the following ones. My crushes. My relationships, my ‘It’s Complicated’s- they’re all there. My entire last year in college, the person I had briefly become (When I read the diary for that year, I’m amazed at that Divya. Who was she? Do I know her anymore? I think not. She was a much more sensitive person than I am now). And then my endearing words about my last guy. That break-up would’ve been impossible to journal or write about, which is why I never tried. If I feel much too strongly about something, I cannot write about it. And putting it into words would mean reliving it, which I don’t want to do. That chapter also is closed, sealed shut.
I’ve never been one to express myself vocally. I fail miserably when it comes to that. I will probably end up cracking a joke(a lame one, while I’m at it) and hurting the other person. Be it with my friends, or my family, I can never tell them how much they mean to me. What I can do, is write. That’s the only thing I’ve been good at. So whenever possible, I write it and try to convey it to them. In the form of little notes, mails, forwards on books (I make it a habit to write a few lines on a book before I gift it to somebody, and my friends do the same for me. I love that.), or dedications on blogs. Even now, I may have stopped the practise of maintaining a daily journal, but I carry a notebook and a little diary with me all the time. And in them I scribble down, lyrics that I like, poems that I find good, proverbs I like, thoughts that I have. Because, no matter how much of an e-citizen I may be, I still find pleasure in putting pen (or pencil) to paper. The beginning of short stories, a random line that came to my mind but doesn’t really fit in anywhere, they all go into my diary and notebook. I had been out with a couple of my friends, and when I opened my bag, they saw my little diary. They asked why I carry it around, and I frankly told them “To write down something if I feel like it, no matter where I be.” They found it a little amusing, but having known me for so long, they weren’t surprised.
I continue to collect diaries and interesting notebooks. I have a friend who makes it a point to buy me interesting notebooks whenever he finds one. I do not write daily stuff in them. Just quotes and lyrics and all. And some very personal stuff. There is joy in writing that. And even greater joy in taking it up later and re-reading it.
I continue to collect diaries, in the hope that someday, I will open it and write, “Dear Diary, Guess what…”