Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Recounting

I have started to keep a diary again. When I was much younger, I kept a diary very religiously. I must have begun when I was in the 6th or 7th class when I read Anne Frank’s “The Diary of a Young Girl”. Influenced by Frank, I was terribly eager to begin chronicling the events of my own life and Mummy gave me a resin-bound LIC diary so I could start writing. And though my very first diary was wrought with printed quotations from famous freedom fighters, and sepia LIC adverts were manifold in its pages, I thought it was the most beautiful and precious book in the world. It held a record of my thoughts and the manifestoes of my plans for my life when I grew up. An adolescent diary is something sacred. It holds secrets that adults might scoff at or dismiss as childishness, but to the adolescent writer, those very secrets are the planks with which is built the drawbridge that helps her cross the moat of teenage into the seemingly perfect lands and castles of an independent adulthood. Daddy still has my first few LIC diaries packed along with other relics of the same early adolescence, in a cardboard box which lies gathering dust on one of the top shelves of the back bedroom in Hyderabad. I like to open the box when I visit home, and read my cherished diaries. The pathos of those simple chronicles is quite overwhelming and evokes memories and emotions so raw that it sometimes is difficult for me to believe that so many years have passed since I wrote them.

My diary-keeping after the first few years was very sporadic and underwent a great metamorphosis. By the time I went off to Kasaragod to college, I started writing only when I felt terribly sad, or terribly inspired and poetic. For the four years I spent in Kasaragod, I journalled only in one book. It is a very melodramatic volume. In it are the stories of homesickness, lovesickness, impassioned letters to imaginary lovers, desperate rantings against the futility of my life, confessions about crushes, poems I had written, scraps of poetry or prose that touched my heart, spiritual exploration, novenas, pictures of myself and other such things that seemed to arise from the union of a Gothic heroine and a tragic Shakespearian hero. This was also the time when I first began writing to Yvon, my phantasmal alter-ego. Everything I wrote was a confession to him. I still have that diary with me. I rarely ever reread it now, but it saddens me when I do.

After I came to the US, my diary writing grew more and more abstract and intellectual. It also grew increasingly sporadic. By the time I arrived in Ames, it was practically non-existent. This blog of mine is an extension of my diaries, but it isn’t quite the same thing. I began reading “The Kenneth Williams Diaries” a couple of weeks ago, and was struck by how open and honest his diaries were – just like my first childish ones were. He chronicles not thoughts, but events. And it is a refreshing change. Inspired once again, I started on Sunday to keep a new diary. It tells the tale of who I am and what I do. It is remarkably candid. When I read it ten years from now, I wonder what I shall feel…

4 comments:

Nisha said...
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Nisha said...

You forgot to mention some points in your diary maintainance....

You could not save it from my hands when at school (eyes rather... I always managed to smuggle myself into doing things you prohibited me to !!!!)

And i saved all of your Kasaragoud diaries (A huge pile of them) from daddy and mummy reading them !!!!!
Your diary was OUR secret.... ;););)

Asha Stephen said...

You goose! I only had one Kasaragod diaries... the ones you saved were the 11th and 12th class ones. :P Also, you are right... they were OUR secret. :)

Jayanti said...

loved reading this blog...t took me back to my adolecent days and my diary writing...it all seems like yesterday...