Monday, September 19, 2005

Life as I know it

I think I've always been fairly clear that this blog is sort of a diary-substitute, and I'm really glad that it has managed so far to avoid the fate of diaries I have attempted to keep in the past. As an aside, salacious gossip mongering was the reason for the demise of one, because I was moron enough to faithfully record the dilly-dallies of friends and then bring the diary over to class and carelessly leave it on the desk. My dear friend Surbhi happened to pick it up, and there, in neat cursive writing with blue ink, were recorded all her trysts, all the times she had asked me to write up her love letters, cover for her as she met boyfriends, juggling two at a time (personal best was three at a time I believe). Now I wasn't morally ambivalent about writing this up, because Surbhi had managed to make her relationships into group projects, involving all of us in letter writing, appointment-setting, gift-selecting and wrapping, etc. Her love affairs were my life too, although I wish I had a bit more control over this aspect of my life, since the men she chose were all uniformly boring and charmless.

But she happened to read what I wrote, and was very unhappy about it. She thought it was mean of me to write that she was dating two at a time, and I had a hard time convincing her that I wasn't making any moral judgments about her choice. I don't know how things have changed in India (Delhi to be precise) but more than a decade ago, even if the girls in my class had no qualms about dating more than one at a time and keeping options open, they sure as hell didn't want to talk about it. In fact information about boyfriends was only shared with closest friends, and for public consumption, everyone was unattached, sexually naive and disinterested in men. So of course the diary had to be ditched.

I did try relaunching the diary a few years later when I went out on my first few dates, because I thought there was something significant enough going on to merit a record. Thankfully I didn't take it too far, because I was going through a particularly creativity-challenged phase, both in choice of men and in choice of words and hence it managed to become a syrupy, sappy little repository of what in retrospect were rambling odes to infatuation. After a few months of writing the diary, I read the past entries and was appalled at the whiny attention-whore that I sounded like. I got rid of the diary (ripped pages apart), but refrained from ripping the relationship up for a while (bad choice baby). After finally disentangling myself from a relationship that had been a result of teenage angst rather than genuine affection, I moved on to better men but not necessarily meticulous record keeping.

And yet, I missed the initial joy I had felt with my first diary, going back to read entries about days long sublimated into the haze that school year was, and yet, there was the day when Shelly and Pankaj hooked up, or the day when Ashish and I stood ankle deep in mud on our school picnic, admiring the migratory birds as they nested in the swamps. Or the day our Principal got accidentally locked in the boys' bathroom because she was trying to be extra vigilante. Play rehearsals, quiz clubs, hook-up rumours, a friend's sister's wedding, every little trivia was recorded, at times reluctantly as the task seemed onerous and tedious at times. Actually, this is what made me think of the post, because I knew I wanted to write down what happened last week, just in case I might want to know several years from now what I did this week, and yet it almost seemed a chore to remember the details. Yet I do it, for the sake of personal history, to have a roadmap of my existence at this moment, because I know I do not remember well all of the past that gave me joy. That is the approach of my boyfriend, who is a conscientious diary-writer and keeps note of his days, even if a few lines for each (that's how he figured out what day we first met, I had no recollection).

So bear with me if I write posts at times that look like hurried post-it scribbles, with a bare sketch of the day or the week gone by. That's just my way of giving future cues to my brain to remember what may have been lost in its caverns as too trivial, too mundane.

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