There’s something about opening an old diary with its moth-eaten faded brown jacket; leafing through the smooth yellowed pages and breathing in the faint odor of memories cocooned over years. The writing is familiar but the words seem to tell about long-forgotten stories, and I feel guilty about prying into my own thoughts, as if delving into the mind of another person.
Memory can be a tricky thing and we modify, glorify or amplify it over the years. But the old diary quietly holds onto our real memories, good and bad, unchanged over the years. Few instances seem so new I wonder whether it actually happened to me. And some feelings are so out of sync with what I feel now I am left wondering whether I had actually imagined those feelings! It its like reading fiction.
Sometimes I feel sad reading the innermost child-like thoughts of a younger version of me; unsullied by grief or mistakes, blissfully ignorant of the harsher lessons of life awaiting her. I feel elated at her joys, want to comfort her when she had a bad day, encourage her, warn her about wrong judgments and protect her.
To get to the end is exhausting; it’s like living many lives. There’s a sense of wonder that it’s me all along; all those experiences, all those thoughts shaped by what life had to offer and how I tackled it. It’s still me who had loved so passionately, laughed so heartily, worked so hard, wept so quietly and felt so much over the years. That’s how I came into being.
And these written words, childish scrawls to elegant scripts, with doodles every now and then; are a witness to my life. There’s a sense of joy, calm, pride, a little regret too, and a lot of hope.
Now new pages await to be filled up and in a few years from now I’d again marvel and even laugh at my twenty-five year old self’s thoughts and wondering, ‘seriously, what were you thinking?!’
That’s the thing about opening an old diary; going through petals pressed against the days of first love, tear streaked pages of loss and smiley doodles signing off happy days; it’s like coming home.