My mother was a great one for diaries! She loved writing down everything that happened in her life, pages and pages crammed with her neat meticulous hand, with an element of drama that seemed to be part and parcel of her life. By the time she was in her thirties, she had a cupboard full of diaries, yellowing notebooks creeping upwards, as though they wanted to claw their way to the very top. Maybe if we had had a chance to read them, we would have known even more than we do about our firebrand mother, who believed in living life to the hilt.
However, none of us ventured beyond Page 1, which had graphic comments like "Keep your nose out of my affairs, if you don't want it cut off!" - much akin to the Queen of Hearts in Alice's Wonderland whose catch phrase was, "Off with their heads!" Another comment was frankly derogatory - "Nosey Parker, venture not beyond this page!"
So when my parents bought me a brand new diary, with a lovely red and gold cover, asking me to record my daily routine, I knew exactly how to start, "Nosey Parker!" was my first inscription, scrawled in bold black letters with a tinge of red and gold to go with the cover. That was when I hit my first road block. What on earth would I write about? Nothing earth shattering ever happened to me! How on earth did Mom write in so many diaries when I could not go beyond the 'Nosey Parker'?
The first few entries reeked of excitement. "Dear Diary, I got up at seven today. I brushed my teeth and washed my face. I had eggs for breakfast. I put on my uniform and went to school!" Anne Frank had said it so much better!
This exciting pace continued, till I got tired of my own mundane posts. I longed for something wild and exciting to happen to me. Maybe a lion would wander into my classroom... but what if it devoured me? Where would that leave my diary writing? Or maybe my favourite actor would come to town and ask to meet me! Why on earth would he even deign to look at a pimply, bespectacled little girl, was the question that never once occurred to me. I didn't have to worry my head off about it because that date never happened!
I tried to draw events that took place in life. My class teacher, who wore a crisp cotton sari and handed a cane like a pro, was one of my first attempts. When I had finished with her, she looked like nothing on earth, in a sari that looked like a Roman toga and a nose that was more aristocratic that the original. One of my friends grabbed my diary, looked at the drawing and whistled. "Wow, your Julius Caesar looks very authentic!" he drawled. That broke my heart and brought an end to my artistic doodling.
After long gaps in the narrative because I had not written in ages, I came home from school one evening, bubbling over with excitement. I rushed to my room, picked up my diary and sat down to write. I finally had something momentous to describe.
"Dear Diary, I had the most incredible conversation with my friends this morning in school. Akash said that tomorrow, the world is going to end! So I am sorry, but that means that I will not be able to write my diary from tomorrow onwards. So goodbye, dear Diary! This is THE END!"
The world never ended, but with those fateful words, my diary writing certainly did.