Diary - A Deary!

The complimentary diaries that I used to get in childhood introduced me to the habit of logging my day-to-day experiences in them. As far as I have seen, most of them who got complimentary diaries like that used to just scribble something for few days or few weeks or at the max for a month and forget that habit until the next new year. One of them who did like that was my uncle Mr. Natarajan, who used to be my childhood hero. The other uncles who used them as just account notebooks actually filled more pages of them. Natarajan uncle also used to use his business diary till the year end - up to its last page though he would forget the other diary (the personal one) within a month or so.

In one of those diaries that made me interested in the habit of diary-writing, he had written a slogan which said something like 'confidence and perseverance are the two most important things in life' on the first page. Even today, I unconsciously look for that slogan on the first page of any diary that I open. Every time I get a new diary, I feel like starting with that slogan on the first page. If not the same line, I always started with a slogan that talked about such important things every year. As I grew older, I realized that I had too many important things and there was not so much space to write down all of them. So, had to discontinue that habit of writing slogans on the first page. If not anywhere else, I wanted to use his important things at least for the habit of diary writing. And, I did that for quite some time. Even that had to be discontinued at some point in time later. Let's discuss about it later.

Though most people didn't have lasting relationship with the diaries, there were two exceptions. One - My grandfather who stuck to that habit of writing diaries till the end, that too in English at a time when literacy in mother tongue itself was a big challenge. He used to write his day-to-day experiences as well as his personal account details in them. I have always been believing that he would be my hero forever. If you find time and find it interesting, please read my post about him in this link - Mr. RV - A Freedom Fighter! Having heard from everyone that one should learn from him how to live a systematic life, I decided to adopt that habit alone from him.

Another one - Another uncle of mine, Mr. Chandrasekaran, who is Natarajan uncle's younger brother. He was a first generation achiever in his family too. He had had the habit of diary-writing right from his college days. I personally liked this habit of his for a special reason - He had noted the date and time of my birth in one of his diaries. From the minute I saw that, I became more fond of the habit of diary-writing as well as him. It seems he believed that it would sharpen his English. But, he also discontinued that habit later. There are so many things that you discontinue after getting married and having kids. It's only natural to lose something when you get something new in life, right?

At that age itself, I wanted to see some more diaries that were filled till December 31st. I know I was too greedy at a very young age. Having realized that it may never happen, I decided to make one myself. Conventional wisdom says "find a way or make one!", right? So, I made one. I don't remember very well. If I am not wrong, it should be in 1992 when I was in my tenth standard and was 15 years old. My friends used to admire me for that. They used to read them when I was not around and irritate me by making fun of me when I come back. I wholeheartedly accepted the school of thought that said using the mother tongue is the best medium of communication to express one's feelings and thoughts and started writing in Tamil. But, I also wanted to improve my English so I used to insert a few English words here and there. Not all words that I wrote would be apt to that place, but it would just serve as a reminder to me that I knew those words.

What are the benefits of this habit? One - I got a dust bin to dump all my frustrations and anger at the end of the day. What was more interesting was that when I would look at the same bin after some time, it would look like a treasure. I think, the blogs are doing the same job now. Aren't they? I was impressed when someone said it's the best outlet to send out all your unwanted emotions. So, I kept on telling everyone outlet... outlet... outlet... for a long time. Though it was an outlet to send out the unwanted emotions at that point, the same thing acted as some other let when it brought back the same emotions in a purified form after some time and it also acted like a tank to store all wanted memories and feelings. I was a pleased customer!

I am not someone who is very adamant about not talking about someone else in his absence. I don't have any such hard and fast sentiments. If someone has done something to me that has hurt me, I would just go to someone else and crib about them. I like doing it, because it reduces the frustration. Since I was too sensitive about everything, it was unavoidable. Likewise, I also don't make it a big issue when I come to know about someone cribbing about me to someone else. I just feel bad. I never go to that person and ask, "How can you talk about me in my absence? You should have come to me and told me directly!". I don't have any such personal governance principles (just tried copying corporate governance!). It's not that you have to dump on me the same wastes that I dumped on you. If you find someone else to dump them on, it's okay. At the end of the day, we just have to dump it somewhere and move on instead of carrying forever, right?

This habit of catching hold of someone when you are frustrated with someone else and cribbing with them invited a lot of troubles. It put in spot many times to answer tough questions. It brought back too much wastes. This habit of diary-writing put an end to all that. I could crib to it every night just like how I would do it with any other fellow human being. That also would listen to me coolly. It would never question me back. It wouldn't share my frustrations with anyone else and create further troubles for me. It wouldn't laugh at me.

We observe numerous things throughout the day. We think too much about some of them (more than how much is required!). If you go to someone to talk about every such silly thing every day, wherever he sees you, he would start running away in fear, after few days. Diary-writing put an end to that also. Not this thing or that thing. You can talk about everything with it. You may also try and check. You would agree with me. Had I not met this guy (diary), I would have been a notorious gossiper.

Then, the next thing is, I was also interested in writing from childhood. Natarajan uncle used to write poetry for all his friends' marriages, print them and distribute to everyone in the marriage hall itself. That was the only opportunity he had to use his writing skills. When he writes such greeting poems, I used to help him with few words. He would appreciate. The interest that was born in Tamil classes through the old stories was watered by the poems of Natarajan uncle and got intensified when another uncle Mr. Elango (his pen name is Konangi!) came and presented a pen to me. By the way, he is a very well known writer in the Tamil literature circles.

What to do with the intensified desire? The diary gave a good platform for that also. Wrote about every silly thing in an immature style. I used to try playing around with words by placing them in unconventional places in sentences thinking that a good writing was all about that. I would also pat my back myself for having made such literature! :)

In the same diary, I would also write accounts like my grandfather did. It would give the break-down and break-up details for every 1 rupee that I got as pocket money every day. You can see the complete details of how each 1 rupee drop became a small stream and then a river and finally which ocean it joined. I also used to write the accounts of Musmal Cricket team in it. Not only that, until I put a separate notebook for all Cricket related scribbling, the same diary was used for all other statistics of Musmal Cricket team, statistics of all international Cricket teams, my dream world team, my Indian eleven (like board president's eleven!), etc.

What is that Musmal? It's the name of the Cricket team that was born in my street, which was called by two names - Muslim street and Perumal kovil street (which means Vishnu temple street!). Concatenation! Since it was named by me, no one other than me used that name or took it seriously, I guess. I am not sure if it was present anywhere other than in my diary. By the way, ours is such a beautiful street with a temple, mosque and church next to each other. Right from those days, I have been taking care of the accounts business wherever I go.

Then, whatever I liked while reading, I would record them in my diary. Even the ones that I heard from others and liked! Everything including philosophies, proverbs, slogans, opinions of the important people, my views on all national issues, birthdays of kin and kith and other important days and many other notes. Noting down birth days was a best practice learnt from Chandrasekaran uncle. Though personally I have never been fond of celebrating birthdays, even now I am the first person to wish many people on their birthdays. I am also trying to reduce that. 'Crazy... Only you are doing all these!' - I keep hearing this inner voice these days.

In between, got confused by someone and decided to stop writing diary for one year (1996). I didn't stop there. I also burnt all diaries that I had written till then. I had another reason to do that - they sounded very immature when I read them later. As if I had become mature by then! As if I have become mature now!? But, now I regret that. Now I feel, maybe, if I read them now, I would appreciate myself for having been so mature at that age itself. Now I have all the diaries that I wrote after that. I started this post with an idea to publish all such notes that I had taken down in my diaries. Introduction itself has taken so much space now!

One of the biggest motivations I had to write diaries was that I strongly believed that I would have to write my autobiography or someone else would want to write my biography one day like all big shots do and there shouldn't be shortage of information when needed. See how high headed I was. Then there was another contradicting thought. What is that? Autobiography should have things that remain in the hearts and minds of people beyond time and it shouldn't be just a collection of information from the diaries of eighty years. 'How can it be an eventful life?' was the internal question. Even that fueled the fire when I burnt the diaries. :)

Continued to write even after marriage for an year or so. It was very difficult to be adamant saying I would go to bed only after writing for an hour every day. It threw different challenges. Waking up on time the next morning became difficult. Writing while travelling was not that easy. And then there was another philosophy that said, "Only do things that you enjoy doing!", which was very attractive for some time. So, I bowed. Have no idea of restarting that habit for now. Let's see if I get back that interest again sometime later. We do the same things on blogs now, right? Then why do we need one more place?

When I started blogging, found two benefits. You could write like how you would do in a diary. You don't have to be worried about how interesting it would be for all those who get to read. 'If you are interested you may read. Otherwise, you may ignore!' kind. You may ask, "How would you say things that are so personal which can't be shared with others?". How would I say such things? It's an invalid question as I don't have too many such things. So no problem, right?

The second benefit? I love writing, right? I just love writing, but I was not interested to become a full time journalist or in spending my valuable time in buying new A4 sheets, writing my articles on them, then buying envelops, searching for addresses, sending them to magazines and waiting anxiously to know whether they got selected or rejected - whether they would be published or not published, biting the nails and the flesh around nails. There is another problem. If the first few articles are not good and get rejected, you would never get the interest or confidence to write any more. When there are already enough people to judge my abilities and decide my future, I was not interested in giving that privilege to some more people.

Even if they select, they may find some lines that are very important for us not so interesting to them. They would edit them and throw some tasty flesh. That also would join the number of things that are already there to spoil the peace of mind. Just to avoid all that, I have been just writing in diaries and on one-sided pages.

Leaving all these, I also have a funny belief. What is that? For example, I am interested in politics and literature. I am also very confident that I would become very big in one of them or both of them some day. Then, does it mean I should leave whatever I am doing now and focus my full energy on things that I love to do in order to reach the place where I want to be? "No" is my opinion.

If I am doing it for my own livelihood or fame, I can fix targets and work towards them. If the reason for me to get into them is just serving the society, I should just do what I am supposed to be doing at this moment. I mean, I should first focus my energy on what I am given as my job today. This society thinks that this is the right place for me considering my abilities, strengths and weaknesses. In parallel, I should also spend some time every day to do things that I love to do keeping the long term plans in mind.

If politics or literature wants me or if the people out there think that I am qualified enough to be there, I would naturally be landing there. This is my strong belief. If I don't reach, either I don't deserve that place or this society doesn't deserve me. It's not going to be my loss alone. So, there is no question of being disappointed for not getting what you want also.

People are so fond of their positions and don't want to give up on them even if they lose in elections these days. What is the reason? It could either be that they want to stick to their positions for their own selfish reasons or they want to serve people at all costs even if people themselves do not want their service. Tell me how many such people do we have today in the second category? If I am not needed, I should just get out of the place accepting people's verdict or I could even say that the society doesn't deserve my service or it doesn't know how to make use of me. That's is how a mature individual in a mature society would think.

So, all I want to say here is that until the right time comes I would just use my blog like a open diary for now. If I get an opportunity to play better roles - if they come my way naturally, will do them, too. That's it.

I will start doing from tomorrow what I planned to do when I started this post.


  1. how much i used to love diaries as a kid...i wonder what happened to them...its all virtual now...

    nice post...


  2. Thanks SUB. You would reinvent that love again when you become a kid again, i.e. when you retire.

  3. I can't think of my life without a diary, great post, brought back old memories!

  4. Thanks Saru. Good to know that there are many more people who used them till December 31st every year. :)


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