02 August 2015

WOW – ‘Time Machine, Green Sofa and a Diary’


Every new year,papa used to get many diaries especially from his office stamped SAIL in bold letter ,a few colorful ones with golden letters inscribed on the cover ,gifted by his friends and most of them, he used to distribute back to other friends and family as well, except two ,that he would carefully place it in the little worn out and color chipped, brown Godrej almirah in our bedroom.

My paa being a very organized person , I didn't find anything unusual about it.However, during childhood days , every storage place like pantry to cupboards to almirah used to be quite mysterious places for me that piqued my curiosity,curiosity that what exactly are maa and paa hiding in there ; pantries that got refilled with snacks and other edible goodies,cupboards filled with old forgotten books or stuffs like a pair of broken crayons ,paint box ,old broken yet functional paint brushes or some old clothes which would fit me somehow then,almirahs where paa , maa would keep their valuable things-dresses ,jewelleries ,files,sets of new pens-Reynolds, or fountain pens to be specific ,couple of Camel ink pots in a brown box ,bunch of Natraj pencils and other HB pencils ,few leaves of black /blue carbon copy sheets ,stack of plain white papers covered in plastic etc etc neatly arranged in every compartment of the almirah.

Did I tell you that once my (stray yet pet ) cat after delivering six kittens,she kept them safe in my cupboard and just left for good and until she was back, and I used to take care of those small kittens with fevicol-ed eyes - fed them milk using the empty and cleaned eye-drop solution dispenser .. So, see I was so used to find surprises in such places ....

One day I planned to scan the almirah ,took the small stool near to the study table,climbed on it and started my 007 spy work and one of paa's diary fell on the ground .Before my maa would find out my spy work which she was quite used to and was not happy about ,as I would mess up all the clothes mom kept nicely,I took the diary,cleaned the evidence and ran for my life. Mission successful ! Mom had no idea what happened .She ran to the kitchen instead thinking that nasty brown fluffy cat would be raiding her domain.

That sight made me one happy girl .However ,my mission to scan the entire almirah was unsuccessful.Since, whenever I got disturbed about anything, I would doodle something anywhere like paper,magazine,a piece of paper and likewise, whatever was handy at that moment ,this time it was my dad's diary that faced my wrath..I don't know why even my school books/copies had my signature drawings at the back pages as if I was allergic to the plain papers....So,I was doodling my heart out and venting out in my paa's diary.....

Suddenly ,I heard a voice,"Mone ,endo edukkuva? " (Dear ,what are you doing ?) .I was so carried away with my masterpiece that I didn't quite hear properly.Again,"Money athu pappeyudey diary alley,endo cheyuvva athil nee ? "(Dear ,that's my diary,what are you doing with that ?) I felt like I was caught red handed and without a word, I quickly gave the diary back to my dad.

Days passed,one fine day ,saw my dad fetching that diary from the almirah and sitting on our green wicker sofa he was quite proud of ,as he used to paint that wicker sofa all by himself on every Diwali eve in dark green color with a diamond shaped design in the center in yellow (Like dad,like daughter!) .

Though dad is not a scolding type like my mom, I thought he would certainly ask me why I messed up his precious diary .However,I saw him jotting down something in his diary. To my surprise, this continued every now and then and seems to be his habit since long which I did not pay attention before. I asked him one day, what is he writing in his diary always. He smiled and dismissed off saying, "Onnum illa mone"(Nothing dear just like that).

That was not what I wanted to hear.Now ,that challenged my curiosity. So,I put my 007 cap on and planned for my next raid of almirah . This time, I didn't check anything inside the almirah other than that brown diary and Eureka,it was right in front of me,I didn't have to strain much.. I got it !

I took the diary,locked the almirah cautiously and escaped from the room to our verandah . No crayons,no sketch pens,no candies ,nothing fascinated me like this diary. I didn't care if I completed my homework or not or I failed at the upcoming mid-term test or bhaiya/bro got the big piece of cake ,all I wanted was to, just find the ultimate secret behind this diary.

I finally opened the diary . I felt like I was reading a beautiful novel . Every page was like a memoir in progress - as if paa was capturing all those small moments like when mom tried a new recipe and that made us - myself and my bro super happy ,the new black shoe for the school that I got on my birthday that made me glee,how my bro would mimic Kapil dev with his brand new cricket bat,how pretty amma looked in that dark green color saree ,how bhaiya/bro forgot to zip up his school uniform/pant,how I got 2/10 in unit test in a row and mom scolded me quite bad and though Dad didn't approve my achievement either,he equally felt helpless to see me crying out loud as if I was innocent,How he hated to see any one of us-me/bro/amma fell ill ,how he regretted, he was not able to buy me the huge costly teddy bear I always wanted, how he struggled at one side to send money to his family back in Kerala and other side to take care of us (to make both ends meet) and keep everyone happy ,how family was his only priority...basically ,it was pearls of small moments he was looping into a beautiful necklace of memoir...

I always hated diaries as they reminded me of the school diaries we used to get ,some pages with complains by my teacher addressed to my parents,or full of prayers/slokas as if I was not praying enough at home with my conservative family etc and the only place I really knew what technically personal diary entry was in my English class ,when Joseph sir taught us. However,it was after reading my paa's diary that I realized the true importance of diary entry - how one can still capture those precious little details, bygone moments and rekindle ,revisit and cherish it forever.

As a matter of fact, he still continues to pen down everything that matters to him and I still read it whenever I get a chance,even his old stack of diaries and it is indeed like a nostalgic time travel from my hurry-bury life to the much peaceful ,simple,forgotten golden periods of our life with hidden lessons in between . It is like recollecting and reconnecting missing dots in my mundane life.It is like reliving,refreshing and reinvigorating diary spa. It is indeed a time travel - from present to past where memories are sealed and forever they will last................

Live well,laugh often and love a lot,

P.S :This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.