My grandfather’s study room has three medium-sized antique bookshelves, where science fiction stands next to autobiographies, and where Assamese books brush shoulders with the English ones. There is a table in front of the window, where my grandfather keeps many pens and sheets of all kinds. A small container holds a few other essentials like erasers, sharpeners, pins. And next to this chaotic yet organized table, is a large pile of old diaries. Just diaries. Filled by grandfather every single night before he went to bed. He has not skipped a single day and he still writes in them at the age of seventy-two. I know I cannot read those diaries, but I wonder how many special moments have been captured in them. Faded ink stains unlocking memorable moments of life, giving life even more meaning, and confirming that you have indeed come a long way.
My love for writing in a diary began when I was eleven years old. I had heard about Anne Frank and her famous diary. My knowledge about The Second World War and the treatment of the Jews, back then, was sufficient for me to get started. My grandfather had proposed the challenge that I should read Anne Frank but in Assamese (my mother tongue), and though it was a roller coaster, I completed the book by the end of summer at my grandparents’ house. Later, I wrote an article on the book and it got published in a newspaper. The book made me realize the true power of writing a diary.
However, to be completely honest, I have not been consistent in the past in writing diaries. I wrote, but then I fell out of it, and the cycle went on. However, on my sixteenth birthday, I swore to myself that I would write in my diary regularly. I remain unsuccessful. The ticking clocks for upcoming examinations, tons and tons of assignments and extra-curriculars made my life pretty much the same every day and this did not encourage me to write in my diary.
As April approached, I realized that it was not necessary for one to write in a diary every day. You could write whenever you wanted, for not every day is captivating enough worth writing for. However, capturing the prominent instances in life is undeniably vital.
Diary writing is a special experience for every individual. You could write every day, or only when you have had the greatest ups and downs. It is not necessary that you write down your thoughts, you could write your aims, goals, and even to-dos, like Benjamin Franklin, who began his mornings by writing in his diary “What can I do well today?” and ended his day by writing “What well have I done today?”.
If you are an artist, you could paint your thoughts. You could write haikus, poems, lyrics for your own song, and capture your feelings the way you want. It is the personalization of a diary that makes it worthwhile. But no matter what, do write, do capture your thoughts, your feelings and your life as you live through it. In your happy times, you would be able to look back and realize that sad times, as someone had said, “shall pass too.”
Writing a diary is truly exceptional for those are your own words, unfiltered, ready to be absorbed by your older self.