Staying in my present position I extended my hand, as I took out a book from the drawer. It was peculiarly a beautiful book with the smooth leather bound hardback consisting of creamy papers yellowed a little by age. A kind of book that must have existed for about twenty-six years at least, with a soul that must have survived decades preceding that.
I had seen it lying on the window of a frowsy little junk shop in a slummy quarter of a town. A quarter which I flimsy remember and had been struck by an overwhelming desire to possess it. Accompanying a certain group on the ground, I ventured into a shady shop. It had weird products- torn shoes and handicrafts on display. Giving a quick glance up and down the street, I slipped inside and bought the book for a few bucks. At that time there was no conscious want of possessing the book for any particular purpose. I guilty carried it home in my ragged backpack. Even with nothing written in it, it was a compromising possession.
What was I doing? I was about to begin a diary. It isn’t illegal to possess a diary. It is reasonable and certainly not punishable by death. Unlike the acts taking place on the streets these days.
I fitted a nib into the penholder and sucked it to get the grease off. The pen was an archaic instrument, seldom used even for signatures, and I had procured it, furtively and with some difficulty, simply because the creamy fine paper deserved to be treated with respect. It needed to be written with a real nib instead of being scratched with any pencil. Actually, I was not used to writing by hand or as a matter of fact at all. Except for some official notes here and there, a majority of the work constituted of dictation to the assertive yet the slimy technology, which of course is impossible for the present purpose.
I dipped the pen into the ink and then faltered for a second. A tremor had gone through my bowels, delivering goosebumps throughout my nerves. After all, to mark the fine paper is a decisive act. In clumsy letters I finally wrote:
October 30, 1991.
I sat back, with a complete sense of helplessness descending upon me. To begin with, uncertainty loomed over me, I didn’t know what was being scribbled down. It must fairly be around that date, for that’s the representation of my age. However, it isn’t possible to pin down the memories in words these days.
For whom, it suddenly occurred to me, was I writing down this diary? For the future? For the unborn? My mind hovered over the doubtful date on the page. For the first time, the magnitude of what I was painting through my words levitate above me. How would I communicate with the future? It was by nature impossible unless through texts or pictorials. Either the future would resemble the present or it would be different from it, in either case, none would read or listen to me. And the entire predicament would be nothing short of meaningless. As I sat gazing idiotically at the blank papers, momentarily the thoughts fluttered towards the strident music being played at a distance. It was curious that I seemed not merely to have lost the power of expressing myself, but even to have forgotten for what it was that I had originally intended to convey. For weeks I had been preparing myself for the moment, but it did not occur to me that anything that would be needed is courage.
All I had to do was to transfer the intermittent restless monologue that had been transmitting inside my head, literally for years. However, at the present moment, the monologue had dried up. The seconds were ticking by. Conscious of nothing but the blankness of the page before me and the blaring music at the distance. I closed and kept the book back.
Sometimes it’s better to leave the pages of history blank. Some excerpts are better off unwritten. Better off as an “unwritten diary”.
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