Let me share a secret with my readers today. When I was in school and had just discovered the charm of poetry, the first thing that I looked for after I wrote the first four line stanza, was a diary. This was in 1971 and I was in Class IX then. I went into my father’s office at home (he owned a cinema and had an office at home too) and selected one diary from the huge pile that he always had there. Yes, everyone then gifted diaries and so my father’s diary collection had diaries that were completely filmi, diaries that were too sedate for me, ones that never bothered about giving a person one full page to write on, those that had too many product pictures, pharma diaries, and the list goes on and on. I chose one that uncannily resembled the Cube Works Elite that MatrikaS markets now. My diary, like the MatrikaS diary that I now hold in my hands, had a dark shade of hard binding with a lovely embossing of an artwork. That diary devoted just one page to vital contact information and then allowed a user to plunge into a world that had page after page of lines with a comfortable width.
So what did I do with my diary? I wrote my first poem. Then I wrote a second. Then a third… and then a few more. I experimented with forms of poetry and so there were acrostics, limericks, sonnets, and even blank verse. I loved rhymes though and soon enough discovered the charm of lines that followed a syllabic pattern and a specific rhyme scheme. But then, my story isn’t about my adventures into discovering poetry. My story is about the heart and mind of a school boy and how he thought his diary would help him win his first girlfriend!
I had an ingenious plan. On the cover I stuck alphabets cut from a magazine that came with glossy paper… alphabets that read: Please read my diary!
‘So how will that help you win the attention of a girl?’
Well, I went to a boys school and so there was no point in even taking my diary to school… but my parents always had a lot of their friends come over for dinner. Some of them had daughters of my age. They were invariably sent to my room where we could ostensibly play games that kids of my age play. All I ever ended up doing was to show these girls my almirah that was full of books and after a few stifled yawns they always decided to go back to the drawing room and sit and listen to the more entertaining gossip that adults always found fascinating. Now my scheme was to keep this diary out in the open and where it would be impossible not to notice it… and hope that some girl would just insist on reading it and then probably get impressed by my command over words.
So did I really win a girlfriend? Yes, I did. Many. In fact, all the girls who entered my room always noticed the utterly inviting title on my diary and generally said, ‘I want a glass of water please. Can you get me one?’
I always went out and peeped through the key-hole to find them opening it and reading the poems. Well, this gave me a lot of joy and I went on writing more poems… and each year I wrote my newer collection in a different diary. So now I have many with me. The point is that this little harmless game of showing-off through a diary has been virtually lost now. I think we need to begin encouraging kids to use their pens and write on wonderfully crafted diaries. Look at the simply charming collection that MatrikaS has. Let me first tell you about a few of the diaries before I go on to another fascinating story.
The Heal The Planet – A6 Ruled Diary is made from recycled paper, promotes an eco-friendly attitude and has pages dedicated to the books that you want to read. I’m sure this one is a diary that I am going to use to jot my ideas and notes for my essays and stories and poems. The pages are all separate and are put together by a very contemporary looking metallic spiral. The thoughtful envelope on the reverse of the back-cover can hold small souvenirs that help catalyse imagination and connect you to the ideas and notes that you have made. I’d call it my Daily Inspiration Diary… My DID Diary. So now I can scribble my heart away and let not a single thought get away!
There is then a standard journal diary and the one that I have has Gandhi on the hard cover and the pages have a different Gandhian quote on each page. My wild guess is that Matrikas has these journals that connect to different personalities and so there will be diaries that are full of quotable quotes from Dr.Ambedkar, Chanakya, Mother Teresa, Shridi Sai Baba, and Swami Vivekananda. What a charming collection! I’m sure I’d love to own each of these journals. And what will I use them for? Well, there are times when I am out of my Study and away from any of the gadgets that I use to do my writing on… and these journals would come to my rescue then. I’d call them My Articles Diary or MAD because I do let my thoughts do a really mad dance before allowing them to adopt words and become articles! Yes, I can now scribble my heart away and never let the absence of a laptop make one story non-existent!
Now we come to the massive A4 size Subject Journal and all I can say is that the binding is awesome and the paper quality is superb. In fact it has already been hijacked by Specky, my wife, who is using it to make her notes on her lectures on mathematics. I don’t really understand much of all the funny and squiggly mathematical symbols she has scribbled all over the pages but I must admit they look impressive. She scribbles her heart away… and I look on loving every bit of what she writes on the pages!
Now that story of me trying to stumble upon a girlfriend by impressing them by showing off my poetry skills in an awesome diary is still true. Even now when everyone has smartphones and tablets and are using a stylus instead of a pen, I tend to carry a diary with me.
‘A diary? You mean you still carry a diary with you?’
‘Yes, I do. The western world has its own Moleskins and now MatrikaS has given us diaries to be proud of. Yes, I carry a diary with me… still. Let me tell you why.’
And with this I tell my diary detractors that my diary doesn’t conk off at the crucial moment because of a battery failure and more importantly, no one would walk off with my diary during my moments of inattentiveness. But the vital fact is that a diary in my hands makes me stand out in a world that moves with almost similar smartphones or tablets in their hands. A diary makes me exclusive… and the diary then becomes the focal point of an animated discussion anywhere. But what I am really saying is that a diary can get me the attention of the right people at the right time.
Let me tell you about the time I went to interview Arvind Kejriwal. You can, of course, read that interview here, but when I was sitting with him all I had with me was my diary and a smartphone to record the interview. My diary had my jottings on the man and some leads to the questions that I wanted to ask. During the interview, Arvind said, ‘You and a few more journalists carry a diary with them. It seems that the rest of the world has forgotten to record the present.’
What Arvind Kejriwal said then is vital because what he hinted at was that we lose a lot of perspective history because we are losing the habit of writing… technology brings us a massive amount of information but has pushed us to write less and less.
So yes, we really need to scribble our heart away and be effective record-keepers of our times!
This post is primarily to highlight the importance of a diary in our lives… and I believe MATRIKAS does have a beautiful collection of usable diaries for all age-groups and all occasions.
MatrikaS can be accessed on Facebook too.
26 October 2014