I was hunting for an old songs diary in one of my bookshelves early this morning.

[Aside: I wake up before dawn so early morning is like mid-day to me. I’m totally into hunting for diaries by then. And yes, song diary? The diary one wrote song lyrics in, pre-internet. Alright, I’m THAT old! Doll- face!]

True to form, what I was hunting for didn’t turn up. What did turn up was this other diary. Let me describe it to you.

It’s a dark brown leather bound diary with gilt corners. You take one look at it and you gulp, specially if you have a guilty conscience. It is a grim, serious thing bearing the legend- Business Organizer, Planner and Diary. Reminds me of Madame Defarge somehow. Righteous, grim and conscientious, if you know what I mean.

Inside, the pages are divided into more sections that a watermelon has seeds. The sections are  called: Information, planner, travel, finance, projects, notes, diary- divided into month tabs (#$%$#!), weekly calendar and an A to Z thingy where you bang down people’s aliases, their penitentiary location, their pen/ cell number, their crime and other relevant details. No, the blessed thing isn’t the size of a house. We can’t have two house sized things in the house.

Frankly, coming upon it unawares jarred a couple of years of growth out of me. Don’t be surprised if you hear me lisp cutely.

Upon opening the monster, I found some mighty interesting facts about myself. And they go thusly:

1. In the year 2006, I actually believed I was running a business.

2. On the folio, there is a note scribbled by Johnny. I remember he had scribbled it while I was talking to a prospective client on the phone and the direction of the conversation was driving him up the wall. I distinctly remember him trying to control his twitching arm. I never asked him then, but I am sure he wanted to bop me on the head. How do I know? I know, for this is what he wrote: We need this work. Shut up and stop acting tough. Tell them we’ll adjust the number of participants. Close the deal. NOW. The now is underlined like a dozen times. It makes me very happy to know how mad he must have been in that moment.

3. I had no use for the ‘information’ section. A feeling of smug pride pervaded my being. “I was always a twenty- minute egg”, I thought to myself. Ha. A lion doesn’t change his spots.

4. I also had no use for the ‘planner’- you  CANNOT plan day after day of thumb twiddling; ‘travel’- the only travel I did was on the wings of my imagination; ‘finance’- are you making fun of me?; ‘projects’- there were no projects unless stay alive counted as one; ‘notes’- no I had no notes on how to kill yourself with a rope… I don’t like ropes.

5. I did have some furtively scribbled lines in the diary section. Needless to say, I ignored the month tabs entirely… and stuck an irreverent tongue out at the dates as well. I wrote at will. And very proud of it I am too.

6. The only souls in captivity of the ostensible phone book were my father (sos outgoing), my children’s school phone numbers (sos incoming), my home landline number (the catering service) and something/ someone called VVV Oye. For the rest of my life I’ll wonder who VVV Oye was and what killed it.

7. In my usual untidy manner, I have cell numbers jotted all over the margins of the phonebook section. Sometimes with name… mostly without. Why I couldn’t put them down where they might have done me some good is a futile question to ask. All I can say is, I never do the obvious. You have my permission to put that in your pipe and smoke it.

8. There are a couple of doodle on the back page. They look like the path of a drunk centipede. Very charming and elevating.

9. Bang in the middle of one of the pages is this written in letters an inch high- with a broad tipped felt pen with purple ink: Praveen or Vaneshwari. The handwriting is mine, but that doesn’t mean anything. Johnny and I were a TEAM. Like Modesty Blaise and Willie Gravin… you know? Seamless. You’d never have known where I ended and he began if he wasn’t so typically african dark. But I digress. I think the notation was us toying with the idea of diversifying as contract killers. I think it went phut… that idea. Like the rest of ‘em. Sigh.Johnny

10. In the diary section I had written:

Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge in the field of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the Gods.

~ Albert Einstein

Under it were the words- “Yeah. Everybody, his dog and his aunt are spiritual nowadays!  Bloody epidemic! Haaaalppp!!”

11. There was Johnny’s photo tucked between May 3 2006 and May 4 2006. Things like that are NEVER a coincidence, didn’t  you know?

I can see Johnny grinning and saying, “Bahut stress hai!”


Have you clicked on any of the  Johnny hyperlinks yet? Please do. You won’t regret it. I promise you that.