I went to my parents’ for lunch today. I usually do this on Sundays, but today they had made a special effort for some guests. There was vegetable fried rice with roast cashews and raisins; cashew nut curry; ala thel dhala; chicken curry and fish curry (both mirisata); an unusual prawn starter made with peaches, prawns and lettuce; a mixed summer salad, and lamprais of two varieties (traditional mixed meat, and chicken). My housemate (let’s call him Indika) and his girlfriend (lets call her Supipi) and a dear friend from school (Kat) came around after my parents’ guests left and helped to finish off the food.
It was a lazy Sunday afternoon peppered with suburban showers and scrabble on the veranda. My octogenarian grandma joined in. The one truly sad thing about moving out of my parents’ house is not being able to see her often. Time is so cruelly limited.
Before I left home, I saw my old diary in my room and I chucked it in the car.
In the evening, Kat and I bought Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and watched it at hers. Biscuits joined us, as did Kat’s sister for a late evening cigarette and chat in the garden. Biscuits had a runny nose and a box of tissues. The suggestion of Samahan and kottha malli was met with obstinacy. We had some tuna pie.
When I got home at 11pm, I opened up the old diary. It was like skinny-dipping in memories. It was packed full of old letters from close friends and ex-girlfriends, notes from university and sketches I had drawn: times when I was angry, sad, perplexed, intrigued, satisfied, worried, scared, and one particular time when I must have been just plain stoned. It was a strange mix in a way, but comforting as well – reading each entry was like meeting an old friend you had not met in a decade that you need a little time to get to know again. There was innocence, ambition, hope and perhaps a good deal of raw naïveté in those pages. (Maybe when I read this blog years from now, I will think of this entry in the very same way).
The heady nostalgia of reliving old feelings and experiences and thoughts, and remembering what I was like before A-Levels, at university, and after, was summed up best in a quote by J.M Barrie. My first girlfriend had penned it beautifully in the first page of the diary which was a gift from her:
“The life of everyman is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it.”