by SA Sneha
Dear My First Book,
I vividly remember the day I managed to bring you home. Naturally, I was intrigued by you. But, I was skeptical of borrowing you from the school library. The library had so many versions of you that had been passed through hundreds of hearts over the years. But, I didn’t want someone else’s version of you. I didn’t want to have rusty pages with yellow undertones. The thought of me sharing my experience with others was not something that made me happy. I wanted a new one, solely mine. I felt this was necessary for us to have a relationship, just you and me.
Then finally, I saved up enough and placed an order. The saving process was easy, yet hard. I used to get an allowance for different purposes, mostly for stationary purchases, sometimes for ice creams outside the school. I saved some of this money, and when it was enough, the next moment, the order was placed.
Every 10 minutes, I would check my phone and track where you’ve reached. I just couldn’t wait. Then, one night, you arrived. You came with the amazon delivery agent, in a greyish cover. The first thing I did was open you and stared at your cover. The smile of Anne on the cover made me so sad. I knew that the smile and the bright reds and blacks on the cover would soon fade into the pale emotions of grief. This wasn’t a surprise to me. I knew I was on a journey whose climax I already knew. After seeing your cover, I could not go ahead. I pushed you aside to the nightstand because there was a plan.
A well-thought-out one. For me to read you, there should be complete silence so that I can just get to know you more and more. You might be wondering, how do I know so much before wandering through your pages? Because I chose you. In my entire life, you were the first choice I was allowed to make. Now, I’m a little proud that my first choice was you, The diary of a Young Girl.
Yes, I owe my reading love to Anne Frank, just like so many of us out there.
But, what I didn’t know was, I had signed up for an overwhelming emotional ride for the next few nights.
Some days I would smile and fantasize about the beauty of relationships. The way Anne went on exploring her teenage and her sexual being. The stigma around sexuality and the punch down everyone received when they chose to explore themselves as a sexual being made me question if I chose to do something remotely like that.
And, some days, I would cry myself to sleep. The relationship of Anne with her mom always comforted me. The days when she thought her mom did not love enough, I had never felt so touched by emotion before. I was in a love-hate relationship with my mother those years. I was always guilt-driven that I am condemning a relationship, that everyone around me felt divine. But, you helped me come out of that guilt. You helped me understand it’s just a phase. But what I am sad about is, Anne could never come out of that phase; she could never reconcile with her mom.
While I look back now, the teenage years were a time of loneliness, where I couldn’t find myself. Even if I could, I simply couldn’t accept myself for what I was. I did not match the ideal expectations of a good girl. Why am I not passing the moral parameters of others? What makes me, if not what these people tell me? When these questions couldn’t be put to rest, Anne stepped in, shared her story through you, with me, and shouted in my ears, ‘That’s who you are, and you’re not alone!”
But, unfortunately, I have never managed to go back to you again, until recently, I opened you to put this letter together. The memories I have shared with you in your diary have often been too much for me to handle. It was not easy for me to accept myself without layers of filters. The thought of me being myself, and seeing them again, was the scariest for me to do.
Now, when I went back. I opened you again, some tears overflowed. I couldn’t stop seeing me in you while I went through the hardest times. But, this time, the cry was not of pity but of joy. The joy that I’ve moved on and evolved. The thought that I’ve worked hard and come up to where I am today gives me calm. More than the calmness, I’m proud. Proud of myself that I pushed through it all. Today, I don’t look down upon it but embrace it, for, without that day, I would not have been here whatsoever.
Anne, I would just like to thank you for two things in my life. Thank you for being my friend in the times when I was at my lowest. You taught me that words could make the best of friends. From you, I have made many friends on my way here, fictional and real. And, thank you for letting your voice reach me. The power of your words has helped me weave waves of happiness and pushed me to believe.
It is wonderful that some of the best days of my life haven’t happened yet.