#8 Reflections: An Ode To You

Writing has always been my fear but there are so many words inside of me, waiting for a page to fall on. So this is my attempt to push past this fear — a reflection a day (or maybe a month!) in writing.

It’s been so long since I’ve put pen to paper, or should I say fingertips to keyboard, that I feel like I’ve forgotten how to write.

It almost feels like there’s a disconnect in the part of my brain that usually churns out the deep existential thoughts and writings. I’m lost about what to write but here I am anyway.

When did this all begin though? My first ever journal entry dates back to sometime in 2014. It was in a cheap A4 notebook, filled with dull, textured paper and lines darker than the ink of my pen. One day I decided to open it and write about my day.

Although I don’t remember any momentous event that triggered this idea, what I do recall is, and I’m sure most of my family do too, that one day I woke up with this unfound determination to document my life with the aspirations to, one day, pubish it. I even had the title ready - ‘Dairy of a Young Muslima’. Albeit not the most original of titles, but one that was clearly drawn from 15-year-old me’s 2 main inspirations. 2 books from 2 completely different genres, yet with the same underlying theme — ‘Dairy of a Wimpy Kid’ by Jeff Kinney and the ‘Dairy of a Young Girl -Anne Frank’.

Representation and preservation. Those were the 2 reasons why 15-year old me decided she wanted to start writing. On one hand, she wanted to share with the world who looked at her like an outsider what she was past her clothing and the colour of her skin. And on the other, she saw how a dairy of an ordinary girl became a historical treasure - a resource used by the world to stop them from forgetting their crimes. For although the world says ‘never again’, even she could feel that ‘again’ was possible for people like her. And although the world would try to forget, she wanted to make sure they never could.

The vision was grand, there was purpose in her steps. But she decided not to make it a grand thing.

Actually, rewind.

She couldn’t make it a grand thing. #Asianparents meant grand ideas need to be proven to be grand to be worth investing anything in, which is why she was left with no choice but to pick up the cheap a4 notebook, with dull, textured paper and lines darker than the ink of her pen.

And pick up, she did. Turning over the first page, she stared at the blank page, her pen poised against the page and paused. How does one start a journal entry? ‘Dear Dairy’ crossed her mind for a split second, but that thought was promptly shoved away. For her this was not merely a dairy, this was much more. In the end, she decided beginning with the date was the way, and that’s how The Journal was born.

1 week soon became 1 month which soon became 1 year which soon became 8. That cheap A4 journal gradually turned into a collection of notebooks all shapes and sizes, stuffed onto one cupboard shelf.

On that one cupboard shelf lay the opening and closing of the different chapters of my life — high school, college, university. The memories of joy and heartbreak, of weddings, trips and the mundane schooldays. Although it was the journal by one, it was the story of many. It became a sort of archive collection used not only by myself, but by those close to me as a way to look back in time. Reading back on my journal was a joy and soon it became a family tradition. While most people tended to keep their journals private, mine was made to be read to an audience. An evening trip down memory lane could not end until there was some reading from The Journal.

But as the years went by, my journal became more than just a space to document life. The Journal and myself may have begun as friends, sharing the stories and highlights of life with eachother (one contributing significantly more than the other can I say). But over time we became confidants, sharing what lay behind the stage. And with that my journal soon became my place for healing, clarity and peace too.

This almost seems like an ode to my journal. It sits besides me, pages blank waiting to be filled. It’s been 2 months since I’ve opened it, the longest it’s been.

Maybe thats why I decided to write about you, to remind myself why I began.



I write to make sense of the world, to make sense of myself. Instagram: @neemu.reads

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I write to make sense of the world, to make sense of myself. Instagram: @neemu.reads