Dunia is the private weekly journal of a girl born with disability, who uses a wheelchair and a respiratory ventilator machine yet is no different to any other person, read about her struggle, tribulation as she strives to seek independence. The character and events of the journal are pure fiction and bear no relation to anyone.
Oh… nope… this won’t do. Let me start again.
Dear… hmmm… who? I always used to read novels in which the protagonist would keep a diary and would address it as such-‘Dear Diary’. But that to me seems so impersonal and cold, a bit like our society, which I want to escape through this venture of personal writing. I have never thought about keeping a diary or even writing my private thoughts for a few reasons; if you write something it becomes more real, and I have always tried to retreat into my imaginary world which offered me protection and hope. Plus, I often think, ‘What would I write?’ My life lacks the excitement I read about in books; it is rather simple and routine-based. So what would I write? The most important thing for me is my physical ability (not great). I rely on my mother, family, helpers and carers to bring things to me and store them back on shelves, drawers, cupboards, etc. So how can I trust anyone with my diary that has deep thoughts and emotions that I want to keep to myself? Human curiosity can’t be contained no matter how good and honest is the person; isn’t it natural to be intrigued by very personal writing, especially if it is written by someone you have come to consider to be your ‘private property’!
But suddenly, I realised why I am obsessed with how things are supposed to be done; yes, stories (and maybe history?) give us a very romanticised idea of diaries. But mine should be real and reflective of me. The laptop diary! That is the perfect solution, word document rather than pretty little rectangular shape book with lock on the side, instead of the cute key lock I will have a password that no one will know. Yes, it is different but that is me, I always have to find alternative ways to experience what many others take for granted.
Ah, I forgot to mention that I was born with physical disability. I mentioned it in passing before without divulging into details, but is it such an important piece of information? Does it make a difference and should you, my ‘diary’, know that? Maybe not, as I have only just ‘met’ you. Argh!!! I still haven’t figured out a name for you, I don’t feel comfortable with ‘diary’ – it’s like seeing a person and referring to it as human all the time without personification. You will be my soul mate, so let me introduce my other soul mates alongside you: well there is Wheelie, my electric wheelchair. She is very kind and quite a free soul; then there is also Nippy, my ventilator – she is super special. I always feel safe when she is around and gives me real feelings of strength and protection. She is like the cuddly toy people take to bed with them. Nippy, I use at night as soon as I am in bed until I get up in the morning. It helps me breathe as my lung muscles are super forgetful (not to mention lazy), so when I sleep or if I exert energy they get tired and almost go on strike, but then Nippy comes and pumps air into them and makes them work.
Let me think – who else must you know about? Laptop, ipod and mobile phone are my best friends too, and then we have little collection of cuddly dolls/figures. So now you have met my worldly goods we can…WAIT! I have found the perfect name for you. ‘Dunia’! ‘Dear Dunia’ sounds so perfect! ‘Dunia’ means ‘the world’ in Arabic, Urdu, Farsi and several other languages. So you will become my exclusive world that no one else will enter without my approval, my Dunia.