From Twinkle, With LoveBy: Sandhya Menon
Monday, June 1
Hello, namaste, buenos dias, and bonjour, Mira Nair!
Name: Twinkle Mehra
Occupation: Sadly, a junior at Pikes Peak Charter in Colorado Springs. And ugh, the only one who’s still sixteen. Mummy and Papa obviously thought they’d birthed a prodigy when they stuck me in kindergarten a whole year early … ha. But that doesn’t matter. If you learn only one thing about me, it’s that I think I have a filmmaker’s soul. Like you, Mira. There are so many universes I want to explore with my camera.
BFF: Maddie Tanaka. Well, used to be, anyway. Now it’s … complicated.
Crush: Duh. Neil Roy. Since forever.
So, now that we’re acquainted, can I just say that I’m a huuuuge fan? Like, the biggest. I mean, okay, I’m not deluded. I know you’re never going to read this in a million years. But somehow, writing to you in here feels like you’re listening.
This diary was a birthday present from Dadi, by the way. She was all, “Take this, Twinkle. Put the words of your heart in the pages as you put the images of your heart in your movies.” As far as grandmothers go, she’s pretty cool (and pretty kooky, but that’s a story for another day). Anyway, it sat in my desk drawer for about nine months, but then I thought, Why not? What’s it going to hurt to try to journal? I thought writing to my fave female filmmakers would be way more fun than writing to myself. Or to one of Dadi’s “soul bearers from beyond the veil.” (Too long of a story to go into right now.)
Some might call people like me losers. I myself prefer the term “groundlings.” See, in Shakespearean times, these were the poor people who would have to stand in the front of the stage and got called out (unfairly, IMO) for being rowdy and smelly and having the mange or whatnot. And then there were the snooty people in the back, who got to sit in, like, covered areas and look down at the groundlings and feel all superior in their silk feathered hats. But Shakespeare would never have gotten famous if he hadn’t appealed to the groundlings.
Here’s a little secret, though: I wouldn’t completely mind if I were something other than a groundling. It’s not like I’m silk feathered hat material or anything, but still. To be even one social status level above the one I am right now would change my life because I’m pretty sure it would give me my best friend—who is now definitely one of the silk feathered hats—back. And bonus: It would help transform me from Invisible Twinkle to someone people recognize, maybe even someone who tells stories others want to hear.
So now I’m sitting here in homeroom and Hannah Macintosh just took off her six-hundred-dollar shoes (I know because she told the entire class that’s how much they cost in Milan) to show Victoria Lyons her pedicure. If I were a teeny bit braver, I’d go over there and ask, “Hey, Hannah, did you steal those shoes? I only ask because it seems you like taking things that don’t belong to you, like my best friend.” Maybe I’ll ask Dadi if she knows any incantations that’ll grow me a courage gland.
Oops, there’s the bell. More soon.
Still Monday, June 1
Hey-o, Sofia Coppola.
I’m sitting here trying not to expire of totalicus boredumus while Mrs. Mears explains the life cycle of the royal walnut moth, aka Citheronia regalis, aka kill me now. And you wanna know what Maddie’s doing?
Drawing a six-color diagram of said life cycle. With gel pens. I guess she doesn’t make mistakes? Even Mrs. Mears, the biologist, didn’t draw us a diagram. But Maddie probably wants to be thorough. Oh, and she’s written her name at the top of the page with her new markers (she gets new stationery and school supplies as often as regular people get new … Um, actually, I don’t know where I was going with that. She just gets them a lot), along with the date, and underlined everything three times.
Maddie wants to be a physician-scientist. Yeah, that’s really a thing. Being a plain old doctor or a plain old scientist isn’t challenging enough, so she decided she wants to combine them. But I’m thankful. Because if I ever get a rare disease that causes my butt to break out in fluorescent hives or something totally rando like that, I know Maddie’s the only one who could save me. She’s sort of a genius.