I sold my most intimate thoughts to the raddiwala. Funny, they weighed so heavily in my heart and I could get only ₹4.50 from their sale. Now my hidden desires will be displayed, not even as themselves in a gallery for people to discern, or online in a blog, but publicly circulated as a footnote. I sold them to be used as wrapping paper and in lieu of tissue paper: someone eating hot pakoras will see my oil-stained handwriting, someone opening up a pack of sweet orange-slice-shaped candy they paid for based on weight will be subjected to my sticky personal reflections from year ’99 to ’02.
It is a befitting end to them. Isn’t that what I did to my actual feelings, my actual self during that time? And continue to do to the memory of myself? Dismissed those feelings as unreal, immature teen angst? That first unrequited, to-die-for love as puppy love, infatuation? That avatar of my self-righteous rebel self as an underdeveloped nobody suspended between childhood and adolescence? Did I not laugh at the younger me? Did I not mock that version of me in my own mind? Did I not crush and crumple, shred and discard? Then what significance do those thoughts penned on paper, in my swirly teenage handwriting have?
Now every stranger will have a page from my book. My story will be read while munching on messy snacks, the eaters/readers forced to wonder how the rest of the story turned out, twisting their heads and searching for answers… to questions I never defined myself. Strangers who unwittingly purchased pakoras wrapped in pain, khopra-mithai lined with angst.
Let my thoughts be read by all or never read at all: oil-stained, sticky, crumpled, shredded, and thrown away in a heap with miscellaneous garbage and other people’s thoughts, to be burned in the night, polluting the city air with urges unfulfilled. A befitting end.