In the middle of November, I walk out of the mall under the yellow lights all over, warm and rebellious, pushing back as much as they can on the blue that has begun to set in regardless. Despite my asking it to be lukewarm, the cup of coffee in my hand is piping, and I can barely take a sip. So now, this vital beverage has been reduced to a prop. I walk with it and hail a rickshaw because the cabs won’t arrive, not in these clogged, festival-driven streets. There is little to no haggling; then, we are on our way. I still cannot sip the coffee—steam continues to escape the cup. I do not worry anymore. I have accepted it as one accepts a hat they have not worn for a long time, or perhaps, fate. It is not in my control, and I would not blame the barista. Special requests are special because they are often only honoured during peace. In the rush of incoming winter, in the flurry of festivals, in the city still talking about the robbery from last week, there is no moment of quiet. Everything is enraptured in the excitement of the moment—rare times, these. It has otherwise been a mellow year.
By the time the evening rolls into the night with a drizzle, I have only one thought, and articulating it may not be the easiest thing to do. It is the soft comfort of not having your head under the guillotine of grandiosity anymore. It is the ecstatic feeling of being a part of the world—not in some central, significant scheme of things, but as a bystander, as one person of many in a post-impressionist painting, faceless, nameless, but present. We get what we never wanted, which is what all lives are about. A good character ends up exactly where they started from, but with the understanding that they were not meant to be anywhere else in the first place. All the journey does is show a mirror or a way back.
Today, you could change my name and put someone else in my stead, and it would all play out similarly, albeit with slight differences in our mannerisms, which we can chalk up to random error. But most of the moment would stay intact. It is an absurd thing to be excited about—being invisible—but you would be shocked if I told you:
It all began with a desire to stand out.