Apart from a book to read, a diary to write and one to make lists in, I also in my bag carry a green pen that opens to be a pair of scissors and a green stapler. I carry period cramp medicines, some for cold and fever. A big tampon. A small one. A tooth brush, a nail cutter, perfume and some talcum powder. “Your bag looks so heavy. Why do you carry that much around? Actually what do you even carry?” I carry red, pink, blue, orange, brown, black Steadler pens. I don’t carry the purple one. I carry some tea bags. My check-book since demonetisation and kajal. Ofcourse kajal and peach lip-balm.
I also carry a pink sock for when I am Cast Away on an island without a football for a friend. You must always prepare for the island.
Take counsel from me; I spend my nights stranded on islands of borrowed beds. Of friends. Of families I adopted. Anyone who will keep me from spending a night in my bed alone. Whether I am alone or if the bed has come to stand for loneliness, I can almost not tell. Lonliness. Or the memory of it. From another time when little Prachi locked herself in a room and cried. Alone enough to not have cried to anyone. And this is big Prachi, putting memories in words in a belief that it comes true that way. To beat into her head, in words, the distinction between ‘being on my own’ and ‘being lonely’. The difference in them of helplessness. Of choice. Sorry, the idea of it. Next time you decide to sleep in your bed ‘on your own’, know this dear Prachi. Breathe.