I come back from Jowai with a gold ring on my finger- I’ve never ever had one before- and I think about its weight, workmanship, its symbolic importance before society. I walk down the same roads as I have done a thousand times before and something is very different about them now. But they aren’t, I know. It is just a layer, a new skin that has refracted the sights coming into me. I am going to my mother’s house- first time after my wedding- and I hail a cab going to Polo. I had always, in earlier years, avoided that route because a part of me believed that the Bazaar was only ever the haunt of decrepit dkhars and dark-eyed CRPF thugs. My shiny gold ring makes me think about them again. Onwards, onwards then to my mother’s home! Sharing an auto to Mawlai; its seats soaked in bidi smoke and sweat, its occupants swearing and intoxicated, boxed in like fish.