We sold our car today.
Technically, we sold it last week, but it was picked up today. And with this one event I feel a hollowness of loss for the first time about a possession. Or for the first time that I remember. I must have felt it before in my 34 years of existence. It wasn’t even my car. Before feminists or women or whosoever barges in, what I buy, with my earnings, is mine. This was my husband’s car. I accompanied him, as his girlfriend, 8 years ago, to choose cars. I remember him being so decided that this one was his, and I remember me, shrugging my shoulders and saying your call. I remember him stating earlier that day or week that he wanted a sedan, and me saying but no, hatchbacks are so much smarter and cooler. He bought a sedan. And then I went away, rather ‘us’ went away for a few years, and then I came back… I work from home, he drives to work. On the weekend I say, let me drive, you must be tired from driving in this traffic all week… he replies, but I like driving.
So, it wasn’t really my car. But I felt a hollow sense of loss that started building slowly, like those monsoons clouds, greying up my horizon from yesterday when he entered home and said, hey they (the new owners) called, and they want to pick it up tomorrow. Tomorrow, I whispered, but we’d said over the weekend, no? Well, we’ve got their money, so it should go to them right? He stated. I nodded. I stumbled around for reasons that the car should stay on with us, a few days longer, but found none. And he met each of them with a wry smile… and sometimes a shrug. Today when the new owner texted saying that he was on his way, the hollow feeling from yesterday crept back. It wasn’t even my car. My husband wasn’t affected, either yesterday or today. And it is his car.
The memories with this car are mine, as memories aren’t identical twins. Numerous road trips across India, including the one on 15th August, the day after he picked up the brand new car. Alibaug, Kashid, Nasik, Bordi, Khopoli, a couple of trips to Goa and Nasik, Purushwadi, the Konkan Coast, Belgaum, Pattadakal, Aihole, Hampi and multiple trips to Pune. All those trips birthed stories… of getting lost, having punctures, going in circles, chatting endlessly like we would never run out of conversation, and singing, badly but loudly, and falling in love with India and the notion of ‘us’. Travels that dragged friends along, that squeezed in family, that lead to surprise parties, and sometimes a few unexpected car buddies. There were also long drives across this city, to buy something, to eat our favourite chaat, to experience New Year celebrations at Marine Drive, for an icecream or just simply, for a drive. We moved houses twice in this car, loaded all our plants, precious cargo we didn’t want to give the professional movers. We’ve fought in the car. For sure. Though I don’t ever remember slamming the door, or being unhappy, sad in the car. But I must have. Memories that today seem to be a thing of the past that has moved away, and is no longer with me. Maybe I’m trying to hold on, to another me from an earlier time. Maybe…
This morning, my maid saw CDs and knick-knacks from the car lying in two bags to one corner of the house. Normally there are no bags lying around so she asked, what is this? We’re selling the car, I said. You have a car? I looked out of the balcony and pointed to a black sedan and said, yes, something like that. Then why do you walk such long distances? Take the car. She had dreams, of a better tomorrow, but here I was living that better tomorrow but not using it. I was walking like she walked, when she dreamed that one day she wouldn’t.
We sold our car today. And as it left the building I found myself thinking of all my possessions that tie me down. Would I cry the day we sold this house? I thought of that man from Rajasthan who played his ek tara and sang far away from his city. He carried all he needed in a bag, a small green bag that maybe even my weekly groceries wouldn’t fit in. But giving it all up, so that I can carry my world in a suitcase doesn’t dissolve the thirst for possession. All our lives we move towards ownership; tangible and intangible. The tangible ones are starting at me in the face. The intangible ones are deep within me. That friendship which isn’t the same anymore. Is me seeking love and fidelity from my husband another version of possession? What about my body that doesn’t work the way I demand it to… What is possession?
It feels like the opposite of freedom. It is all that ties me down. This desire to have, to want, to expect. But I don’t wish to feel so unconnected with everything around me that nothing touches, nothing inflicts a wound, that I never feel that deep sinking loss. I want that feeling of loss, for it is as beautiful as the high that came before. To never experience loss might mean to not experience anything… But do I ever really possess anything in this world… even my body isn’t mine! Then what’s the shell of a house!
Maybe I just want to handle it all better? Maybe I’m just confusing issues. Maybe I’m overthinking.
We only sold our car today.