After the maid had left, I opened all the doors and windows of my house and let the sunlight pour in, hand in hand with the nippy breeze. I dragged my spare bed and dining table to the rectangular patch of sunlight in the drawing room, lit an agarbatti on the table and lay down. For half an hour, all I did was observe the chiffon smoke emanating from the incense stick.
It twirled languorously, waltzed with itself, and dispersed into nothingness. The breeze played with it, sometimes nudging it towards my face, so that I could imagine it brushing past my cheeks before converging to enter my nostrils. When the smoke had moved lazily for a minute, the breeze came in a gush that sent a single, sharp stream of smoke on an emergency mission in whichever direction it fancied.
The agarbatti steadfastly held on to its ashes till they got to be a big burden, at which point they were dropped unceremoniously. The tip of the agarbatti glowed a fiery red for an instant when the ashes fell, and then returned to a resigned orange veiled in brownish-grey.
The sun and the breeze felt really good against my nose and my toes. The performance of the agarbatti reminded me that I must drift in whatever direction the breeze takes me, and must be prepared to drop all my baggage in one painful but liberating instance.