Good Days


It’s one thing when you’re cruising on a steady honk, going wham wham past everything, and one thing else when you go slow and easy, reading number plates, matching them with a number inside your head.
“2219, na?!” Pannoo shouts. “2219! I found it!” His hand flies off the steering wheel and flaps in the air.
Chuchu’s on the passenger seat. He leans into Pannoo’s side of the windscreen. “Where?” he asks.
“Ha! That’s 22-7-9!” I say, laughing. “You so chutiya Pannoo!”
Pannoo realizes he’s misread. Chuchu sees it too. For two seconds it’s like our brains are parked. Chuchu lets out a grunt.
“Can’t you READ?” I laugh louder. “Oye Pannoo, you smoked UP? Chuchu, you should get somebody who can READ.” I feel a surge of happiness for saying this to Pannoo, to his face, to his fucking chicken chutiya face I love to loathe.
It gets him all right. He turns around and I see my face—a blue twisted oval—in his big bad shades.
“What happened, mister chut?” I smile. “Are you trying to scare me? Hoohoohoo, I’m scared.”
He keeps looking at me—for three seconds straight. The car is moving at a good 30 or 40 or something. It scares me a little. This chutiya is capable of all things. And like that: ALL things. Days back, he bit off somebody’s earlobe in a friendly scuffle and then spit the piece of the guy’s ear into his palm. I don’t want him to keep looking at my face so I point to the windscreen and shout, “Watch it!” And that does it—he hits the brakes without even turning around. The car screech-stops in the middle of the road and for half a second we are eating the air from the shock. Then we are banged in by something. My face hits the seat and I get a rash knock in my jawbone.
I turn around and see the traffic curving around our car. But there’s nothing behind us.
“Nothing happened, right?” I ask.
Pannoo’s hands are clamped on the steering wheel. “Shut him up, Chuchu,” he says. Clearly, he doesn’t care what we’ve hit.
“Shut up you both—” says little Chuchu, acting like our big brother. He gets out of the car; I follow.
I find a motorcycle half-buried beneath the rear of our car. Chuchu’s helping a middle-aged man stand up. The man’s short and fat and looks like a tree stump; clumps of hair climbing out of his open shirt collar, and a lush beard cropped close to his face. It’s a nice beard, actually; I’d like to have one like it one day. I pull out the motorcycle from under the car and walk it to him on the footpath. It’s all scratched up from the side.
I pat the man on his shoulder in a friendly way, “Just watch how you drive.”
“Did I say anything to you, HAAN!” He yells. “Did I say it was YOUR mistake!” He’s angry at us for something else I feel. Some anger already inside him boils its way into his voice. He looks funny, like a fuming truck. I look at him for two seconds and then I start laughing. He twists his mouth a little and stares at me.
“You have a nice beard,” I say, laughing.
That’s when people start gathering. What happened? What happened?
We return to the car, leaving the guy holding his arm.
I am still laughing.
“What? Any trouble?” Pannoo asks.
No answer.
“Why is he laughing? What’s so funny?” Pannoo asks again.
“Nothing. The man’s hurt his arm,” replies Chuchu.
“What was he saying? Did he ask for money?”
Chuchu doesn’t reply.
“Are you going to tell me—what was the man SAYING?” Pannoo asks again.
“He was saying NOTHING!” Chuchu bursts out. “Let’s find the fucking car, shall we?”
He gets like this, Chuchu; hurts and smarts like a fucking human being. Still too soft for our kind of work.

The plan is simple: to make it impossible to locate 2219. That’s my ticket to watch Chief getting kicked in the balls, and, who knows, to put an end to this company.
This company has a name: Chief Security Services, but when Chief and I started out, we used to call it Uchakkas—very loosely, The Lifters. The company’s task is to locate and recover cars that are on the List.
The List comes from the bank; of cars whose installments have not come in for three months or more. We have the bank’s license and court’s permit but at the end of the day, it’s a private business. That is, nobody’s going to step in and save us if somebody sends a bamboo ripping up through our ass and beyond. Get this: nobody. The good thing is we have guns and can shoot in self-defense. We have court protection for that.
How I joined this business is a story. I was out of college and doing nothing when Chief asked me to become a partner in his company. That was two years back. It would be just the two of us, he said. We’ll keep it low key; share the profits—forty, sixty. Forty percent looked good to me, especially because I was not doing any of the accounts or anything in the office. He explained how it worked. He got me a gun, the permits, and for transport we were going to ride his bike. We were set.
Our first case, we were looking for a maroon Nissan Sunny that had vanished; no traces. We had tried the standard methods: called the guy up, said words to the women in the house, sent a few drunken boys to smash a few things outside his house, but the bastard knew somebody who knew somebody-lawyer who sent legal notice to the bank for harassment who sent bamboos up our chutes and we had to stop the indirect methods. Then one day early in the morning, too early, Chief called and said he had picked up the trail of the car.
When we got there we found the car outside the man’s house; his wife was in the driver’s seat, brushing her cheek with blush-on when Chief walked up from the side and pulled out the gun at her. She howled, and flashed her nail-polished hands at his face. He backed up a couple of steps and kicked the side of the door, and yelled at her out of his gut, his sticky early morning spit flying out of his mouth. When she stepped out of the car, Chief caught her arm and yanked her aside and got into the car. He was about to turn the ignition when a stinking meat-heap of a man walked out the door with a pistol hanging in his hand. He pointed it at Chief’s car but before he could fire, I fired two shots in the air. He sneaked back in the door and fired at my bike. I didn’t get hit but the fucker tried. We drove off to the police station to get the FIR registered and report the car as Recovered. That was the first case, and it taught me my most important lesson: even when it gets messy, get out as cleanly as possible.
But I knew nothing about the insides of the business, did not know how much money we were making. I just kept what he gave. But then I noticed him get rich: in three months he got a new bike and in nine months he got his new car. On my side, in nine months I had just enough to get comfortable on a new bike; sure, I had other expenses, but I could not afford a new car, no way. So I told Chief it doesn’t look to me to be adding up. He got angry without even asking what I meant and shot back saying that I was accusing him of stealing the money. I said I said no such thing but in all that shouting he let on that he had been keeping a percentage for the office and extra for his wages as an accountant and manager and other things. Then he started pulling out the account books and tried explaining everything. But by that point I just didn’t care. I knew he was cheating. Then I got loud and he lost it and then we fought properly without any holding back.
That same day I fought with A—.
A— was this girl I had lost my head for. I was blinded by her, but I did not know what I wanted from her except that I wanted her completely. She told me to quit this job and find something else. I tried to explain to her that this work, yes, it looked dirty, was totally legal. I even showed her the license and court permits for everything. She did not agree. Came a point when she said she was going to marry somebody else. It was her age to get married and I wasn’t looking like a good idea to her. I was pieces.
As I said, we had this conversation the same day I had fought with Chief and for a month, I didn’t go to work or wash my face; just kept trying to understand why this happened or that happened. I still don’t understand.
When I went back, Chief told me I was no longer required at the company—and I should at least wash my face before showing up for work. He told me firmly, You are a bloody nobody around here. The company owes you nothing. Go.
He thought that I’d feel angry and insulted and quit the job, but I was hungry and tired thinking about A— and why she did what she did and who the fuck was she going to marry and why. I did not say anything to Chief. I turned around and apologized instead. He was so surprised that for three seconds he said nothing and looked at my face to see if I was being funny. Then he said, Fine. I don’t hold grudges and don’t want you to have any either. If you need work you can work for commission like other boys. Just that you are no partner remember. And you can be fired like other boys.
I knew other boys can be fired for No Reason.
That’s how. That’s how he insulted me. But I knew I was tired and hungry and so I kept quiet and asked him if he had 5000 rupees I could borrow for a couple of days. He gave me the money and shook my hand.
That day on, he kept things uneasy: kept me out of important cases, delayed my payments, and once even offered that I could take a little bonus for all my previous work—as a token of his love—and go find work somewhere else. It was tempting—all that free, extra money—but I told him, No, I am happy to work for commission just like the other boys. It gives me a job.
I gave him no reason to be unhappy. My car recovery ratio was a shocking 100%. And one day, I was told I was being put on the Team for Special Cases. Chief was expanding his business. Instead of recovering all the cars, I’d have to bring a few marked ones to the workshop, where after the necessary rebranding, Chief was going to sell them to Important Clients. It was a good business model: instead of turning them defaulted cars to the bank, you sell them instead (change the number plate, make new papers, all those et ceteras) at a fraction of the price. The police would treat it as stolen. The bank could claim its money from the insurance, and nobody’s going to ever find the car.
I took over the work happily. The 2219 case was the first one and I knew it was time to make up for my missing forty percent.
And everything else.

The car smells sweet and blurry. Pannoo takes a drag while studying the backside of the Honda Civic in front of us. His face is pretty fucked. He’s Chief’s right-hand man. He gets to oversee the Special Cases.
On my right, a driver’s half-drowsy half-nasty eyes are looking at me. He’s got a brick brown face, a thick mustache creeping up his unshaven cheeks. I know what he’s seeing-thinking, seeing-thinking with all the smoke inside our car—ah, all the sweetly wafting smoke—I know he sees-thinks us to be a bunch of smoked-up bastards. Bastards he’s telling us, look. BASTARD he’s calling me. BASTARD!
I stop my thoughts and look deep into his right eye and load my face like I want to spit into his eyes and say “FUCK YOUR MOTHER YOU MOTHERFUCKINGING-INGG—” but that’s when I see a large cooking pot wobbling down the footpath behind him, spraying hot steaming chickpeas from its lidless mouth. A boy, young, tenish, runs after the pot. He slaps it on the head and it falls on its mouth with a loud metallic gulp. The chickpeas spill out on the road. The boy squats and starts to sweep them all wet and muddy into his palms. His face is sticky and dusty with sweat. He looks like he’ll break into tears.
I have SEEN this bugger—fucker—before! Haha, he does these tears pretty well. Cars slow down, people pause to look. Once enough people are around, he lifts up his kurta, and lets the blood-seeping, whip-stripes on his back show. He tells you that he works for a contractor, who is his father or his uncle, who whips him for fucking up. You’d think his father/uncle/contractor beats his skin white with a hot ladle for spilling the stuff on the road. Yes, you’d think of a hot-ladled father-contractor-uncle yelling at the kid—You fucker! You motherfucker! Oyeyooooooou! Tha. Tha. Haha.
If I could get out now—right NOW—if I could—I’d knock his face off his shoulders and bang it into the tarmac. Blood’d pool around his head and roll into the road cracks, leave a dark patch when dry and turn into tar. Everything you leave on the road turns like that, first dark then tar—that’s how a fresh yellow banana gets killed on the road: it vomits its pulp, then turns black, then dry black and then nothing. NOTH—
“Look carefully now. We must find the car today, this is the most probable route.”
“Keep in the center lane, keep looking, this is the route,” Chuchu tells Pannoo, me, anybody.
The smoke rolls upward, unscrewing the tight spaces at its center and blurring the off-white matt-leather seat in front of me. I feel the hit in my head. I start missing her and the dark. My hands miss her. I miss her wet and vicious in that dark landing, doors of empty apartments on both sides. She smelled of sweat and sadness and patches of muffled strawberry perfume. She kissed me but without greed and with immense sadness. I miss her with all the memory in my muscles.
I close my eyes and recline my head against the seat. With my dick so hard, I just got to go to sleep I think.

I got my revenge with A—. I stalked her for weeks, showed up outside her college, phoned incessantly at her home number, called and yelled her close friends for being the reason of our breakup and sprayed the walls with her address and phone numbers so that all the dicks hanging out of pants everywhere could go and bang at her door and make her feel like without me she was just a slut in hell. I just stamped and stamped her with my boot. Her parents had to get their home phone number changed and change the college she went to.
Haha. She was hot.
There is another girl now. S—. My bedroom window opens into her grandmother’s bedroom. That’s how we first said Hello. That first look and I knew she was warm and salty and just right for me. So later when I found her going down the stairs, I tried to make eye contact but she ignored her way past me. Then another time I just stopped her and told my name and said I wanted to be friends. She smiled, said, Thank you, and disappeared. Came one day in the afternoon when I accidentally ran into her. She was sitting alone on the apartment stairs, humming some old Bollywood song. I started talking to her and that was it. From that day, we met every day in the afternoons on the stairs. I am here to live with my grandmother for a few months, she said. Till her parents returned. They were away trying out another city for a few months to see how it suits them to move for good. That was her story, she said.
She was different from A—. She didn’t have anger. She was happy. Happier than happy. Her dark brown curly hair smelled of fresh shampoo and she had stories—of her little kid brother, of her mother’s trunk whose inside nobody has seen, of her grandmother’s belief that you should not cut your nails at night, or drop them on bare floor, because that affects your health and wealth. I laughed when she told me this about her grandmother. I asked her if she believed such things. She looked at me with a quizzed face—she said, Aren’t stories always true? I said, I don’t understand. So she told me this story of a sorceress who turns her husband, the mighty Emperor, into stone, and visits him every evening so that she could feed him with her hands and talk to him and hear him recite poetry to her. “She did that out of love. Because when he was the Emperor he was High and Mighty and did not care much about how she loved him. When he turned into an invalid she could take care of him. You see? She did that out of love. Love makes you want to possess people. It makes you destroy the other person.” I didn’t understand what the hell she meant in that story but for half a second I felt whipped at the back of my neck with the steel part of a belt. (I once got that in a fight.) It got me thinking about A—, about what I did to her. Did I hurt her so that she could know how much I loved her?
Afternoons, S— and I sat on the stairs and laughed in low voices, and hummed Bollywood songs. In the fuzzy darkness of the apartment landings, her skin glowed and her eyes were always thinking something up. Up close, she was warmer than I had thought from the distance, but shockingly, I could never touch her. I never understood why.
She touched me. But it was different. When she touched, it left me muddled with feelings that I had never felt. “Why is your eye so red?” she’d ask, placing her fingers below the eye; or, “Do you have fever?” the back of her hand on my forehead, on the side of my neck. They were not touches that wanted to possess someone. My feelings kept welling up. I did not dare touch her back because I knew if I touched her, my touch would be different. It would break—something is going to happen to her, but more importantly, to myself first.
It scared me to realize I could not touch her without damaging her.
But yesterday, we met on the landing. Her grandmother was in the neighbor’s house. She told me it was her last day. Her parents are going to return and she will go away to another city. That we should do something. She looked at me intensely but I did not know what she meant. Then suddenly she pressed my face in her hands and then before I had finished drawing breath, her mouth was on mine. Her skin, her hair and warm smell and sadness. I exploded. I put my hand around her waist and then gathered my fingers in the small of her back. All I could think of was A—, how hard I was to her—HARD. And how gently this girl touches me. I held her to the wall and was kissing her neck when her little brother shouted, “Oye! Kia karta hai!” After that I only remember her grandmother’s large melting eyes.

We’re at a traffic signal. From Chuchu’s face it looks like he’s crushing something behind his eyes. He’s handsome in a black shirt, collar stiff and alert, soaking up the sweat coursing down his temples. I turn around to find the chickpea boy. Too late. But somewhere behind us he’s still filling up his palms with chickpeas, wet and muddy, that he’ll reheat and resell hot and steaming. I bet he will. And you will eat. Haha.
The girl in the car next door is wearing a sea-green sleeveless kameez. She’s looking ahead with her elbow out of the car. Her glowing neck is bare and white. I stare into it. Taut white glowing neck, I’d like to eat. She glances toward me and pauses half-smile. I wonder how we look to her: our heads like fish floating in an aquarium. She must be thinking of something to herself. Something about the boy who could touch her, who was allowed to touch her up in all the places. The soft cusp in her arms, white and warm. And her neck, the most eatable curve you’ll dig your teeth into...
That chutiya Pannoo still has the joint. “Give it to me,” I rap the seat near his shoulder. “And turn up the window. You are fucking up.” The window’s already up, I know. I just want to be a bastard to him. I want him to say something to me, something that angers me enough to crack his head open.
The joint’s gone in a suck. I’m still hungry. Things taste sweeter when you have some hunger left to linger. You feel it hunting your head for buried things; digging into the fractures of your brain with its sharpened nails. It makes your breath warm and greedy.
The signal’s green now. The girl next door is thumping the horn with the meat of her palm. Cars spill forward. We get ahead of her but then—she turns—left. I feel my pit turn into stone—
“2219! I saw it!” I yell. “To the left! Behind us!”
“Behind, behind us! Quick!”
“We cannot turn now!”
Pannoo hits the brakes and the accelerating cars behind us screech into each other.
“Fuck! FUCK!” I hear at least three quick blows; the Suzuki pickup behind us takes hits, but we feel it.
“Pannoo! BHANCHAUD!” Chuchu shouts and pulls out his gun. He turns on his seat and sits on his knees. Some cars go past us but the road before us all of a sudden is empty. Pannoo hits the accelerator and we lurch into the hole in the traffic in front of us. We race in with a loud constant the honk. The traffic ahead of us slows but Pannoo keeps pressing.
“Turn it on the next left, LEFT,” Chuchu shouts. Pannoo thrusts the car in front of somebody making the turn. The guy breaks and then honks like a real mother of fuck. I turn around and look at him in the face. It is that brown-brick-faced driver. I raise my fingers to my lips and flash the gun at him. The honk stops. We turn and zoom. We’re traffic.

There’s no 2219. We are parked at a tea-khokha, in front of us is Jinnah Hospital. I am sitting on the footpath, swallowing my tea. It’s dirty hot and the sweet tea sears my chest. Pannoo is fixing the car (some knocking in the engine). Across the road, an old man is trapped inside a rickshaw. He’s trying to stand up but his body shakes and his muscles seem all out of power. He’s probably here for a hospital visit.
My mind still ducks when trying to think of S—. Her grandmother yanked her down the stairs by her hair. I watched her squeal but I didn’t move an inch. Stood watching as if I was the victim, and she some sort of criminal. Nobody paid me any attention. Her grandmother pulled her down and that moment I knew I will never see her again. It starts a sinking inside me.
“Are you sure you saw 2219?” Pannoo asks me, placing the tea cup back on the car radiator. “Was it black? Honda Civic?”
Pannoo stands with his mouth agape. He keeps staring at me, keeps staring at me, keeps staring. I don’t look.
I think: she’s probably still in the apartment. I understood her better when she touched me, sucked me breathless. She wanted to give me something. What we exchanged mouth-on-mouth was pain. For a moment, I understand what I did wrong with A—: I wanted to possess her. That’s how I destroyed her. Like the sorceress destroyed her husband because she wanted to possess him.
The motherfucking old man is still stuck inside the rickshaw. Now I can’t even see him. He’s collapsed on the seat, probably. And the rickshaw driver, instead of helping him get out, is leaping over to my side of the road. He’s aiming for a paan shop. Fuck him. I am done with tea. I cross the road and look inside the rickshaw. The old man, all bone and teeth, is lying stiff in his seat. He sees me peeping in, and he moves his hand move to cover his pocket. I tap him on the shoulder, “Baba ji, hold it.” I lean closer and lift him up in my arms out of the rickshaw. He lets out a weak grunt, which turns into feeble oomph, oomphs.
I sense a cool liquid on my left arm and my nostrils are invaded with a sickening smell. Suddenly I know why he couldn’t move—there was a rotting fucking wound on the side of his stomach. The old man is panicked, he’s staring into my face, oomphing. His body stiffer in my arms and I’m standing there thinking, “What the fuck do I do now?” I am also aware that my clothes stink of churs.
I see a man speeding toward me. He’s pushing a wheelchair. “Aay! What are you doing with my father?!”
“Who? Oh!” I look at him with a forgotten look. “Oh. I was… just trying to help… get him out of the rickshaw.”
I place the old man on the wheelchair and watch his son drive him away. I still feel the cool trace of the old man’s wound on my forearm. There’s numbness in my feet. Holding this man’s limp bones has filled me with a strange kind of sadness. It was similar to when A— said she did not love me. That she would never love me. That she was going to marry somebody else. I feel that kind of darkness overcoming me. I throw around my hands to keep it from creeping down on me. And then I suddenly see it: I see S— was wrong. Yes, she was lying with those stories. She knew she was lying. That she loved me when she kissed me. She did not want to destroy me. Her story was wrong. Love is not destroying; it’s touching like she did, touch not to tear and snatch but to give something you don’t want to give because after that you know you will have nothing and the other person might take it and still feel it’s nothing. And it’s everything you have.
I realize I had never given anybody that.
My head swims. I feel deep within myself and think: What am I doing. I have nothing to give to anybody. I think of Chief and Pannoo. This work. Hot smoke rises in my chest. I feel my chest searing hot with dense smoke rising, up and up, and then it maxes out and breaks and wafts into the air in invisible wisps. Then it’s gone—and suddenly I am empty. I decide I am done with this work. Chief and Pannoo can go fuck each other forever. I am decided. Fuck this. Fuck this. Fuck this work. Fuck this snatching from everybody. Let Chief live with this business. I will go away. I am free. I breathe, and it feels for the first time in years, empty and amazing. It feels like having found something to give.
Just then, across the road, Chuchu springs up from the footpath. His tea flings out from his cup and smashes a curve on the tarmac. He runs to Pannoo and points him to something. I follow his finger and I see the metallic side of a black Civic cruise past us.
Next moment Pannoo is in the car and whirring the engine madly. I am stranded on the wrong side of the road. Chuchu waves to me but there’s still traffic and I can’t go anywhere. Chuchu gets in and the car races out. I watch their car go after the Civic, and then I see a hand emerge out of Pannoo’s side of the window. He’s waving me goodbye. Goodbye, motherfucker. BYE. I am done. Yes.
Then I see the hand that Pannoo’s stuck out. It’s not a goodbye. It’s his middle-finger.
A shot of poison surges through my brain.
I am not done with this work. Not yet, I suddenly know. I hate these people more than I love anything.
I go after them on a rickshaw. I spot them just before the Cantt Staton turn: the Civic roughly cornered and Chuchu’s gun on the car window. Pannoo is sitting in the car for backup.
I see Chuchu swing the door open and grab the man’s collar to yank him out. The man holds on tightly to the steering wheel. Chuchu throws a raw slap on his face. “Get out of the car! All of you!” he screams.
They shuffle out of the car, a family of four. Two little boys. They are wearing shoes with lights in the heels which blink red and blue like police cars. When I join Chuchu’s side, the woman has broken into sobs. She says to Pannoo, “Don’t hit. Take whatever you want. Just don’t hit anybody.” I signal to her with my finger on the lips and push the family to the side of the footpath to let Chuchu take control of the car.
“The car does not start!” Chuchu yells. “Bring him here! The bastard has a security lock somewhere—”
I signal to the man. Chuchu’s slap loosened the blood-tap in his nose; his mustache looks like a curdle of blood. His face looks scared and disgusting. He walks the car and kneels before the open door and scrambles his hand under the driver’s seat where Chuchu is sitting. “Here’s a little bump,” he tells Chuchu. “You will feel it if you press it firmly.” We hear a click.
“Hold your hand,” Chuchu tells him, trying to locate the exact spot. “Where?”
“No here.”
“No. This, here.”
“WHERE IS IT YOU FUCKER?” Chuchu crashes a punch into his back.
“Chuchu!” I hold his hand.
“You fuck with us, I shoot you right here,” he starts to yell at him. “You hear that?”
The man is trembling. He sniffles on the blood drying in his nose. “I can tell you an easier way if you let me sit on the seat.”
Chuchu pushes his gun into his belly. The man steps back. He gets out of the car and points the man to get in.
He sits into the driver’s seat and splays open his legs. “Slide your hand in like this—” he shows us the exact place where the hand must slide in. “Just slide in your fingers. It’s right here. Easy.” He clicks the switch again for us.
“Get out.” Chuchu gets in. This time he finds it. I tell the man to join his family in the corner and give him the instructions: no need to alert the police, no need to get angry. We are from the bank. This car was overdue.
I tell Chuchu I need to drive. I can’t sit with Pannoo. He says, “What the hell, I am not doing this again with you two around.“
He moves out to Pannoo’s car.
I follow Pannoo, I know. Standard operating procedure. It’s all over.
I click the security switch and start up behind Pannoo’s car. My throat is still sticky with the sweet tea and I am thinking of S—‘s lips. I feel my heart clamped as I being to follow Pannoo’s car. I will never be able to get out of what I do, I know. I will be here, doing this. I will be snatching; breaking things, people. I feel a sinking inside of me.
Pannoo blinks the left indicator. He turns, I speed up, but then I break the car completely. I am in a dream. I am holding the old man’s paper-stuffed body and he has his hands up, waving to me. He’s trying to tell me. His voice is too low, but then I realize that I do not want to hear him speak because he reeks of wounds.
I wake up with an explosion. The air in front of me shatters like glass and something tears into my side of the door. My head hits something. Hard.
Seconds later, I see a car lying crashed on its head. It’s Pannoo’s and Chuchu’s. And although I did not see it, I have a clear memory of that car flipping in the air and a gush of air blew in from beneath it and engulfed me. It was fire and light and for once I saw clearly.