Suddenly, and uncharacteristically, for she was a happy, sweet-natured child, not a rebel, the claustrophobic pressure of urban life became too much for her. She picked up a stone from the street and hurled it with all her might at the glass window of a shop selling numdah rugs. “I don’t know why I did it,” she told Firdaus years later. “The city seemed to be a kind of illusion, and the stone was a way of making it vanish so that the forest could reappear. Maybe that was it, but I really can’t be sure. We are mysteries to ourselves. We don’t know why we do things, why we fall in love or commit murder or throw a stone at a sheet of glass.”

– Salman Rushdie, Shalimar the Clown

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