Your new car. Sleek, shining, gleaming, gentle, flawless. You carefully wipe a speck from its bonnet and make sure you have not left any fingerprints behind. You wish the wheels didn’t ever have to touch the dirty road. You long to keep it inside where you alone can see, feel and admire. You gently bring it to life and hear the healthy purr of the engine. You rev it up and listen to the roar. Your baby. Impeccable. Smooth. Unequalled.

You manage to maintain it spotless for a year – except for the tires, nothing has lost perfection. Then one day a scooter brushes gently against the side, leaving a faint, barely visible scratch. The driver apologises profusely; you know it was not his fault alone.

But then something changed. The scratches did not matter any longer. The new sounds – the squeaks, the groans – did not worry you any more. The car did not have to be washed daily or kept away from the sun. There were no specks on the bonnet, instead there were mud splashes, and you did not care.

The roughness set in. You didn’t have to put in so much effort into it. The perfection was lost, and it was okay.

That’s Life. You pull yourself together for years, behaving just the way your mother has taught you to – civilised, she had called it. Being polite to everyone, showing kindness, saying the right things, doing the right things, getting appreciated, being respected. Be good, and people will be good to you.

But then one day there appears a scratch, and the roughness sets in. You do not feel the need to be polite any more or kind; you do not want to say the right things. You don’t seem to be getting any good in return. You’re tired of trying. You’re jarred and uneven and coarse. The smooth has become rough and the rough has become smooth.

‘Civilised’ was a lot of effort. Letting go and being yourself was so much easier. People were surprised and even scandalised at the change. You’ve lost it, they said. It hurt, but it did not matter, you told yourself.

The perfection was lost, and it was okay.