On Familiarity
Somewhere off Auroville; In a Place Far, Far Away

On my way back home, for an instant, I wished I could go over to Boy and tell him about how I had met someone almost like him and then not like him at all. Then, I thought of telling FF about how I’d met someone like him, too, and then not like him at all. And then, I packed my phone away, ate some over-the-counter junk food, plugged in my earphones and slept on the plane like there was no tomorrow. I returned home and told my family all the stories I could think of and noticed that they were coated with a magic that I seemed to have collected along the way. I didn’t tell them about finding parts of ‘people I have known’ in ‘people I was yet to know’. I didn’t think about it, until now, that is. Because in the first few days, I tried to blog about it – to make sense of how terribly projecting it was for me to ascribe characteristics of those gone by to people I have just met. It’s offensive, too. So, I told myself to behave, and I bloody well did behave.

But then I think of patterns and how it’s rather weird that I tend to meet similar ‘kinds’ of people. Not that everyone isn’t a special snowflake. You are, my darling, you are. However, I imagine that there will be some parts of people that I identify as already seen or experienced because we’re all rubbing shoulders here on Earth and stuff gets around, you know? With what the passing of the stardust we’re made of and the butterfly effect. Don’t you think?

I don’t mean to dismiss the unique experience of being a part of a wonderful bunch of writers, so I won’t. I’m just trying to pick elements that have gone straight through my heart and there have been so many. It would do me good to put my education to use and structure a couple of blog posts in a palatable form such that it makes coherent sense. God-damn coherent sense. But bear with me when I say that magic is not supposed to be laid out as something to be deduced and bundled into small packets. It’s supposed to be felt.

I’m a big believer in the sharing of a physical space. The act of ‘being’ with someone and sharing something. It can go either way, of course, but there’s a sanctity to sharing physical space with people that just doesn’t come with fiber connections across the world and microwave communication. There’s so much love in familiarity, in knowing by seeing, and with observing what people do. I maintain that the day I can “buy toothpaste” with someone is when they’ve fully integrated into my life in an irreversible way. If you want to propose to me, “Buy toothpaste with me” will do just fine. But this is not confined to romantic relationships, it works for building lasting friendships, too. I have bought toothpaste with C, and I’m about as far away from marrying him as we are from finding water on Mercury. That doesn’t take away from the fact that the familiarity of C is something I ‘know’ and am very comfortable with. I always believed I could come to such a deep easiness of being with cherished friends after a considerable amount of time. I was wrong. Put like-minded people under captivity for a while and they’ll emerge as friends (in an ideal scenario). I guess it’s something akin to the bonds people form when they’re going through the same kind of grief because they understand each other like no one else does.

There’s a beauty to being inside the invisible circle around people, sharing ordinary places every day like a routine, and expanding one’s being in the knowledge that for now, there’s nowhere else to go. And what about the binding glue and homeliness that comes with sharing a meal together. In my house, dinner is going to be a sacred activity (because that’s how I’ve always seen it, and I’m pretty much predictable in many ways). Conversations over a meal are my favorite form of letting people in and carving deeper friendships. I don’t share meals with people I don’t intend to have some space in my heart for, unless it’s an absolutely unavoidable situation, and you know how that goes. For it is a trick as old as time that forming relationships over meals has a peculiar coziness that’s not so easily found otherwise. Words seep into minds as food seeps into the insides. Have you been with people as they eat? You’ve been with them as they fulfill their most primal desire. I guess it’s much easier to share food with people and be with them at their most basic selves than share other primal activities. Imagine how much easier it is than sleeping with someone or finally watching them cry. (Eating together is probably a socially acceptable precursor to sleeping with someone or watching them cry.)

Sharing a homespun routine doing commonplace things means so much more to me than taking flights of fancy. Of course, I love dancing on the streets in the middle of the night as much as the next person, but I also love going shopping to buy tomatoes. Motherfucking tomatoes. It is in the mundane that life really exists, and we do everything we can to punctuate with our preferred kinds of fancy whatever they may be. My favorite kinds: dancing on the streets at midnight, blowing soap bubbles by the sea, slow dancing with a girl, discussing physics while the world sleeps, sleeping under the stars, and even hugging – lots and lots of it.

It is this amalgamation of the routine and the whimsical with which all my days were painted. There was nowhere on earth I would have rather been, no one else I would have rather been with, and no one else I would have rather been. The suspension of displacement in time made me fully alive. My days and nights were fused into one long glittering and accustomed membrane of a life that I have lived in the last two weeks. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.