Rosalyn D'Mello: Greatest accomplishment of my life
It's the unintended consequence of nurturing a cross continental intrigue; toying with the fabric of space and distance
It was 4 am. I really had to turn in now. I know it’s been over a month since I returned from Bolzano, yet my circadian rhythm has not had the opportunity to realign itself with Indian Standard Time. This is not some prolonged form of jet lag. It’s the unintended consequence of nurturing a cross continental intrigue; toying with the fabric of space and distance. My friend from Bolzano said goodnight. I kept my phone away and turned my head towards the window and was startled to find the planet Mars peering down at me. It was an unbelievably warm red; a shade I was lucky to encounter because the night was nigh cloudless, and because my balcony afforded me an unadulterated view of the Dhauladhar range. I reached for my phone, opened Sky Maps, just to ensure I was acknowledging the radiance of the right planet. It was Mars indeed. It was to the right of the Moon. Neptune appeared on my screen, reminding me of what I’d read in my Susan Miller horoscope about the forecasted new moon on July 12, which will be directly opposed by Pluto, and will introduce two golden triangles, "the emblem of the most harmonious aspect you can ever wish to achieve in astrology".
Astral lingo aside, I was already aware of my sheer luck. Within a span of five days; between Goa-Delhi-Dharamshala, I was fortunate to have been able to kick off my birthday month by meeting both my male and female best friend within days of each other. I was to leave Goa on June 29, at 11 pm, and, upon landing in Delhi, I’d decided to go directly to Mona’s apartment in Saket, so we could wake up on Sunday morning and catch up. I hadn’t seen her since we parted ways in Rome. My flight left at 1 am instead. She had no hesitation opening her doors for me at 4.30 am. We woke up around 10 am and spent the next seven hours re-tuning into each other’s lives and revelations over the Italian coffee she’d brought back and gobi paranthas made by her cook, Manohar Bhaiya. Two days later, I took an overnight bus to Dharamshala to meet Partho. I use the word "fortunate" because I hadn’t seen him in almost two years, since he’s been in the States. He has always asserted his presence in my life, though, despite our separation in terms of space, time, and distance. Once I learned he was simply a bus-ride away, I had to travel to see him and his wife.
Simone Weil wrote somewhere that to desire friendship is a great fault. "Friendship should be a gratuitous joy, like those afforded by art or life. We must refuse it so that we may be worthy to receive it; it is of the order of grace. It is one of those things which are added unto us. Every dream of friendship deserves to be shattered… Friendship is not to be sought, not to be dreamed, not to be desired; it is to be exercised [it is a virtue]."
When I was turning 30, I remember writing about how my greatest accomplishments thus far had been my friendships. Now that there are 10 days to go before I turn 33, I feel this even more powerfully. The week that I spent in Goa only solidified this realisation. This time I stayed with Isha, my ex-flatmate from Delhi, and spending a concentrated amount of time with her after all these years made me realise not only how much she had grown, but how she and I have been, in a way, growing together. This is also at the crux of friendship. By lifting each other up, we offer space for each of us to grow.
I cannot imagine how I would have turned out if I didn’t have the friendships I do… I am wise enough to be able to surmise the distinction between friends and acquaintances, particularly in a world governed by social media, where the word friendship is reduced to an algorithm. At 33, I’ve also understood the significance of continuing to learn without necessarily arriving at knowledge.
At 4 am, I felt compelled to get out of bed and sit in my balcony so I could bask in Mars’ radiance. It dawned on me how blessed my life is because of how peopled it is by friends. This is now my greatest ambition in life; not to be regarded as a superlative writer, or to have wealth and fame. I want to be a collector of deep friendships; which means I must always remember never to confuse solitude with reclusion. These words by Weil serve as a dictum — Friendship cannot be separated from reality any more than the beautiful. It is a miracle, like the beautiful. And the miracle consists simply in the fact that it exists.
Deliberating on the life and times of Everywoman, Rosalyn D’Mello is a reputable art critic and the author of A Handbook For My Lover. She tweets @RosaParx Send your feedback to email@example.com
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