Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A Meeting of Minds

Rarely in our lives do we meet people who, despite meeting them for the first time, we feel a strong sense of familiarity and comfort found only with our old and close friends. And after meeting them, you wonder how on earth the both of you did not know of each other much earlier. There is happiness and contenment at the promise of such a friendship and a little sadness at what could have been. There, we will find a similitude in perspectives, an empathy in thoughts, a similar intensity of passions and causes and best of all, a meeting of minds that are then able to proceed in lockstep with each other or in opposing directions in complete confidence of understanding.

I had the good fortune to savour this experience when I met a friend of mine, Andrew. The first time I met him was at a get together for those of us going to the same university for a pre-unversity meet up. The little do was organized by one of our soon to be immediate seniors at his house near Jalan Travers. I was a little hesitant about going to the meet initially since I knew no one else going there apart from one of my old schoolmates, Daniel. Even with him around, I was not keen on turning up in a room full of strangers and strike up small talk after small talk with each new acquaintance. And back then I was not a terribly good conversationalist either (which is another amusing topic altogether which I hope I shall remember to write at some point). So the thought of the entire affair filled me with dread.

I must have convinced myself that it was a good thing because I found myself that evening in Ruben's large well attended living room and not quite sure which group I could intrude. Several groups had already clustered in various parts of the room. I did recall scouring the room for eye candy and made a few mental notes of those notable looking ones but on the whole felt at a loss as to which cluster I could join. There just did not seem to be much a similitude with everybody else in the room - everybody seemed pretty straight laced and goody-goody. Not that I was any different then, but I fancied myself a little darker, a little subversive and dangerous to know (hey man, I did Byron for A-Levels, hokayyy!) and wanted to at least be seen in that kind of company in the lame ass hope that women may dig it. For the purposes of record, they did not and I doubt if I could even muster that impression with huge thick glasses which instantly reduced me to a geek even if I had tatoos of dragons and naked women all over my body.

After a few attempts at conversation here and there and not feelin particularly at ease, I noticed a thin distinguished thin spectacled chinese chap who seemed underdressed with his simple white t-shirt and well worn blue jeans standing apart in his own space taking in the room. What was significant for me was that the back of his hair was a little longer than your normal Malaysian male haircut which terminated just before the nape. This indicated a slight rebellion, a slight subversiveness, a challenge to the establishment that I was looking for which perhaps may flourish fullly in the cold severe though refreshing air of England. If I recall correctly, I went over to him and introduced myself. He said his name was Andrew and we commenced our polite banter to while away the time. I forget the details of our conversation but I felt an immediate kinship. He loved music, played the guitar and enjoyed movies but most important for me was that some of the views his expressed found not just agreement but resonance with me. We did not talk long because we all dispersed soon after but he made the best impression on me at the party (male-wise at least!). So I left the part safe that I shall get along with at least one other person other than Daniel when I got to university.

It was in England though that our friendship blossomed and during the many hours we spent in each other's company walking to class in first year, or studying in the library, or doing committee work together, or bloody lion dances that near killed us, we did what I enjoyed doing most with him - talking which would necessarily include a bit of table thumping, violent agreements, understanding, compassion and a whole lot of laughter. Conversation did not become merely an exchange of words - it became a haven, a harbour for all manner of interesting knowledge, experiences and carefully considered issues to ship to. And I like an eager dockyard worker would only be to eager to stand at the very edge of the pier, always scanning the edge of the horizon for that dot of arrival. The only thing we needed aside from ourselves would be a comfortable place to sit and bottles of wine (optionally necessary).

And there is a meeting of minds because we share so many similar interests, run on similar tracks of thought and more importantly feel the same way. What drives him crazy and makes him mad (his yahoo email account begins with 'angryyoungman') does the same to me too. What makes him a little different from most of my other friends is hard to describe but let me attempt to do so: sometimes as he is saying certain things, it is as if he is setting out my thoughts or feelings on it exactly. It is a wonderful and beautiful feeling when this happens because it's like some kind of strange surreal force at work or something: like seeing your thoughts typed out onto the screen without using any kind of input device. I'm not saying it happens all the time with him, but it does tend to happen more often with him than with others.

I wished all of us could meet somone like that for each of us everyday.

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