How does the outsider enter the house? The outsider can knock, but how many times must the outsider knock before entering? The outsider can barge in, use force, a hard entering in, thrust in with a patriarch’s violence…
“he sat himself against her;
With every lunge of the swing
She felt him
In the lunging pits
Of her feeling” (A.K. Ramanujam)
…such is the entry by force. Then there are gate-crashers, my favourite, reminds me of random party crashing. But the outsider is never invited home, never treated as a formally invited guest. The outsider by definition can never be invited to the insides, never would they merge in.
But what is the relation between intimacy and the house? What does it mean to “inhabit” a house. Here I want to invoke Gaston Bachelard in his work on the Poetics of Space. A phenomenological understanding of a home one resides in, cannot be unpacked by the objective gaze of the outsider. The house cannot be treated as an object, with descriptions of it. The attachment with one’s home is much more primitive and native to its primary function of ‘inhabiting’; it cannot be reduced to the subjective and the objective.
Our home is our corner of the world, our first universe, a real cosmos in every sense of the word. The home that I inhabit in, I build with my imagination, with my day dreams & reveries, I build walls around that house, walls that give me an illusion of protection, a garbagraha, a womb-like protection.
Memories of the outside world, my travels in a foreign land and memories attached with these travels, will never have the same totality of a home. For Bachelard, the chief benefit of a home is to protect day dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house “allows” one to dream. Home as that original warmth, a maternal paradise, a fullness of being, the memories of our house carries us back to Our Self.
“Long did I build you, oh house!
With each memory I carried stones
From the bank to your topmost wall
And I saw your roof mellowed by time
Changing as the sea
Dancing against a background of clouds
With which it mingled its smoke
Wind house, abode that a breath effaced.” (By Louis Guillaume, Maison de Vent)
I only want to hint at the complexity of our relation with our homes, our cosmos, our universe…and hence, the complexity of the question of an outsider Knocking at my door, thrusting in or even gate crashing. (…raj)