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Interspecies Relatedness in India's Central Himalayas
Series: Animal Lives
Reflections on the Subculture of Barebacking

* 3 * Intimacy All morning as we talk inside the room round the table, our bodies are as warm with light and shade, our voices are like a web hung in the air between us, stitching and unstitching in the telling and the hearing, the taking issue with, concord and discord, every one of us around the table “thE convErsation,” alan shapiro1 in this vErsE, poet Alan Shapiro captures the feeling of a grow- ing intimacy among the people around the table, the light and the shadows, the voices and the silences, the efforts to speak and be heard, the movement through

3 Naked Intimacy Music inspires memory. Anytime Tesla Boy’s “Spirit of the Night” begins playing— the chimes ringing up the scale like the startup to a futuristic com- puter, the electronic beats flashing in fast tempo— I’m transported. I’m alone on the 151 bus, riding down Devon Avenue. My shirt is a little too tight, re- vealing the straps of my leather harness underneath, obvious under the bus’s harsh fluorescents. Tesla Boy blasts through my white iPhone headphones. At the corner of Clark and Devon, the night is unusually cool for June; the cold metal of

Postal Intimacy SFOURs EMBRACING OPPORTUNITIES the construction of the personal letter Shortly before the 1845 postage reduction took effect, Frederick Clappof Worcester wrote to his brother in another Massachusetts town; this is the earliest of Frederick’s surviving letters to bear a postmark. Whereas their previous correspondence appears to have been occasioned by news of illness, Frederick underscores the decidedly quotidian status of this particular missive: “Dear Brother, / Having an opportunity to write you and hapning to think of the promise we made each

chapteR sIx Solidarity without Intimacy Most of the time we understand each other quite well; we just don’t agree. J oh n d U R h a m p e t e R s , Speaking into the Air (1999) In previous chapters I criticized the idea that we can best build solidarity by encouraging people to share their stories, recognize their commonalities, and become something like friends. This idea animates the intergroup con- tact initiatives that bring people together across lines of ethnic, religious, and political conflict. It underpins also the dialogue programs, deliberative

3. Slippery Intimacy and Ethno- erotic Commodification By taking on sexuality as its assistant, exchange value transforms itself into sexuality. All manner of goods are enveloped by its surface, and this background of sexual enjoyment becomes the commodity’s most popular attire. —Fri tz Hau g, Critique of Commodity Aesthetics On a Sunday morning in August 2010, Elise stopped by my house in Mara- lal to invite me to spend the day with her in the village of Lorosoro. When I met her one year prior, Elise, a German, had just broken up with her Sam- buru

126 11 Egalitarian Ideals, Humaneness and Intimacy KOHLI’S FATHER HAD HIT him for spilling milk on the floor. It was only a small cupful but Kohli was smacked across his face. In response, Kohli threatened to run away. That was when he first tried to live with the Naxalite squads. I knew Kohli’s father, Mangra Oraon, well. He was a jolly, kind and generous man. His teashop was my favourite haunt to soak up the village gossip as many people stopped by. Under two brick walls and a corrugated iron sheet, open on either side to the elements, Mangra had built