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Archive for May 8th, 2008

Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so-called D.C. Madam, killed herself last week. She was due to be sentenced soon for offences related to an elite prostitution ring she ran from 1993 to 2006. In her suicide note addressed to her mother, she wrote:

I cannot live the next 6-8 years behind bars for what both you and I have come to regard as this ‘modern day lynching,’ only to come out of prison in my late 50’s a broken, penniless, and very much alone woman.

At the top of the suicide note were the instructions:

Do not revive. Do not feed under any circumstances.

In the note to her younger sister, Bobbie, Palfrey expressed her love and told her to “be strong for mom.”

“Also, you must comprehend that there was no other way out, i.e., ‘exit strategy,’ other than the one I have chosen here,” she wrote. “Know I am at peace, with complete certainty, I believe Dad is standing watch – prepared to guide me into the light.”

It is worth noting that Deborah’s impending prison time — that drove her to suicide — were for offences related to nothing less, and nothing more, than helping consenting adults engage in consensual sexual activity for money.

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Rummaging through my old emails, I found this passage, from an email I wrote to someone three years and six months ago.

There are so many things that are close to you at some point of time. People who were important in your life or just friends ; and then there are surroundings and places. They become part of your everyday existence — in a way sharing your joys and sorrows, and then when you move to a different place, or circumstances change, or maybe you stop loving someone, all of these people and things diminish in importance. You get new friends, new surroundings, and though you might keep in contact with your old friends, its not the same really, is it?

I suppose it is all very natural and obvious — to be happy one needs to do precisely this — move on when necessary. It is inevitable that things change and indeed I have never really bothered about that fact. But just now, as I was reading my French textbook, one of my office-mates started playing these old Hindi songs on the computer, and you know how associations are — they made me think about India and people I have left behind, people who were so important to me at one point of time, *****, *******, ********* … ISI, Bangalore, Calcutta, home; and then for a second it struck as something unbelievably monstrous that such things too can change!

Change is such a weird thing! It is beautiful, wonderful, exciting; and it is certainly irresistible and inevitable. But five minutes ago it seemed to me, for those fleeting seconds, as something tragic, something purely and unbelievably tragic.

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There has been a fair amount of hype lately about the Kindle, the electronic reader from Amazon.com. Here’s Megan McArdle’s review of it. She calls it the best thing since sliced bread.

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