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Posts Tagged ‘love’

..but I feel happier about the death penalty being awarded to these guys that I have for any other case I can remember.

There are people whose crimes have led to far greater destruction and death. Terrorists, mass murderers, genocidal dictators. But there is something particularly chilling about a group of men hunting down and murdering a young couple in love for no other reason than to uphold their notions of collective honour. If individual liberty is the greatest moral good, and collectivist coercion the greatest horror,  then the murder of  Manoj and Babli was evil in the purest way imaginable. When their killers die, I will rejoice.

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This is probably the best article that I have read so far on the Woods affair.

Whether you choose to have one partner or many, it is crucial that you invest in their emotional well-being if you care for your own. And try to be as honest as possible. Not just for their sakes, but for yours too.

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The things I do for love

Faces appeared in the window above him.
The queen. And now Bran recognized the man beside her. They looked as much alike as reflections in a mirror.
“He saw us,” the woman said shrilly.
“So he did,” the man said.
Bran’s fingers started to slip. He grabbed the ledge with his other hand. Fingernails dug into unyielding stone. The man reached down. “Take my hand,” he said. “Before you fall.”
Bran seized his arm and held on tight with all his strength. The man yanked him up to the ledge. “What are you doing?” the woman demanded.
The man ignored her. He was very strong. He stood Bran up on the sill. “How old are you, boy?”
“Seven,” Bran said, shaking with relief. His fingers had dug deep gouges in the man’s forearm. He let go sheepishly.
The man looked over at the woman. “The things I do for love,” he said with loathing. He gave Bran a shove.
Screaming, Bran went backward out the window into empty air. There was nothing to grab on to. The courtyard rushed up to meet him.

— A tale of ice and fire by George R. R. Martin.

I applied for a US tourist visa exactly 25 days ago. I still haven’t gotten it.

It’s a frustrating process. One would think that the US would need hardly any time to clear a short visit for someone who actually lived there for the most part of the last five years. How hard is it to check my records? And if they are worried I’d try to immigrate once I am there, hell, they should be happy at the prospect. (But seriously guys, I get paid far more at Zurich than I would for a postdoc position in the US. And there are still almost two years to my contract. Yes, I even enclosed my contract in the visa application.)

I hate visas. And I hate this level of stupidity.

Yet, while they can delay my visa, they can’t stop me from dreaming.

So I wake up each day and think this will be the day when the embassy calls me and tells me to come pick up my passport. When that does not happen, I try to contact them instead. I call them, I email them. And meanwhile I get some joy from the process of anticipation…

It will be a long flight for a trip as short as I have in mind, but what the heck. (Ok, let’s see. If I get the visa tomorrow afternoon, can I leave on Wednesday and sneak out a trip for ten days?) I have no teaching duties currently, and my research can be done anywhere. (Kayak…give me the plane schedule. Sneak out a quick trip for a week maybe. What are the ticket prices for Thursday?) If I can pick up the visa by Tuesday afternoon.. Uh, never mind, I have a seminar and it will take an hour to take the train to the embassy in Bern. Besides, they will never start my visa validity date immediately. (Thursday maybe.)

I try to contact the damn embassy. Sometimes they actually respond! The last email from them said “There has been movement in your case and we are awaiting final ok from the consul”. That was five days ago. I sent them another email today.

And so on. Reading fantasy on bed — pretty. Dealing with petty consular officials — beyond frustrating.

Update (The morning after) : Got my visa!

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I find this passage from Arianna Huffington’s old article “Bernard Levin remembered” rather poignant for several  reasons. The italics are mine.

We started a relationship which was to last until the end of 1980, when I left London to move to New York. And he was, in many ways, the reason I left London. I was by then 30, still deeply in love with him, but longing to have children. He, on the other hand, never wanted to get married or have children. What was touching is that he saw this not as a badge of independence and freedom but as a character flaw, almost a handicap. As he wrote in 1983 in his book “Enthusiasms”, which he movingly dedicated to me even though we were no longer together: “What fear of revealing, of vulnerability, of being human, grips us so fiercely, and above all why? What is it that, down there in the darkness of the psyche, cries its silent No to the longing for Yes?” It was a No that often coincided with retreating into depression — the “black dog” that he described as “that dark lair where the sick soul’s desire for solitude turns into misanthropy.”

The whole article is in fact extremely touching, as I suspect such things often are. Read it.

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1. I am currently in Hawaii. It is most wonderful. And there is something truly special about doing math on the beach. Some day I hope to find out if it is as good as having sex on the beach.

2. I am in the final couple of months of my US stay. This is not the post to express all the things I feel about the last five years of my life — that would take far too long — but I’ll just note a few things. Doing a PhD, at least in math, is much more about learning than research. The USA has its good and bad sides, but I came here, like a lot of Indians, with a somewhat negative view of this country and over the years I have come to love it and much of what it stands for. I really enjoyed my grad life and I think I grew as an individual — my political and philosophical views got more refined, my view of relationships and people got more mature. I will be sad to leave, sad to no longer be a student, sad to leave my friends, a close ex-girlfriend and a lover behind on this continent. But change is a wonderful thing, in spite of everything it entails; and while there are many aspects of my identity I consider significant — libertarian, atheist, mathematician, dreamer — I am perhaps above all a dynamist.

3. Talking of girlfriends and lovers, I completely agree with Kerry Howley’s take on the issue (stated only for marriages, but surely applicable to any meaningful relationship).

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When I walked out of the bathroom, she was still singing the same tune. She had been singing it on and off for the past several days. The song was now stuck in my head. I loved the song and loved her singing it.

A thought struck me.

“You know what, I just realized something.”

“What?”

“I have started subconsciously associating this song with you. I think that whenever I hear it again, I am going to remember you. It could be someone else singing it, it could be years in the future — I don’t think I can ever hear it without thinking of you.”

“Well, that’s nice.”

She smiled beautifully as I shook my head in only half-mock desperation. There was a long kiss.

She slapped my butt playfully. Her lips pursed. “Off you go,” she said.

I walked out of her apartment and made my way back to mine. Somewhere in the middle, I stopped momentarily to let the song play clearly in my head and felt the association stronger than ever. It was a weird sensation; painfully pleasurable with notes of utter beauty and tragic sadness. But then, I am sure I have been through this with other people before.

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“When did you see it last?” he asked his girl.

“I don’t know,” she wailed. “It was on me when I walked into the restaurant.”

She looked so sad, and her eyes were so large and ready to cry that his insides dissolved in a burst of affection. This led to kisses being exchanged and tender words spoken. When all was done, they commenced a search of the floor and the handbag. She went into the bathroom to see if she had dropped them there. Unfortunately, the ear rings were nowhere to be seen.

“It doesn’t matter sweetie, I will get you another one. I’ll get you one that’s exactly the same.”

His reasoning seemed to have little effect; she continued behaving in a manner that suggested she had lost something irreplaceable. He puzzled for a second over this and whatever he inferred made him strangely happy.

***

Their romance stabilized and their entanglement got more intense every month. They were similar in a way no two people ever had been and he truly believed they could realize this miracle. Slowly, he came to think of her as an extension of himself. The smallest differences drove him mad. They vowed to each other, “Your smallest whim will be more important to me than the combined power of the rest of the universe.” She used to write to him, “I could lose anything but you, or math that is; the things in life I’ve chosen are those which give me that extra something. I think I know how special it is. The colors, the hues, the shades, they are different for us. Richer… special… the whole tone…”

***

But exactly nine months after he had gotten her the ear ring and eight after she had lost it, they broke up. For many months after that, he could not think of the loss without an accompanying pain in his chest. The pain was physical and asphyxiating, like being constricted by a giant python. It intrigued him that his memories could affect him so physically. Sometimes he would think of her just to trigger the reaction. It was like taking part in a controlled experiment where he was master, slave and observer.

What he had less control over were his dreams. They were all variations of a common theme in which she would appear and tell him that everything had been a massive joke. She had never really wanted to break up with him, she said, merely to punish him for hurting her.

“So, none of the things you told me that morning are true?” he asked, full of amazement.

“Of course they are not, dearest.”

“So nothing is true? You did not … nothing happened?”

“You really think I would betray you, baby? It was just a crazy scheme I cooked up because I thought I was getting tired of you. But.”

“But…” he whispered.

“I want you. I cannot live without you. Will you take me back?”

He did not reply. He was crying for the first time in many years, for the full import of her revelation had finally hit him. She hadn’t disobeyed him; she hadn’t decided that the thread with which he controlled and loved her obsessively needed to be snapped. None of the events that had led to the break-up were real; everything had just been a long, arduous test which he had finally passed. Yet, she knew from his expression, and he knew that she knew, that they had forgiven each other, that his tears were out of joy too immense to contain.

This was when the dream usually ended and he woke up violently to see the harsh sunlight flooding his bedroom.

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