Richard Feynman’s letter to his departed wife : “You, dead, are so much better than anyone else alive.”

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In June of 1945, Arline Feynman — high-school sweetheart and wife of Nobel prize winning physicist, Richard Feynman — passed away after yielding to tuberculosis. She was only 25 years old. 16 months after her death, in October of 1946, Richard Feynman wrote the following love letter to his deceased wife and sealed it in an envelope. It wasn’t opened until after his death in 1988!

 

October 17, 1946

D’Arline,

I adore you, sweetheart. 

I know how much you like to hear that — but I don’t only write it because you like it — I write it because it makes me warm all over inside to write it to you. 

It is such a terribly long time since I last wrote to you — almost two years but I know you’ll excuse me because you understand how I am, stubborn and realistic; and I thought there was no sense to writing. 

But now I know my darling wife that it is right to do what I have delayed in doing, and that I have done so much in the past. I want to tell you I love you. I want to love you. I always will love you.

I find it hard to understand in my mind what it means to love you after you are dead — but I still want to comfort and take care of you — and I want you to love me and care for me. I want to have problems to discuss with you — I want to do little projects with you. I never thought until just now that we can do that. What should we do. We started to learn to make clothes together — or learn Chinese — or getting a movie projector. Can’t I do something now? No. I am alone without you and you were the “idea-woman” and general instigator of all our wild adventures.

When you were sick you worried because you could not give me something that you wanted to and thought I needed. You needn’t have worried. Just as I told you then there was no real need because I loved you in so many ways so much. And now it is clearly even more true — you can give me nothing now yet I love you so that you stand in my way of loving anyone else — but I want you to stand there. You, dead, are so much better than anyone else alive.

I know you will assure me that I am foolish and that you want me to have full happiness and don’t want to be in my way. I’ll bet you are surprised that I don’t even have a girlfriend (except you, sweetheart) after two years. But you can’t help it, darling, nor can I — I don’t understand it, for I have met many girls and very nice ones and I don’t want to remain alone — but in two or three meetings they all seem ashes. You only are left to me. You are real.

My darling wife, I do adore you. 

I love my wife. My wife is dead.

Rich.

PS Please excuse my not mailing this — but I don’t know your new address.

Outrage. Protest. Wind-down.

[NOTE: This was written on the 20th of April, 2013]

A five-year old girl was raped In Delhi yesterday.

Yes, you read it right! A FIVE year old girl!

“We found a 200ml bottle and two-three pieces of candle inserted into her private parts. This is the first time I have seen such barbarism,” said R.K. Bansal, medical superintendent of Swami Dayanand Hospital. [1]

Father of the 5 year old rape survivor was offered 2000 rupees by police to “keep quiet”. For desi cops R-A-P-E is just another four letter word. Shame in the extreme! This country is going doom-wards!

What happened to this girl is inconceivable, but she is not even close to being the only one. Shudder to think about the unnumbered untold rapes across the country every day that are met with apathetic cops & sissy laws. And the horror of what was done to her is compounded by the fact that she was a child – there is no earthly way in which we can blame her. But for every child that is raped, molested, there are also hundreds of young women like us who are molested, groped, raped, and harassed, and we never hear about them because the second one of their pixel-ated faces come on tv, 80% of the country will sexualize her, fetishise her, moralize about her, and no-one will be able to empathize with her, or offer her anything beyond advice on what she should have done differently. This is why there are laws about anonymity.

A girl liking a Facebook post gets immediate arrest but a gang rape requires “due process”. The law here is a cruel joke. The very fact that we in India call molestation and rape, eve teasing is a clue to what we think of it.The disconnect between the masses and the governing elite is the biggest failure of the Indian democracy. The incongruity between what society preaches & does is glaring.

Candlelight vigils mean nothing if all you want is to hang three people. Right now I feel like we have to hold vigils every day, in what we do and say, for thousands more. Momentary outrage & short lived memory CANNOT catalyse change!

Here are my two cents. I hope I’ve succeeded in lighting up the fire in your heart. Let’s step down from our pedestals, and admit that we are all responsible. Lets take the shame away from them, lets share it, diffuse it, subvert it by being ashamed of ourselves and the culture that we have created. We all sit at home and dream of monsters, but don’t realize that there is always something we can do!

 

This is the least I can do for my little sister. My thoughts go out to the her and her family. Hope she gets well soon.

 

“Kaash ye sab ek khwab hi ho, aankh khule toh sab theek hi mile…”

The Confrontation: The Dark Knight – Featuring Arsene Wenger

“This town deserves a better class of criminal.” — The Joker

Building on what Batman Begins established, The Dark Knight brings the conflict into the open. The main character tries to solve the problem, only to find his situation worsening. He learns that he lacks something that keeps him from his goal.

A year after Batman Begins, Gotham is a better place. Batman, Gordon and the new DA, Harvey Dent, have organized crime on the run. Batman’s mission to save Gotham by inspiring hope seems to be working. Bruce begins to hope that he might be able to retire the Bat-mantle. To live an ordinary life in a Gotham saved from its corruption.

The 38000-strong crowd, who thronged Highbury week-in and week-out, was clearly the most spoilt set of fans across Europe. The sleek one-touch interplay Arsenal deployed, with explosive counter-attacks and exquisite technical skills were unmatched, let alone in Europe, but anywhere across the world. En route they became the only team in modern football to have gone through the season unbeaten and this feat was achieved with a distinct blend of finesse and panache. Not to mention unfathomable authority. For 49 games, Wenger’s men were possessed and no one could touch them, no one.

Arsenal played ‘Champagne football’ which was duly lauded by purists and critics alike. After another FA Cup win in 04-05’, it was success in Europe that N5 now most longed for. In 05-06’ they almost came home in Paris but heartbreak was all they managed to return with through the ‘Channel’. This marked the end of a Golden phase in Arsene’s Arsenal sojourn. With all the big names having departed by the end of 06-07’ season, building a team able enough to reflect on the past, compete in the present and re-conquer the summit in immediate future was on top of Wenger’s priority. Shifting bases from the ‘Art-Deco’ Highbury to the ‘State-of-the-Art’ Emirates nearby, levied huge financial constraints on the club which meant Arsenal had to do all this the hard way!

The Joker

They were always there..

Enter the Joker. The Joker arises as a response to the Batman. If Batman inspires hope, calls people to be better than they are, the Joker exudes chaos. He calls out the worst in people.

Just like the Joker, trophies and money were ALWAYS there in football, but now, it’s belligerence was coming to the forefront! And nobody knew the reasons behind his/its sudden appearing!

Like the archetypal Fool, the Joker seeks to undermine the main story, to point out the foolishness of the main character and his quest.

The film’s central conflict revolves around Harvey Dent, the new DA. His Bat-inspired war against organized crime has earned him the nickname “Gotham’s White Knight”, and Harvey embodies all of Bruce’s hopes for Gotham.

Harvey represents everything Batman hoped to inspire: an ordinary citizen who chooses to fight evil.

The Joker recognizes this, so at both the macro- and micro-level seeks to reveal the base corruption of humanity. The Joker wants to prove that Gotham really is fallen because people are fallen.

All Batman’s attention is on Gotham itself. Though throughout the film, he’s a step or two behind the Joker, he finally manages to stop the Joker from destroying the two ferries, and the Gotham-ites on the ferries all choose not to kill each other to save themselves.

The Joker, however, reveals that the ferry plot was not his final gambit. Rather, while the Dark Knight has been distracted, the Joker targeted the White Knight. It turns out that when Harvey lost Rachel, when he came face-to-face with true evil, Harvey broke.

Harvey embraces the Joker’s vision of chaos, and goes on an avenging killing spree. Gotham’s White Knight, their champion and new symbol of hope, falls into the Abyss.

Batman’s mission failed: he wasn’t enough to inspire Harvey when it really mattered.

By the end of the 2007-08 season, it seemed that Arsene had saved the Arsenal, we were almost there. It seemed that Arsene’s philosophy was still valid in days when money was beginning to over-shadow football, the rapidly changing nature of professional football in Europe! Wenger had saved the people on both the ferries!

But it turned out to be a pseudo-victory! The modern game was changing, clubs were made to spend more, which was against Wenger’s philosophy. Also, many top clubs were buying more established players rather than growing their own or developing them from a young age, such as Manchester City, Chelsea, etc.

Just like Batman’s famed ‘no-killing’ policy, Arsene Wenger too has his own famed ‘youth and controlled spending’  policy. Batman actually had a moral obligation to rid the world of the Joker once and for all and so did Arsene Wenger to win trophies for Arsenal. But, they both stuck with their ideals, which to some extent led to their ‘downfall’.

Then came the Joker’s ace in the hole – Harvey Dent!

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Gordon: The Joker took the best of us and tore him down. People will lose hope.
Batman: They won’t. They must never know what he did.

When Gordon and Batman see what Harvey has become, they despair. Standing over Harvey’s dead body, faced with the undoing of all they’ve worked to achieve, Batman and now-Commissioner Gordon make a terrible choice. They blame Batman for Harvey’s crimes and lie to Gotham, telling them that Harvey died a hero.

Batman flees into the dark, alone, hunted and vilified by the city he’s trying to save.

Just like Batman, Arsene Wenger took the blame for the departures of club captains  Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie (Arsenal’s White Knights – Our symbol of hope!). While Harvey destroyed Batman’s and Gordon’s plan for Gotham, Fabregas and Van Persie didn’t fail to do their bit too!

BWBecause he’s the Hero that Arsenal NEED, but not the one it completely understands right now..

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Just like Batman, Arsene Wenger has chosen Secret Honour! He suffered the public disgrace and took the blame for the crimes of Fabregas and Van Persie.  He sacrificed himself. It might seem far-fetched. The nobility of the gesture is too much to comprehend when set against the disgrace and insult he has had to suffer from his own people(Arsenal fans – the Gooners) and critics. He’s stayed silent, while most managers in his situation would have turned around pointed the finger at the club. He’s taking the heat when, actually, he doesn’t really deserve it!

“The only sad thing is that sometimes your work is destroyed by others. You want to see a player in his prime doing it for your club. But it does not work like that all the time.”

Next time, Part III, The Legend Ends  – The Dark Knight Rises. Here’s a preview: There’s a storm coming, Mr. Wenger.

Thanks for reading!

All the cool kids can follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

The Setup: Batman Begins – Featuring Arsene Wenger

The Setup (Batman Begins), introduces us to all the characters and themes that will be important throughout the story. It establishes the central conflict and fundamentally changes the main characters. 

Batman Begins introduces us to a Gotham saturated with corruption. We meet Bruce Wayne, whose parents were murdered in a mugging-gone-wrong when Bruce was just a boy. Bruce tries to avenge his parents, but is thwarted by the organized crime that runs Gotham. The mob is so powerful that the few good citizens – the DA or cops like Jim Gordon – are too scared to try to make a difference. Like everyone else, Bruce is unable to fight the mob, so – unable to avenge his parents – he leaves Gotham searching for answers.

‘1-0  to Arsenal’

‘Boring Boring Arsenal’

If phrases could describe the way a team played its football, then these were it. Possessed with a water-tight defense consisting of the famous ‘English Back-4’ and David ‘Safe Hands’ Seaman, between the sticks, attack surely wasn’t Arsenal’s forte. And mid-way through the 96-97’ season, it all changed! It all changed with the arrival of a man who was greeted by the Highbury faithful with the chants of ‘Arsène Who’ –  one of the most famous derogatory headlines ever to be published in British sports history, is now indeed a quotation of mockery and irony, as the man nicknamed “The Professor” has become a pivotal part of English football for the best part of two decades, a true cornerstone of footballing philosophy. But, let’s not get there just yet, we have a trilogy to complete!

While Bruce Wayne found his answers in The League of Shadows(not entirely though), Arsenal Football Club found theirs in Arsène Wenger!

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“If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, and if they can’t stop you, then you become something else entirely… A legend, Mr. Wayne.” — Ras al Guhl

Bruce returns to Gotham. He realizes that for the city to rise up, to cast off its corruption, the ordinary people need a symbol, someone to show them they don’t have to be afraid of evil. Bruce adopts the persona of the Bat, a childhood phobia. Using the Bat-personal and his League of Shadows training, he wants to turn fear back on the criminals. Bruce’s plan works. Acting as a vigilante, he not only provides Gordon and the DA’s office what they need to arrest Gotham’s top mob boss, his work inspires them to take the risk. Things start to get better in Gotham. People start to get better in Gotham.

When Arsene Wenger first came to Arsenal, the first thing he said was that the training facilities were not good enough. So the club invested pounds 17 million in a new site. He even brought with him a Sports Scientist. The ideas on things like diet they introduced made a big difference to the fitness levels of the Arsenal players. Remember Bruce Wayne setting-up the Bat-cave with his butler, Alfred? He had to make sure he assessed the situation with ageing players [old relationships]. Just like Bruce did with Alfred(Pat Rice) and Rachel.

He won the League and FA Cup Double in his first full season. After their opening day loss to Blackburn Rovers (1-3), they made up a twelve-point deficit over Manchester United to clinch the title, procuring it with two games to spare.

But just like Batman, who was constantly at war with the mob, Arsenal often ceded the title to Manchester United have always been dominant in the Premier League, and the next season saw Arsenal fail to retain the title by a single point, while they were knocked out of the FA Cup Semi Finals courtesy that magical slalom by Ryan Giggs. And who does not remember the longest running feud, Arsene Wenger(Batman) v Alex Ferguson(mob boss, Carmine Falcone), in the Premier League that has at times been laid bare for all to see on the touchline, with fierce words clearly exchanged between the pair.

Arsenal went on to win several trophies in the next few years, including the Double in 2001-02 and another FA Cup in 2003.

The first major turning point in the trilogy‘s arc occurs when Bruce learns that the League of Shadows is still planning to destroy Gotham. The League (Chelsea + Roman Abrahmovic) is working through Arkham psychiatrist Jonathan Crane(Jose Mourinho), who manipulates his patients through a fear toxin and archetypal Scarecrow persona. The League plans to release this toxin(money!) into the city and let it tear itself apart.

The Batman(Arsene Wenger) stops Scarecrow(though temporarily) and kills Ras(No, Arsene couldn’t kill Roman), saving Gotham. And as Lieutenant Gordon(Arsenal fans – the Gooners) observes, Gotham will never be the same again.

Arsene Wenger’s Red and White Army wrote themselves into history with that 49-game unbeaten run, and all was well at Highbury!

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“It’s not who I am underneath, but what I Do that defines Me.”

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Next time, Part II, The Dark Knight. Here’s a preview: Things were always going to get worse before they got better.

Thanks for reading!

All the cool kids can follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

THE Problem.

It is not about the government, not about the education system, not about social ethical codes; it’s about how we perceive India. How many times have we heard somebody saying “Ye India hai, yahan sab chalta hai” (this is India, everything is OK here) or how many times have we ourselves said “India ka kuch nahi ho sakta” (no good can happen to India). India is us and we are India, the sooner we understand this the better it is for us and the nation. The solution to most of our problems lies within ourselves and our outlook. A simple change in our own mindset will change how we look at our nation, and how others related to us look at our nation. That is how we spread the 6 letter word, change. So next time when somebody would ask about the problem/problems of India, I would smile and say I have no problem! What about you?

Who is the main antagonist in Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire?

 

It is not any of the humans. There are some characters that people love to hate, namely: Lord Tywin Lannister, Cersei Lannister, Joffrey Baratheon, Sandor Clegane, Gregor Clegane, Lord Walder Frey, the Boltons. You may like some characters more than others, and we’re rooting for the Starks for the most part, but George R. R. Martin is very careful not to let anyone be too good and even when we’re pretty sure someone is bad, he turns them around and has us rooting for them. All humans are shades of grey.

The title of the book series hints at what’s really going on in this world – A Song of Ice and Fire.  We can clearly see 2 great forces at work, Ice and Fire. In the first book, the Others appear north of the Wall (forces of Ice and cold) while the dragons are born and Daenerys Targaryen discovers her power (forces of Fire and heat).  Ice and Fire, both rising in power simultaneously. 

The antagonist is…

The Great Other

The Great Other is the god of darkness, cold, and death in the faith of R’hllor. His true name is never spoken. He is considered the enemy of R’hllor, the Lord of Light. Followers of R’hllor believe that there are only two gods, R’hllor and the Great Other, who wage an eternal war over the fate of the world. All forces of darkness, cold, and death are believed to be only servants to the Great Other.

The Great Other somehow resides north of The Wall, in the Lands of Always Winter.  He (or she?) created The Others (The White Walkers) who in turn create the zombies who plague the Wildlings and the Night’s Watch. The Great Other is probably responsible for the strange cycle of Winter that covers Westeros at random times.

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Dracarys!

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The White Walkers/The Others!

   

R’hllor represents Fire, and his forces are not just the Red Priests like Melisandre.  The dragons are also powered by R’hllor, the Targaryens contain the blood of dragons and probably the blood of R’hllor, while Varys & Illyrio Mopatis are somehow scheming for the return of Daenerys Targaryen and her dragons, probably to counter the rising threat of The Others north of the Wall.

 

The primary purpose of this post was to put forward a perspective so as to people stop branding every character as good or bad and enjoy the show/book better without having to search for the real antagonist. I hope I succeeded in doing so.

Thanks for reading!

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