IN SOLITUDE WHAT HAPPINESS?


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Have you ever felt an inexplicable sadness because you were alone? I felt such a sadness on a weekend when I was in London away from my family during Holi, one of the biggest festivals in India.

We live in a society that admires independence but derides isolation. Yet for many old people the two go hand in hand. Back in the summer of 1960, following the death of his wife, Joy, C.S. Lewis wrote of the agony of becoming a free agent. “I’d like to meet,” he wrote to Peter Bide, the priest who had married them, “for I am – Oh God that I were not – very free now. One doesn’t realise in early life that the price of freedom is loneliness. To be happy is to be tied.” This was exactly Barry’s experience. He finds it hard to say where grief ends and loneliness begins, but together he experienced them as “a penetrating hurt that doesn’t dissipate – a mental thing that becomes physical and robs you of all motivation. I got very near to losing the will to live: despair is always knocking on the door for the lonely.”

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Maggie Fergusson — 1843

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She’ll Text Me, She’ll Text Me Not


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Does it feel like an eternity waiting for your text to be replied to? Specially, when you know the person has read your texts.

One area where there was a lot of debate was the amount of time one should wait to text back. Several people subscribed to the notion of doubling the response time. (They write back in five minutes, you wait 10, etc.) This way you achieve the upper hand and constantly seem busier and less available than your counterpart. Others thought waiting just a few minutes was enough to prove you had something important in your life besides your phone. Some thought you should double, but occasionally throw in a quick response to not seem so regimented (nothing too long, though!). Some people swore by waiting 1.25 times longer. Others argued they found three minutes to be just right. There were also those who were so fed up with the games that they thought receiving timely responses free of games was refreshing and showed confidence.

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AZIZ ANSARI & ERIC KLINENBERG — Nautilus

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Nobel-Winning Physicist Richard Feynman’s Extraordinary Letter to His Departed Wife


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Touching.

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.

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Maria Popova — Brainpickings

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The Streets Of Desire – Old Delhi’s subversive love-letter manuals


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The old world charm of love letters.

The blurb on its rear cover read: “Mann mein meethi meethi gudgudiyan uthati hain, panne par panne fatte jate hain par prem patra nahin likha jata” (Our mind is tickled by sweet desires, and pages and pages keep getting torn, and yet no love letter gets written). Inside were sample letters for a wide range of possible amorous situations, along with practical advice on how to write letters to potential lovers. I found other similar books too, with their contents categorised by various romantic situations in which one might find oneself, with sample letters for each. In one book, the table of contents listed “Tanu’s letter to Shailesh after his lover goes astray,” “A flirt writes to her ex-lover,” “A middle-aged man’s love letter to a nurse,” “Steno-typist’s love letter,” and more along these lines. The titles alone were poignant, full of yearning, and frequently ridiculous.

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Kanupriya Dhingra — The Caravan

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J.R.R. Tolkien’s Love Story


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Found a needull on the love story of another great writer – J.R.R. Tolkein. While we remember Tolkein’s books for the magical world he creates there, there are some slivers of romance in his writings too.

As Christopher Tolkien writes in his preface, these two lovers were very close to his father’s heart. He wrote their tale after returning from World War I, in 1917. Beren falls in love with the beautiful Lúthien after seeing her dance in a glade filled with hemlocks, just as Tolkien’s wife Edith had danced for him. “In a letter to me on the subject of my mother,” Christopher Tolkien writes, “written in the year after her death, which was also the year before his own, he wrote of his overwhelming sense of bereavement, and of his wish to have Lúthien inscribed beneath her name on the grave.” Tolkien and Edith now rest under gravestones with the names of each lover engraved beneath their own, side by side.

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Josephine Livingstone — New Republic

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The Love Story Behind Erich Segal’s ‘Love Story’


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Today’s needull looks at the real love story that inspired Erich Segal’s very popular “Love Story’.

In 1969, Janet’s entire young family was sound asleep when the phone rang at 3 a.m. It was Erich Segal. “He was soused,” Janet recalled. “He told me that he’d just written his final love letter to me and that it was over a hundred pages long.” That last, very long letter was Love Story. A shortish novel, it became the best-selling book of 1970 and made Erich an instant millionaire. When the film exploded the following year, Erich invited Janet to accompany him to the Plaza Hotel in New York City, where she dined with him and the film’s stars, Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw, as well as the producer, Robert Evans. Janet recalled: “Gideon said I could go—however, he stipulated that I couldn’t be identified to the press as ‘Jenny’.” She attended the fête as the “mystery woman.”

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Paula Young Lee — Tablet

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Love Is Never a Given


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A needull for your weekend. What does it take to make your relationship last? “The secret to creating happy and lasting relationships, Miller concludes, is simple: just love your partner or leave.”

Would it be fair to say that you’re applying the thinking behind arranged marriages — such as Sanjay’s parents’ relationship — to love marriages?

Yes. In the Western world, too many relationships have become disposable. As soon as a romantic relationship becomes difficult — and it always does — too many people want to leave or blame the other person, rather than work through the problems. The US divorce rate of nearly 45 percent bears this out. In arranged marriages, escape isn’t typically an option, and we know that many of them actually develop more love than non-arranged marriages, based on fascinating research conducted by Harvard Professor Dr. Robert Epstein. Most of them figure out how to make it work. They work hard at it. They learn to love each other. They learn to create love.

The complete interview

Skye C. Cleary interviews Andrea Miller

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