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In December of 1983, when Barack Obama was 22, he met Genevieve Cook, one of his first loves. It was at a Christmas party at the East Village in New York. And Obama wrote of her in his memoirs:

“There was a woman in New York that I loved,” he wrote. “She was white. She had dark hair, and specks of green in her eyes. Her voice sounded like a wind chime. We saw each other for almost a year. On the weekends, mostly. Sometimes in her apartment, sometimes in mine. You know how you can fall into your own private world? Just two people, hidden and warm. Your own language. Your own customs. That’s how it was.”

Yet, Genevieve’s diaries spoke of a man whose warmth was still cold, distant at times. He harboured dreams, wanted to effect change, yet hid so much about his past, and erected walls. When Genevieve told him he loved her, his reply was “thank you”.

The sexual warmth is definitely there—but the rest of it has sharp edges and I’m finding it all unsettling and finding myself wanting to withdraw from it all. I have to admit that I am feeling anger at him for some reason, multi-stranded reasons. His warmth can be deceptive. Tho he speaks sweet words and can be open and trusting, there is also that coolness—and I begin to have an inkling of some things about him that could get to me. – Genevieve’s diary

And in the end, their love and connection wasn’t enough. He was in pursuit of something entirely different, searching still for himself, only at the beginning of crafting his identity. Obama was still coming to terms with who he was- black or white, american or international, but Genevieve, hailing from distinguished, white and upper-class families, no longer fit in his path. In his memoirs, he describes it,

“I pushed her away. We started to fight. We started thinking about the future, and it pressed in on our warm little world.”

The future, pressing in on warm little worlds no longer big enough for two.

Source: Vanity Fair

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A couple of days back I was having brunch at a a nice cafe/restaurant, one of those that seem to attract many families with little ones in tow. At the table next to mine sat a lady with two daughters, probably about 7-9 years old. I wondered where her husband was. She looked distant, perhaps he was away on a business trip. At first it seemed hard to tell if she was their mother, as their conversations sounded like that between equals, and not of a typical parent-child relationship. They were free to order as many cupcakes as they wanted, eat whatever, and however much they cared to devour. But what caught my attention immediately was that the mother was sipping a glass of white wine at lunch, and then ordered another promptly after she was done. At which point one of her daughters said:

“You cannot drink too much, if not you can’t drive us home!”

Then I realised, If i ever have kids, there is a high chance that I may become just like the lady, dragging my daughters around for brunch and having prosecco for my first meal. Well at least I hope I would treat my daughters the way she did, talking to them as adults instead of talking down to them.

Yet another commencement speech, but this at least makes an attempt at being frank about life post-university. No, most of us won’t end up doing “great” things, like win nobel prizes, cure cancer etc., and soon, the working world teaches you that a lot of life is just about getting through the day-to-day grind, not trying to screw up too spectacularly, or faking it till you make it. The writer dispenses advice through a list: 10 things your commencement speaker won’t tell you. This is particularly true-

10. Don’t try to be great. Being great involves luck and other circumstances beyond your control. The less you think about being great, the more likely it is to happen. And if it doesn’t, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being solid.

Being “great” is overrated. I found being happy a much more worthwhile pursuit.

How was your weekend?

I celebrated an old and dear friend’s birthday. We finally found a good Sichuan restaurant that’s worth a visit if you’re in Singapore. They didn’t seem to understand what cabbage was, but other than that, the food was authentic fiery mouth-numbing Sichuan goodness.
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Besides setting my mouth on fire and enjoying it very thoroughly, the rest of the weekend was pretty chill, spent relaxing in bed at home and catching up with shows, like current favourite Game of Thrones. I recently also started watching Ringer (a warped slightly unbelievable story about two twin sisters and changing identities, murder, betrayals etc), which isn’t one of the best shows around but the plot is sufficiently engaging and thrilling. To be honest, getting sucked into their fictional warped lives and plotting is a good therapy and escape from mine.

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Another dear friend also sent me this postcard, hand delivered from London. If it isn’t clear enough, it’s a picture of a giganormous pigeon on the top of the pillar at Trafalgar’s Square in London. She writes:

I couldn’t resist when I saw this postcard, it reminded me of when we threatened to tie you to Nelson’s column in Trafalgar Square and leave you to the horrid pigeons

Yup, my friends know me TOO well. pigeons are my kryptonite, i took a picture of her postcard only because i think i may destroy the actual thing one day after forgetting about it and then finding it lying around my house and freak out at the pigeon.

Anyway, to help with the sunday night blues, here’s a parody on the Hunger Games- “The Hipster Games, may the trends be ever in your favour”.