NS Kumar

India

Message from Writer

Here they are ::::)

asiyahsultana
Delia Rune
panda!
Writing4Life
SunV

Reading Albert's Letters

July 13, 2021

    I. I look forward to our new common work. You must also continue with your research – how proud I will be to     have a doctor for my spouse when I’ll only be an ordinary man.

I love a boy in Zurich and he loves me back;
though he knows there are women way 
more homely
than I.

I'm sure that they
don't limp into filled lecture halls
or bury themselves in libraries
with a head full of dreams.

They don’t haunt others 
With their ominous wings,
or have fireside discussions
with him, laughing in the dark.

He's my knight in shining armour
with a walrus moustache,
the first one who's looked
at me with respect like that.
He says our love is the absolute truth:
We never provoke each other into fights. 

I find solace in his letters about
missing our fireside chats,
even as our families threaten
to disown us:
we'll build our own world
beyond the reach of philistines:
Lord Albert of yore and the Queen 
of the Night.

    II. I need my wife. She solves for me all my mathematical problems.

My father fought every battle 
to pass me the keys to classes usually
locked away only for the boys. He saw in
his quiet daughter, a thirst 
to learn, so
he made her his little soldier
and asked her to fight. 

I faced high expectations
from the men in my life.
I tried to do them proud,
and worked very hard at that.
I nearly graduated top of my class;
then the Professor in the oral exam
deducted my marks.
My fatal mistake:
My womanhood.

Then I got pregnant
after a lovers' escapade
and had to give away my daughter 
before her father could meet her.

Her newborn face is vague 
behind the veil of the past.
I remember though, that
she’d inherited his eyes.
I hope she's grown into a
a beautiful fool
somewhere, womanly
and nothing
like me.  

I do not have much time 
to think about that these days:
Albert's a clerk now,
I've settled in as his wife.
We spend our evenings discussing 
special relativity until 
it's time for the neighbours to sleep.

We write papers together in the night
but he mails them out in his name.
He calls it our joint work privately
But it's better this way:
we are but two sides of the 
same stone; his name is but
an extension of my own.

(A woman’s name in his paper 
might cost him a better job,
even if she really did all the math
on her own.)

    III. Have you ever considered, even just for a second, that nobody would ever pay attention to your words if the     man you talk about had not accomplished something important? When someone is completely insignificant, the     best they can do is to remain modest and silent. This is what I advise you to do.

I lay down my dreams at your altar 
thinking that we were soulmates. I 
have nothing left of me
to give you now. 

So tell me,
did you cheat on me with your 
cousin as I toiled away in forced
domesticity, looking after your sons? 
Did you move to Berlin to be closer to her and away from me?
Did you betray me, who stood by your side back when nobody knew you
or thought you were right?

(I entreat you,
treat your other woman better than me 
when you leave her to move on to your third wife.)

I can unravel your myth with the snap of a finger:
The man, the myth, the sensation that I helped create. 
I leaned into your every word and cross-checked your papers; I did so many experiments
without ever taking credit. I stayed awake in the nights for you 
while you slept. I believed in every promise that you
never kept.

(I hope you give her the happiness
that I sacrificed.)

Yes, I am insignificant,
but you made me so!
You and your world, always
closing doors right before I reach them,
giving me promises, then
sons to look after, giving me
kitchens with their sinks overflowing,
redefining my dreams and trying
to switch my paths, then
disappearing like hope 
when I need you the most. 

How can you live with a clean conscience
after leaving me alone to fight this 
losing battle against myself 
and you, and this wretched world?

(Give me back the future,
give me back my past!
Give me back everything 
that I shredded and erased 
for you, my love!)

    IV. When Mileva will no longer be there, I’ll be able to die in peace.

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  • July 13, 2021 - 4:32pm (Now Viewing)

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7 Comments
  • The_Sunrise_Queen

    wow.... this is just breathtaking. wow.


    3 months ago
  • Yellow Sweater

    I learned so much in this piece! (and it was beautifully written:)


    3 months ago
  • NS Kumar

    In this poem, I took quotes from Einstein's letters to Mileva, (the last quote, though is from a letter to his divorce lawyer) and tried to write what Mileva's thoughts would've been while reading them.


    3 months ago
  • NS Kumar

    This, too: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/the-forgotten-life-of-einsteins-first-wife/


    3 months ago
  • NS Kumar

    Oww, I now think I should have added some footnotes for this piece.
    Yes, barelybear is right. This piece is about Mileva Maric, Einstein's first wife. She was awesome: the only woman in her class in Zurich, looked down upon by a lot of people, an intelligent woman limited to doing household chores because of the times that she lived in. If you want to know more about her, you should definitely check out this article: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00741-6. Also, watch NGC's Genius: Einstein. There's a scene in it which parallels Einstein not creditting Mileva in his work while Pierre Curie refuses to accept the Nobel Prize without his wife; I think that was the major inspiration for this piece. Thank you for the prompt @barelybear! It really got me thinking about all the great people history has swept under its rugs through no fault of theirs.


    3 months ago
  • barelybear

    Woahh this is so cool! Is it about Einstein’s wife?
    I love how you talked about her doing the maths, and the great characterisation that came through with all the brackets, though particularly “(A woman’s name in his paper
    might cost him a better job,
    even if she really did all the math
    on her own.)” I really got her resentment in this


    3 months ago
  • Writing4Life

    Wow, Neeraja, this is incredible! I especially love "I can unravel your myth with the snap of a finger:
    The man, the myth, the sensation that I helped create. " Question though, who is this about?


    3 months ago