Geneva Diaries #72*

Mad Dogs and Lobsters, Art and Cheese balls, Happy 25th and the Alpine Ibex and Tara

7/22/15 (Edited 4/16/20) and published today, on my birthday, October 3rd, 2022 (IST)

Dear Roger,

I’ve returned from what seems like a tour of the universe only to find my inbox empty! Where have you been, why not a whisper? Am I not even entitled to even a basic comment like “hmmrph” or “boring” on my last three (what I consider epic) outpourings? Well, here goes yet another with the hope of retrieving you from some distant recesses of the www where you may have been temporarily detained.

My summer break with the kids turned out to be more fun than I had expected. We flew to Vienna where we spent a couple of days just walking the streets soaking in that magnificent city, we also managed a bus and tram tour of the Ringstrasse constructed in 1860 by emperor Franz Joseph with its many iconic buildings like the State Opera, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Parliament, Imperial palace and University and of course Cafe Landtmann where we spent a leisurely afternoon  imagining conversations with its famous patrons like Freud and Mahler, Marlene Dietrich and Burt Lancaster. The art, architecture, food and culture was truly an overload for the senses. What I enjoyed most was the buzz in the city, it seemed young and bustling, teeming with life. I was certainly glad I had read Fin-de-Siecle Vienna by Schorske before landing as I was brimming with information for the kids, excited about my anticipated role as tour guide. Unfortunately, my kids had heard enough of my voice and would run the moment I appeared to open my mouth. So I resigned myself to either talking to myself all alone or spending time with the kids walking the city but in silence, of course I chose the latter.

There is much to say about Vienna and I’m not sure I can do so in one breath, but we did cover the highlights like the Hofburg Palace and Royal quarters, Treasury, and the Sisi museum, a collection built around the fascinating empress of the Austro-Hungarian empire Elizabeth, wife of Franz Joseph (whom I had mentioned in my last mail). This enigmatic personality continued to have its intense draw as her desire for freedom above all eerily resonated with my soul. The kids loved the Prater, the Vienna amusement park, where we returned more than once. We enjoyed the Natural History Museum with its spectacular collection of minerals and fossils, and the next day found our way to the famous Kunsthistorisches museum

See below Purnima at the Vienna Library:

Purnima at The Vienna Library

Dhruvum points the way- Hofburg Palace Vienna:

Dhruvum Points The Way – Homburg Palace, Vienna, Austria

Vienna Horses with Crotched Red Earmuffs:

Vienna Horses with Crotched Red Earmuffs

Kids at the Kunsthistorisches museum:

Kids at the Kunsthistoriche Museum
The Prater – Vienna Amusement Park

The Egyptian galleries at the Kunstmuseum blew us away! Apart from the collection of artifacts housed in the museum, the actual halls…in fact the entire wing was a work of art. Egyptian motifs collected from Egyptian tombs in the 18th and 19th centuries were painstakingly and beautifully painted on to the walls to provide a sense of being in the tombs of Egypt and viewing the artifacts within, Do see attached a photo of the Egyptian Gallery at the Kunstmuseum.

The Egyptian Gallery at the Kunstmuseum.

 Apart from my desire to take a giant size bite of this delectable city, and savour its contents, I sensed I was being sampled by Vienna in turn. Do see attached pic of me lying on a giant tongue and being sampled by Vienna in turn.

Purnima Lying on a Giant Tongue:

Purnima Lying On A Giant Tongue – Being Sampled by Vienna

The highlight of this trip to Vienna was the Secession building, with which I will wrap up this mail, an absolute must see!

The Secession building, Vienna, Austria

We then took the train to Salzburg, where we enjoyed spectacularly good food. The weiner schnitzel (a traditional pork cutlet, beaten thin and then breaded), the rib eye steak and the gargantuan traditional egg dessert called the Salzburger Nockerl were outstanding(see pic below):

The Salzburger Nockerl

The highlight of Salzburg for me was The Sound of Music Tour with a chance to visit the real life sites of my childhood memory(movie). See below a scene from my fav movie replayed – my kids aged 16 and 17 standing beside the original Gazebo featured in the song with the same title from the movie Sound of Music:

See below the Sound of Music palace- Schloss Leopoldskron:

The Sound of Music palace- Schloss Leopoldskron

My kids aged 16 and 17 standing beside the original Gazebo in The Sound of Music movie:

My kids aged 16 and 17 standing beside the original Gazebo in The Sound of Music Movie

Here we spent a lovely afternoon in Salzburg with the kids Austrian cousins all dressed up in their traditional gear of lederhosen who were all warm, welcoming and extremely generous- see link of an example below (

Lunch with Kids Austrian Cousins Dressed in the Traditional Gear of Lederhosen

We walked the streets enjoying the sculptures and architecture of the buildings and palaces, peered at Mozarts home from below, posed outside a sign that said “Schmuckpassage” and “Badgasse” adding much to the kids sense of entertainment who were exhausted by endless palaces and museums, we finally made our way up to the Hohensalzburg fortress which offered gorgeous views of Salzburg.

We ended the night at the famous beer halls of Salzburg. Here kids aged 16 are permitted beer, it’s all a part of the culture, so I told the kids that we must do in Rome as the Romans do and they could sip a “radler” which is a kind of shandy, made of beer and lemonade. But first, we had to collect our beer mugs wash it in the spring water fountain and then take it to be filled, all in all quite an experience! The kids loved Salzburg so much that they would have been happy to have been left there until graduation (two years hence). Will try and forward the above-mentioned pics in my next email. See below The Beer Halls of Salzburg:

See Kids in Smuckspassage below:

See Kids in Smuckspassage

See Purnima in Bad(g)asse below:

Purnima The Bad(g)ass

See Purnima in Salzburg (Fortress)

Purnima in Salzburg (Fortress)

We reluctantly left Salzburg behind, and caught the train to Innsbruck where we spent two nights. See below Purnima in Innsbruck:

Purnima in Innsbruck

This Alpine ski destination surrounded by magnificent snow capped peaks, clear blue skies, crisp clean air was truly breathtaking and an ideal stopover before the long train ride to our destination, Geneva. See images of Innsbruck below:

We did walk the streets and try all the local cuisine, but the highlight of Innsbruck for us all was the Alpenzoo (,  a zoo housing animals native to the Alps.

Getting to the zoo was a trek, and walking around was another hike, but it was well worth it! Do see the photo of the kids with the Chamois, the gentle looking mountain goat, which you might remember from Chamonix, at least I did as I have spotted them during my numerous ski trips and cable car rides up the mountain. We saw the Lynx, the Moose, and of course the Alpine Ibex. See images from The Alpenzoo below:

In my prior emails to you, you must have sensed my excitement over the Ibex, and it remains an animal close to my heart (Did I ever read you The Story of the Ice Mommy?). My father had a similar fascination for this elusive and magnificent beast, and here we were face to face. The Alpine Ibex was extinct across most of Europe and Switzerland in the 19th century, and had resurged in northern Italy only after a careful plan of reintroduction and preservation, and is now in the “least concern” list. However, the same is not true of the Pyrenean ibex which is virtually extinct, the last female Ibex having perished in year 2000, see link below:

Well, that is the year Tara was born. Do see the photo of Tara with the Alpine Ibex at the Innsbruck Zoo. 

Tara with the Alpine Ibex at The Innsbruck Zoo

Tara as the Pyrenean Ibex: In order to Immortalize this beautiful extinct species, I have incorporated it into  my novel  Kadambari (continued). The last female Iberian Ibex died in year 2000, but in my book she morphed into a little girl Tara born in Year 2000, just like the various characters in the world’s first novel Kadambari, that morphed between human and animal forms. And so, that Ibex lives perhaps not in our physical world, but in the world of literature eternal. How do you like it?

In fact, uncannily enough, the northern Italians during our visit to Lake Como spoke to all of us in English and to Tara in Italian. To the extent (do indulge my creative outburst) that as we were leaving northern Italy the young officer stared into our car, directly at Tara indicating somehow that were we removing a protected and endangered species from his lands. I looked back and responded that this ibex belongs to “the other mountain range“, and I am merely returning her to the Himalayas. He was not convinced and gave her a lingering look as the car pulled away.

See below a very wide eyed teenage Tara in Italy:

Teenage Tara in Italy

So before I jump the gun, we were last at Innsbruck and we took a train to Geneva, our main destination, a place to unwind relax and reminisce about our lovely three years there. Well, we spent the first day doing just that, walking the city from corner to corner, visiting old haunts, like Parc Betrand and our home, the Old Town, Rive, Globus, and of course the Jet D’eau among other familiar sights and flavors. However, there was an unspoken pact between us, me and the kids, No More Museums. However, we did visit St Peters Cathedral, the magnificent but austere Calvinist church in the heart of old town where I found the duck-dragon (see pic) considerably lightening the mood. 

The Duck-Dragon Geneva:

The Duck-Dragon Geneva

The Jet D’Eau Geneva: See below Purnima in Geneva

The Jet D’Eau Geneva

Surprisingly, Geneva was intensely hot, and there was no air conditioning in our rental apartment, we had to survive on cold water showers and ice cubes. Fortunately, the evenings cooled down considerably and we would be out rediscovering the city till late. We even traversed the lake from our place near Geneve Plage to the other side of the lake, and toured the botanical gardens. There were endless meals of fondue and pizzas from our favorite Italian place in Eaux Vives but the most memorable one was an invitation from Mirko for lunch at a place that served Malakoff towards Nyon. Yes, Mirko! Mirko met up with us in Geneva, it was strange at first as I was seeing him after many years, but I was quickly put at ease as his good behavior evaporated after our first meeting and he was in full fledged obnoxious terrain by our second meal. Yes again, I agreed to overlap a couple of days with the kids and him, and I was all prepared for the worst. Have you done that, overlapped vacations with your Ex and the kids?

Malakoff, I discovered at this charming outdoor restaurant in the countryside was a traditional Vaudoise dish of sinfully fried cheese balls, and it was divine. See link below:

Visiting Restaurant Malakoff in Nyon with Friends and Family

Of course I was intrigued by the name, how does Malakoff, a distinctly Russian sounding name become a local dish? I then proceeded to question the waiters who were only French speaking (I had long given up all pretensions of speaking French, I was no longer in Geneva needing to connect with the language and culture, I was now a foreigner, a tourist, so coherent English was a preference over smatterings of incoherent French for my ego, so English it was), this created a bit of a disturbance and a couple of them tried to come out and communicate the same, finally handing a printed sheet to a guest of ours. In the interim, as I continued speculating the origins of the Malakoff, I found myself transported to Sevastopol and the Crimean war. Then I found myself standing up spontaneously and in full vigor heady with Alpine wine reciting The Charge of the Light Brigade to my kids who promptly hid under the table exasperated that “mom is at it again”. I wasn’t far wrong, for the battle of Malakoff (from which this dish gets its name was probably transported by Swiss mercenaries who participated in the Crimean War to Lake Geneva). The Crimean war was a joint French-British onslaught against Russia in 1855 resulting in the fall of Sevastopol and the raising of the French flag on the tower of Malakoff. As you are aware, Sevastopol in the last year has been in the news again, having been reversed to/annexed/reabsorbed by Russia, depends upon where you read it but this time we were missing the Light Brigade: “Into the valley of death, rode the brave 600”.

Do see below a link to one of my favorite poems: The Charge of The Light Brigade by Tennyson, written in 1954 about the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War where 600 brave English soldiers un-hesitantly following erroneous orders charged head on at the adversary into a death trap- The Valley of Death.

“Forward, the Light Brigade!”

Was there a man dismayed?

Not though the soldier knew

   Someone had blundered.

   Theirs not to make reply,

   Theirs not to reason why,

   Theirs but to do and die.

   Into the valley of Death

   Rode the six hundred.

The Charge of The Light Brigade-Tennyson

As I re-emerged misty eyed after reciting this poem to myself to finally sit down and join the family and friends I had left at the table, I found everyone deep into their delicious cheese balls with all traces of Malakoff and the mad mama long forgotten.

On our last day in Geneva, we revisited landmarks like Jardin Anglais see pic below (guess who hates posing for pics):

Searching for Kadambari in Jardin Anglais, Geneva:

Searching for Kadambari in Jardin Anglais, Geneva (Guess Who Can’t Bear Being Photographed)

And I scanned the gardens to see if I could find Kadambari yet… If you remember from my earlier emails, I had quizzed why Kadambari, a romantic novel in Sanskrit by Banabhatta, probably the world’s first novel (written in the 7th century) did not feature in Foundation Bodmer which had a worldwide collection of antique books and manuscripts. This novel which spans time and space, multiple generations, where people morph into animals and back like the parrot Vaisampayana, demi gods like Chandrapida, beauty as in Kadambari and love eternal in all its forms could not be more relevant in the interactive multimedia anime driven world of today. However, in my story, Kadambari is always found in an English garden with a French accent, and so here in Jardin Anglais, I would like to see a sculpture of this book half open for the story continues…

Dear Roger, in order to entertain you further, I would like to attach a snippet from my family to the above story of Kadambari. My grandfather, the Oxford pundit with a wicked sense of humor and definitely the one who named my aunt Kadambari, was madly in love with my gorgeous grandmother till the end(about whom I have written a lot) the near second would be his bottle of scotch. I only recently connected the dots, in the book Kadambari by Banabhatta, Kadambari’s mother is named Madira. And madira in Sanskrit is honey or an intoxicant (wine). So effectively, Kadambari’s mother, his wife was his intoxicant, his madira. I assure you, this, my grandmother was unaware of this at the time of the naming.

See below pics for “Tej” or traditional honey-wine from Ethiopia from my fellow adventurer’s travels in Ethiopia. Yes it’s time we modified the oh so popular theme song supposedly portraying California Girls to accurately reflect all the Golden State’s birds and bees. See below Honey-Wine from Alison Macbeth’s Travels in Ethiopia:

Honey-Wine from my buddy Alison Macbeth’s Travels in Ethiopia
Pouring Tej or Honey-Wine from Alison Macbeth’s Travels in Ethiopia

Alison Macbeth’s FB post – Ethiopia:

Madira defined- The South Asian Digital dictionary:

4. मदिरा madirā : (page 1228)

a. having long and fascinating eyes; यदि मदिरायतनयनां तामधिकृत्य प्रहरतीति Ś.3.4.-आसवः an intoxicating drink.

मदिरा madirāमदिरा 1 Spirituous liquor; काङ्क्षत्यन्यो वदनमदिरां दोहद- च्छद्मनास्याः 

Finally finding the link between the Sanskrit Madira, and the Portuguese Madeira (knowing the long connection between the nations) much too close to be a coincidence, with both referring to intoxicating liquids, I found the following excerpt in the Economic Times which raises the same question:

Madeira was once the most widely consumed wine in India. Madira is the Hindi word for alcohol. Is there a connection? The usual etymology for madira is that it comes from madhu, Sanskrit for honey, which was brewed into alcohol. 

Madhu is an ancient term, so it is not surprising that it links to other Indo-European languages, where it means the same thing, honey or sweet. Mead is the Old English word for honey wine.Madeira is derived from an old Portuguese word for wood, so perhaps there’s no clear link, but it is still an interesting coincidence.

See below glimpses of Funchal, Madeira through its many enchanting hand painted doors brilliantly photographed and generously shared on Insta by my friend Bob, Robert L. Cunningham:

See above the magnificient Madeira vistas, what better than an image embodying the dreams, experiences and vivid aspects of culture painted on their front doors by the people of Madeira. The Hand painted Doors of Funchal, Madeira- Photos by Robert L. Cunningham

After a restful week in Geneva with the kids we went on our long anticipated family trip with Mirko to Lake Como. Everybody I knew was nervous for me as they were convinced I would drive him to drop me off on the highway or in the middle of lake Como without a raft. We drove to Lake Como from Geneva and as we neared the lakes the the very first glimpse of the pristine blue lakes was truly breathtaking. There were innumerable hairpin bends and a nation full of F1 wanna-bees, but we managed miraculously to arrive at Bellagio with all pieces intact. What I did notice however was that despite their super fast cars and super fast boats, the internet was prehistoric so I had to lay down my plans of moving right next door to Clooney and making it home. The picturesque villages scattered around the lakes with houses all clubbed together beaming in their vivid hues were right out of an impressionists canvas, I could not get enough, it was truly overwhelming. 

See below the emblem of the commune of Bellagio:

The emblem of the commune of Bellagio

However, once again we were blistering in the sun. It was ridiculously hot, it almost felt like 40 degrees Celsius and once again the hotels despite being grand were not equipped for this unusual heatwave. Being the proverbial tourists, we dragged ourselves from site to site almost collapsing under the sun, all the while the local Italians were out of sight cool and comfortable in their homes. There was one and only one species found everywhere, all over Lake Como, going about with steely determination, almost unaware of the burning rays of the mid-day sun searing down their backs, it was the lobsters of the North Sea: Englishmen of course!

The Lobsters of The North Sea – Englishmen of Course!

As I glanced up from my perch waiting for the tour boat back half dazed by the sun, I found a bunch of very cheery gleaming red lobsters completely oblivious to the weather. It was then that my memory jerked back to my father’s voice singing Noel Cowards song: Mad Dogs and Englishmen. It’s true, it’s true, for only mad dogs and Englishmen go out gleefully in the midday sun! See link below of one of my all time favorite songs by Noel Coward: Mad Dogs and Englishmen:

Noel Cowards song: Mad Dogs and Englishmen

See snippet below:

Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun, 

The Japanese don’t care to, the Chinese wouldn’t dare to, 

Hindus and Argentines sleep firmly from twelve to one 

But Englishmen detest-a siesta. 

In the Philippines they have lovely screens to protect you from the glare. 

In the Malay States, there are hats like plates which the Britishers won’t wear. 

At twelve noon the natives swoon and no further work is done, 

But mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.

– – –

With Lake Como we wrapped up our long family vacation in Europe but before I sign off I must revisit Vienna with you to complete where I left off, The Secession, The Secession Building and Gustav Klimt.

The Vienna Secession were a group of artists, sculptors and architects who broke away from the traditional and historical representations of artistic expression in Vienna. they objected to the prevailing conservatism where all forms of artistic expression were burdened with ornamentation and historicism. The architects proceeded on radical new lines and linear facades without excessive ornamentation, the artists including Gustav Klimt who headed the Secession movement wished to break free from the stranglehold of orthodoxy and tradition (that confined artistic representations especially to the historic greco-roman themes) and strove to represent art in a novel liberal and dynamic way. I have personally found a great connect with Klimt’s art as I believe this man was not just a generation ahead of his time but perhaps two centuries. His art is vibrant, multidimensional with dark, light undulating and shining features each of which reaches out to grab you. There is a fluidity, as though music was being interpreted into an art form and there is mosaic, as though Klimt in the late 1800 was using modern day graphics to supplement his visions. It’s phenomenal, completely out of the ball park!

The secession building (see pics below) crowned by a giant ball shaped golden wreath, has the following soul inspiring words framing its entrance:

To Each Age its Art, To Art its Freedom

Nothing has since and could have stirred me more. No words could better reflect my soul, and I had to travel here to Vienna to find them. This Roger, I’m taking back Home to the New World!

The Secession Museum:

The Secession Building, Vienna, Austria

The Secession Motto Crowning the Entrance to The Secession Building: To Each Age Its Art, To Art Its Freedom:

The Secession Motto Crowning the Entrance To The Secession Building: To Each Age Its Art, To Art Its Freedom

The Secession building houses the famous Beethoven Frieze in its basement. See link below:

 The Beethoven Frieze is a series of murals flowing from one panel to another as Beethoven 9th symphony which was played at its opening exhibit flows from one movement to another. This is truly a work, an artistic expression converting one art form into another. As Schiller’s poem Ode to Joy is merged into the final piece of Beethoven’s 9th symphony (once again transcending one artistic medium) this great work of art expresses music through paint. The overlapping of artistic expression has always excited me and this is the space of the New Age, this is the New World!

Do see a review of the Gustav Klimt’s Beethoven Frieze by Khan Academy below (brilliant video worth watching):

Gustav Klimt’s Beethoven Frieze by Khan Academy

Now Roger, I’m going to steal you away from all these misty mountaintops and bring you back down to our current real world, a complex and convoluted earthly realm where the moment man has the power to suppress and dominate he does so and ruthlessly using all the organs of law and government which have been so carefully structured for our protection to his advantage if permitted. Which is why I believe we should be super vigilant about our security and privacy now more than in any other time in history. The Electronic Frontier Foundation that celebrates its 25th year this July is doing just that, and doing a swell job, let’s wish them Happy Birthday!

I wish now to bring Klimt and the mantra of the secession ” To each age its art, to art its freedom” to this world. 

Let me quickly walk you through a pathbreaking case as a part of my self study to keep those brain cells ticking at the ski lodge where I lie marooned and forgotten for an eternity at 10,000 feet! See images of Purnima-Ena sightings with the chamois at St. Moritz, Verbier and Les Houches, Chamonix below:

Bernstein V Department of Justice: A doctoral student cryptographer at the University of California at Berkley, Bernstein developed a code named snuffle to help encrypt and decrypt data. He then wished to publish the algorithm, the mathematical paper explaining it and the source code written in “C” to the academic community on the world wide web. However, the US department of commerce required cryptographers to get a license before publishing their work on the Net or exporting it. It was considered a “munition” requiring a license. Bernstein filed an action challenging the constitutionality of these regulations. The source code it was clarified involved a human to human interaction. It was a form of expression of one mathematician, cryptographer to another who understood the same language in the community. It was the equivalent of equations shared by mathematicians of graphs by economists. And just like music, which only someone who can read it understands.  This code thus works as a tool of expression for the mathematician/cryptographer, an extension of his artistic expression if you please. This source code would later require a program to convert it into Object Code, which is the language that is understood by machines, and would serve a functional purpose. The district court in a (2-1) decision held this code to be a constitutionally protected expression like speech and since the license would act like a prior restraint on speech it was unconstitutional. The decision completely hinged on the expressive quality of the source code.

Taking the relevant sections of the First Amendment to the US Constitution –

Freedom of Speech from Wikipedia, see below:

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution codifies the freedom of speech as a constitutional right. The Amendment was adopted on December 15, 1791. The Amendment states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Prior restraint

If the government tries to restrain speech before it is spoken, as opposed to punishing it afterwards, it must be able to show that punishment after the fact is not a sufficient remedy, and show that allowing the speech would “surely result in direct, immediate, and irreparable damage to our Nation and its people” (New York Times Co. v. United States). U.S. courts have not permitted most prior restraints since the case of Near v. Minnesota in 1931.

The US constitution has the broadest and most liberal interpretation and protections of speech. Apart from certain obviously restricted categories like obscenity, defamation, incitement of imminent lawless action, slander/libel, and copyright issues, most speech is permitted. The government can only impose Time, Place and Manner restrictions, like preventing someone from taking out a procession during peak hour in Times Square, New York. Content based restrictions, ie, the subject matter of speech generally cannot be restricted and for this the highest scrutiny applies.

Expressive conduct, ie, non verbal speech is generally protected like silent marches, clothing, flag burning if it is motivated by a significant (political)purpose. As are mathematical formulae, charts, music and now source code joins the fray. 

This was then taken to the US court of appeals 9th circuit, and the appellate judges not only found unconstitutional prior restraint on speech, but took it a step further stating effectively that it is in public interest to develop the art and science of encryption for as technology is progressing our privacy is being severely jeopardized, and any progress to not just empower governments but help protect the privacy of ordinary citizens must be supported. 

Thus as I understand it, due to the creative component involved, cryptography software is not just any software which could the equivalent of speaking gibberish on the Net and which affords no protection, cryptography is clearly a human to human artistic expression and thus cryptographers cannot be denied the basic right afforded to other expressive/symbolic speech to publish and export the same. 

This is truly revolutionary, and falls directly in line with my mantra, taken from the Secessionists:

To each Age its Art, to Art its Freedom.

Source code, is the art of this age, its creative expression. So for this art i support its corresponding Freedom!

Just when all was looking hunky dory, the hackers started getting hacked and it has unleashed old demons. See Wired article below:

The records hacked from this global surveillance firm show sales to governments that are on the global embargo and others that routinely spy on their dissidents. Their promo video looks like a clip out of Assassins Creed (must say pretty cool, the video not necessarily the blokes behind it) This has many people including the ones who support the publication and export of encryption software take a step back. No, we are past the shackles of licensing and restrictions on development and export as this has been affirmed as protected speech, however, I wonder if Time , Place and Manner restrictions which can be imposed by the government on expressive speech like preventing someone from creating havoc on the world stage at an inopportune time (when the state is in embargo) by selling encryption software it knows will be used against its citizens (just like the above-mentioned Times Square example)can help resolve the issues at hand without restricting freedom of art.

Hugs and kisses


Jul 26, 2015, 12:28 PM

Dear Purnima,

Thank you so much for your latest opus, and for chastising me, which I fully deserved. I hadn’t realized that I hadn’t written for some time, but I did follow your latest European adventures via FB and even left a few comments, especially on the pictures from Geneva that you posted – there was even one from the street where your apartment was.  It brought back lots of sweet memories.

I’m so glad that you were able to escape the heat and confusion of Delhi for your jaunt to Europe. I have been to Vienna twice, but a very long time ago, and I would really like to return. You make it sound so wonderfully cultural.  Speaking of Vienna, we just returned from a four-day stay in The Big Apple, and we went to the Neue Gallery near Central Park where Gustave Klimt’s “The Woman in Gold” is on exhibit. It was fabulous to see it up close and especially to realize that it is really more square and not the cropped rectangular shape that most renditions of the painting in the media are.  We had seen the film about Maria Altmann’s quest to gain ownership of the painting from the Austrian government and the Kunstmuseum – a fascinating story.  The gallery has a good collection of Klimt’s paintings and especially the many sketches he did prior to painting “The Woman in Gold.”

How delicious to be “sampled” by the city of Vienna. It obvious left a profound impact on you, both the city and its tongue! 

You mention of the lederhosen-clad cousins reminded me that I bought a pair of lederhosen in Innsbruck many, many years ago.  I loved them and used to wear them skiing in the spring.

Your description of your time in Geneva and Chamonix made me homesick for that long lost part of the world. I have been watching the Tour de France on TV, and the images of the spectacular scenery in the French Alps always leaves me very nostalgic. The last three days in the Alps saw the peleton ride over many of the routes and arduous climbs that I have also done on my bike. It has been a real trip down memory lane. I also love lake Como and am jealous of your travels there. Any progress on becoming Clooney’s neighbor? Maybe you could engage his wife in your quest to unravel the intricacies of the laws governing encryption.

Thanks for the fascinating discussion of the dissertation and court challenge about being licensed to engage in cryptology.  While I’m not sure that I share your enthusiasm about cryptology being THE art form of the modern era, it does, of course come with lots of baggage. The government is, of course, worried about the implication of encryption for national security purposes, because it just might prevent them from pursuing their highly organized program of snooping at everyone’s cyber communication.

Where do you think that the advanced research in source code will lead us?  I watching a new and fascinating TV series called “Humans”. It’s a British-American remake of the highly popular Swedish series called “Real Humans” (Äegte Menneskar). It is also a take off on the theme in “Ex Machina” where the robot achieves human-like qualities and “escapes” into cyberspace and the real world with potentially catastrophic consequences. In the series, a small group of “synths” who are special and a cut above the other government authorized and regulated robot-servants that nearly every household in England has to help out with the cooking, minding the kids, house cleaning and much, much more. The government is aware of the special, vastly different synths and has mounted an all-out campaign to find them and destroy them, since they would obviously be more intelligent, efficient and powerful than ordinary human beings.

We had a delightful time in New York.  It was Alexandra’s birthday present, and she and Annick went to two musicals: Les Misérables and Hedwig and the Angry Inch.  I chose to forego the musicals and saw a great play called “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.” A fascinating tale of a young 15-year old autistic boy and his investigation into who killed the neighbor’s dog. In the process, he discovers all kinds of things about the adults in his life, especially about his parents.  We also had some fabulous meals: Italian and great cous-cous in a little, funky French-Moroccan restaurant. We also got intimately acquainted with Uber.

Take care, dear Purnima. I hope it’s not too difficult for you to withstand the rigors of life in Delhi when you have had your fabulous European adventure. When are you coming back to California again?

Love and hugs,


Roger Stevenson

Purnima Viswanathan

Disclaimer 😛

All persons, places, events are fictitious; all imputed relationships purely aspirational. There were no men harmed during the penning of the Feminist Manifesto

Published by Purrnima

Travel Writer - Art Blogger - CyberSmurf

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: