Art

Love without fear

Kissin Yevgeniy and Lyubov Kissin Brooklyn, New York Married on June 29, 1941 Yevgeniy We met at a dancing party. It was in January 1938. My friend invited me to the party, he said there would be a lot of beautiful young girls. Another cadet with high boots had approached her, but she didn’t like high boots and so she said no to him. I was the second one to approach her. I had a different uniform, but I’m still not sure if it was my uniform or my face that attracted her to me.

“Love without fear . . .” Miss Foster murmured, considering the notion. “It doesn’t sound very practical, I’m afraid. For the more one loves, the more one has to fear losing.” He looked at her, a grin tugging his mouth. “Impractical, maybe. Difficult, yes. But what a beautiful way to live.”

~ Julie Klassen | Photo by Lauren Fleishman

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In medias res

Fear

Summer was relentless in Chennai. I was on the way to the office of my friend located in the northern side of the city, an unusual address for a tech start-up. It took a while and a couple of stops to ask for directions to get to somewhere close. My car had to be parked far away as the street to his office was very narrow and could only accommodate two wheelers.

“Could I get some water?” I was thirsty.

The office was small but beautiful in a modest way and some six young men were glued to their monitors.

“Why this location?” I ask my friend.

“Rents are cheaper,” he smiled, “I will be back in a couple of minutes, need to send a registered post.”

He was on the phone when he returned, “you can look at the prototype in two days,” and he signaled to me apologetically that it would not take long.

Suddenly a dog with dirty feet came inside and took everybody by surprise. Perhaps the dog sensed he was unwelcome that he jumped out quickly, leaving dirt marks all over. My friend quickly ran inside and mopped the floor with the phone still stuck between his right shoulder and cheek.

“Phew!” he sighed and took a breather.

“Start-up phase can be frustrating,” I said.

“Tell me about it,” he concurred.

“So you have been at this for little over a year now after you came back from the US? What keeps you going?” I inquired.

“Fear of failure,” he paused.

“When you quit a high paying job and start a business, the gaze of everyone including my wife, parents, her parents, judging my every move, can be blinding, overwhelming. My wife supports me but she is as insecure as me. But fear can be a huge motivation to wake up every day. It keeps me laser-focused. Of course, in my earlier job I did not even know how many engineers reported to me, leave alone who attended to housekeeping.”

“It is a scary lonely place Sriram and I can’t let myself or my family down. So to stay above water, I have to keep swimming,” he said prophetically before being interrupted by a vendor who dropped in to sell vegetables.

Fear does keep your fire burning.

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