Who is PW?

Initially, I wanted him to be a cardiologist, for the simple ‘woman’ reason – I think most women love men who are in control, who are masters of the universe. And there is nothing sexier than a man who holds life in his bare hands.

I also know several cardiologists. One in particular. This one, instead of the regulatory surgical sterile cap, wears a sterilised headscarf of his football team, PSV Eindhoven (he has 12 of those, always in rotation). He is a playful, confrontational and provocative man, amongst many other things. But when he operates, he has this permanent little frown that furrows his brows. He occasionally looks up, and his eyes would be cold, mechanical and distant. Even if you were on first name basis with him outside the operating theatre, he goes by his formal title here. The sheer force of his presence dominates all. He certainly knows how to use scalpels and steel retractors very well 🙂

There is a deathly calm about him that the yogi in me is drawn to. I think that defines his masculinity. Even in intense or dramatic situations, he is calm and in perfect control. His fiefdom is more like a yoga studio, and he the yoga master, orchestrating the whole complex theatre oh so beautifully. But whenever this man manages to restart a heart and brings a person back to life, he smiles the brightest thousand-megawatt smile ever, one that burns through his surgical mask.

When he smiles like this, I see the boy that he had once been, leggy and scrawny, kicking a football in his Amsterdam suburb after school and getting into fights, often sad and angry (his mother died when he was eight), but always fired from within. I wanted to write about this fire that took him far away from his homeland, but when I told him about the storyline, he laughed at me. He said, “Jac, any kid who dreams of being a cardiologist or any –ist should be put into the school of hard knocks; he or she is just a bloody fantasist. Nobody knows for sure, until the last year of medical school, if they survive that far.”

His dream was to play professional football, but knee injury ruined that plan. So in between school and university, he took a gap year and went out to work in a kibbutz in Israel. Whilst there, he got involved with student activists and the UN instead, and ended helping displaced Palestinians in refugee camps. When his gap year ended, he entered medical school without any fanfare, because he was too embarrassed to tell his friends.

So if I wanted to write about the transformation of an eight year old’s obsessive quest into adult reality, I guess it had to be about mine. I was the kid who wanted to know things that adults couldn’t answer, like what lies beyond outer space and what was there before everything began. And thus began the construction of PW’s inner self with all the inner struggles and conflicts.

Physically, PW is modeled on a man in his mid-forties. I always think to myself, he is the most beautiful man I know. His body is at its best, better I think, than when he was younger. Because of his life’s journey. We can either be broken or strengthened by the trials of life; we can either grow fearful of living or rise to the challenge. This man, he has come a long way, to find balance, equanimity and wisdom in his life. There is a serenity in his masculine body these days, and I find this very beautiful. It’s like he’s mastered his own demons yet they are still there, beneath the surface.





Strength in a man

It is said that women feel sex emotionally. Maybe that’s the reason why porn doesn’t inspire women generally, except if it is personal and we become involved in the act. The most desirable porn star for a woman is always the man she desires.

What inspires me? A strong man, because with strength comes an unshakeable confidence, a courage of conviction, fearlessness and vulnerability. He dares. I love it when a man dares. Also, I am a very physical person; thus I find physical, mental and emotional strength very attractive in a man. When a man has all three and at 100% load, it’s nuclear fusion in the chambers of my heart, a reaction which cascades like wildfire and it spreads everywhere.

I think we are all narcissistic in nature, thus we subconsciously are turned on to some aspect of a person that is a reflection of our inner selves (for weak people, they seek who they wish they could be, because they dare not themselves). For me, the best is when there is a collision of strong matching pairs, like the matter/anti-matter reaction which yields tremendous amounts of energy (E=mc2 equation). Yet religion, society and logic say that the best pair is when both complements one another like the yin-and-yang symbol. All very good in theory, but the physicist in me knows that E=mc2 explosion is simply mind-blowing. But there has to be honesty, or it is just weak fantasy. When it is real, it gets real powerful, just like using pure reagents instead of watered-down versions.

I am religious, thus I love it when the carnal and physical becomes emotional and spiritual. This is simply too beautiful for words, the moment when a man’s body is on fire with his lust for you, yet his eyes light up with a spiritual fire and he calls out your name with the depth of his emotions, and you know you inspire all this, that you brought a strong man to this.

The protagonist of the story of course has it, of course 🙂

Do you notice how similar our eyes are?

We are reflections of each other.

There is no one on earth who could match us, strength for strength.

You are a big strong man – yet I rowed you from A to B across the stretch of blue. How many women would? But more importantly, how many women would you allow to? None. Only me. Because I am the female you – your Cambridge to my Oxford.

Jedi, I match you, strength for strength. That’s why we fight.

The ferocity of my passion matches yours, fury for fury.

You rise to meet me each time, stronger, until I finally yield to you.

I yield to you, because you are helpless yet unafraid of my onslaught. A lesser man would not have been able to withstand it – that’s why I show the full expression of myself only to you. The best and worst of me is only for you.

That is your power over me.

Because in you, I have finally met me.

The most erotic word

What’s the most erotic word in any language?

Your name. When someone says it again and again, in ecstasy of you.

It hits some primal spot deep in you. It awakens the inner being within you. ‘She’, that inner being that is you, rises to his voice calling out your name. You are no longer a nondescript, functional person but this desirable goddess celebrating her bountiful sexuality. Your flesh catches fire; you are alive, dancing and burning. For that someone who calls your name in his ecstasy. Sweet music in your ears, yes it is the most erotic word in any language, when you hear someone calling your name.

I have written six non-fiction books before this. Catching Infinity is my first novel. For months, I approached writing my first novel as I did my six non-fiction work. But my writing came out dry and soulless. It was only when I connected my deep, inner sexual being – that creative energy – to my writing that it began to flow. Yes, I am writing about theoretical physics! But read on, you will see how it is all interconnected, this “we are massless, dimensional beings here for the human experience, not human beings here for the spiritual experience.” And our sexual desire is the strongest physical feeling we can hope to feel, for that ultimate in human experience.

The protagonist in the story is a Professor of Theoretical Physics, from the ages 36 to 43. He is an academic, but he is a very sexual person – strong but also sweetly vulnerable; he was pious yet hungry. The sexual part of him has to feature prominently in the storyline, because I believe that we come alive for our sexuality rather than love. Love keeps us in faith and all the good things, but sexual desire, it is what that makes us human and alive.

Never lose touch with yours. Writing this book made me realise that it is from our sexuality and desires that the font of our creativity is filled.

The dance of desire

The most powerful aphrodisiac for a woman is when a man desires her almost exclusively. I would go as far as to say that it is the most powerful feeling ever, this desire for one and one only. The force of it moves rationale, conscience, God even.

“My body only dances for you” – the dancer in question is unable to do more than dance for the one who desires her. She wanted to say, “My body dances only for you” but in her real life, it does not. She dances for another.

In the private, she dances for him. Her sexual being becomes alive for him. And she dances her solo dance –  for it is she alone who dances in the corridors of his fantasy, no one else – whilst he watches with hunger in his eyes, his calling of her name is all the music she ever needs to send her soaring on the wings of ecstasy, stars and supernovae exploding all around her.

Sexual desire

This is what I wrote in the beginning, when I thought the protagonists would be two young lovers. But I think the story has more depth when  the male protagonist is a flawed man in his late thirties-early forties, but with that boyishness still remaining in him.


He told her that he desired her above all, and his words found a resonating chord within her core.  Though as is the game of life, she was not free to give.

They stood in the rain like two teenagers, the Cambridge boy and the Oxford girl, lost in a sea of wanting. The wanting burned like no other fire. The source of her flame was the knowing that she alone walked the corridors of his sexual fantasy; it is very powerful for a woman to know that she is desired like this, by this beautiful and successful man. He dazzled, he simply dazzled. His height and his muscles – he had wanted to learn that crass Dirty Dancing routine and had asked her –  bedazzled from afar like some distant star, some dimensionless point particle with no physical reality even as they rode in taxis halfway across the world. That bedazzlement became real – oh, so real – when he showed her his desire. It was then it became all too real for her.

She knew that he burned for her, only for her, throughout his lonely nights because she had felt his wanting across the miles. So powerful was his wanting of her that the Higgs field that lay between them across the chasm came alive with his immense sexual desire.

He knew.

He knew that she had called out his name, silently in her heart, in the privacy of her bed, but her words were always stillborn because of her guilt.

But the fire burned on in her nonetheless, for his strength, for his asymmetric eyes, for his helpless wanting of her, for all that he is in this world. To tamp down this wildfire would be to kill off her inner being, the one that comes alive secretly for him and for him only. For as long as he desired her like this, her flame answered his.

The unseen universe within

It is said that youth is wasted on the young, and it is absolutely true. I went up to Oxford on scholarship when I was in my twenties, and I don’t think I pushed the envelope as far as I could. I wish it had been now. I would have made so much more of the same opportunities if they came my way today.

In my twenties, I had lots of small babies hanging off me, I had a part-time job to pay for what the scholarship could not cover, and I had a lot of practical things on my mind (like getting a well-paid job). But saying that, I was excited to be working at the Scanning Proton Microprobe Unit, which is based at the Nuclear Physics Department on Keble Road. After edgy Manchester, Oxford with its dreaming spires was like walking into a surreal filmset of a movie like Shadowlands. I loved the little church opposite my window, I loved the wide boulevards of St Giles, I loved the higgledy-piggledy bookshop, the Eagle & Child pub beloved of Lewis Carroll, I loved the Brown Cow, I loved my college, which was St. John’s. They all opened my eyes to something beautiful, that inspired me to write, in particular, this very Oxford book.

And in some strange way, I enjoyed being in the ‘dungeon’, where the accelerator and detector lived. Day in, day out, we would fire protons at a wide gamut of targets, and spend many more days processing the results in the hope of seeing ‘something’.

That is the exciting thing that I did not realise until much later on: there is such a rich universe that exists within ours. We could only see them indirectly through detectors which translate into data. But boy, what data! I wish I knew more, appreciated more.

Catching Infinity is about a theoretical physics Professor who was trying to solve the last remaining scientific conundrum: why Einstein’s General Relativity and the newer theories of Quantum Mechanics don’t fit in with each other to make the perfect picture? They should, as they both have been rigorously tested over many decades by countless high-calibre scientists spending billions of taxpayers’ money – yet these two vastly opposing world-views remain standing squaring each other off. The Professor goes on a merry dance to find the solution. Is there one?

His journey actually started when he was eight years old, when he was still an awkward, gawky kid from the veld.  He was the type of kid who asked a lot of questions (that was what I was like!) and his Oupa built him a particle accelerator deep in the Eastern Transvaal. Yes, it can be done! You can build one in your backyard for U$1,000. (*I am trying to persuade Thomas to let me build one in our small garden).

And to me, that is the excitement and passion I feel for this book, the journey of discovery and self-realisation that involves every single human being. The story takes readers through this eight year old farm boy’s beginnings (when he was wearing over-sized tackies inherited from his older brother, peering through his Oupa’s old binoculars at the stars over South Africa) to the man who built ‘an accelerator so large that it can be seen from the skies’. In that journey, he saw stars and galaxies so large that they were unreal in our physical reality. He also saw unreal particles (the quarks and leptons) that our material reality is made up of.

Please come with me, through the pages of Catching Infinity, on my belated walk through this magical realm that IS our reality.

Starry, starry night

In October, in Bembridge on the Isle of Wight, I saw the most amazing array of stars as we were walking on the beach late at night.  Having lived in big cities for most of my last ten years, I was enchanted.

In the book, the protagonist PW found fame because of his passionate documentary about stars. He told his audience, “If you want to see magic, go look at stars!”

I have always been fascinated by them. When I was a student at Oxford, I used to tag along with a group of expert friends who would go up to White Horse Hills to gaze at the night sky. We would sit on horse blankets, sustained with thermos of hot milky tea (and sometimes, stronger beverages).  On clear nights, in the countryside away from light pollution, with the naked eye you can see up to 19,000,000,000,000,000 miles away, very easily sky.  You don’t need telescope or binoculars (you just need to know what to look for), and you can easily see stars from other galaxies like the Andromeda that is 2.5 million light years away.  Considering that light travels round the earth seven times in one second, that is one heck of a distance away!

And that’s the thing about stars that fascinated me.  It was the first thing that moved me away from the world of Newtonian reality that we all are entrenched in to a magical Universe beyond and within.  That’s when magic becomes reality, when we are presented with unequivocal proofs that the things we cannot see with our own eyes (and thus rationalise) actually do exist.  Logic and common sense is based on everyday experience, not upon the Universe as it is revealed through the marvels of modern technologies that allow us to gaze deep into the heart of an atom or back to the newborn Universe. The quantum model of our Universe encompasses principles that contradict not only our everyday experience but also our intuitive concept of reality.

If you look at the photo accompanying this post, you will see a small fraction of galaxies that are in existence….and each galaxy contains billions of stars. And if someone on the other end of the galaxy is checking us out right this moment, he/she/it will see a bunch of Neanderthals clubbing each other.

Here is a link worth clicking on, to understand the magic I am talking about: http://htwins.net/scale2/

Be enchanted, you live in a magical realm ❤

The Dress

In Chapter 2, PW was quite taken aback by what this student was wearing:

The blerrie girl stood up, and she was wearing a curious lace dress of old gold, with tiny mother-of-pearl buttons that marched down her midline.

The student was of course Alice, and she was wearing a dress which looked startling amongst the bland uniform favoured by students the world over: jeans, jumper, dark colour, formless. Alice wore that incongruous dress,  because she was from that era. As the story unfolds, the reader will slowly realise that there is some time-warp going on…..

That Dress was inspired by my grandmother’s.  I inherited her wonderful wardrobe, lucky me 🙂 My grandmother had always been beautifully dressed, for she grew up in an era where people still get dressed up for dinner everyday. Though I am not fashion-conscious, I love the old glamour of my grandmother’s frocks and gowns. These days, we more than likely to buy meaningless fashion, worn only for a few times, discarded, at huge environmental and human costs (in the form of sweat shop/child labour).

Higher dimensions

It is difficult – if not near-impossible – for human beings to visualise higher dimensional space.  It is like explaining colours to a man born blind, as the protagonist PW said in his lecture in Chapter One. We are not able to visualise higher dimensions because of lack of evolutionary opportunities, i.e. our ancestors had no need to think what a 4-D space looks like, because savage beasts did not jump out at them from the higher dimensions.

Also, our relationship with our world is built on what we can see, and as we can only see 3-D, so we are stuck in a 3-D reality. Most of us go through life without missing the ability to see higher dimensions: we are content with the colours of the seasons and the shapes of modern architectures.

But imagine if you can…..

Early one October morning, when we were walking the dogs on the beach in Sandown on the Isle of Wight, I came across this structure under the old pier. If you stand at the right spot, you will see an infinite number of cubes receding into infinity.

For me, it is a lot like a a four-dimensional hypercube, known as a tesseract. Basically, the tesseract is an extension of the 3-D cube to one more perpendicular axis, and it is the simplest form of higher dimensional structure. Imagine being inside a tesseract! It would like being in a room with each window opening to a different time and space, like in the film Interstellar.  If you want to watch a pure tesseract movie, here it is: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0285492/

If you want to develop your spatial abilities, try drawing a tesseract. It is just a cube within a cube:

Untitled copy 2

And here is a lovely youtube clip about unwrapping a tesseract: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVo2igbFSPE