You know, there are a lot of words on this page.
Funny words. Thoughtful words. Meaningful words.
But they’re totally and utterly inadequate because nothing can capture the tragedy of this moment.
Nothing can capture the depth of our loss.
No speeches, no movies, no actions. Nothing.
When I write about my Yassi, I am but an ant attempting to describe the stars.
I first met her in the deserts of Syria on November 22nd, 2001.
We were both working for Schlumberger at the time.
Yassi was an engineer and I had just been promoted to run the business in Syria and in all of its lovely, lovely neighbours.
I arrived at the Schlumberger base and everyone came out to welcome me.
The manager whom I replaced was horrendous, really terrible.
The poor staff in Syria would have run outside to welcome Josef Stalin even if he’d arrived in a tank.
But there was one lady who hung back and looked kinda sad.
She was beautiful this girl; even in baggy blue Nomex coveralls, she was lovely.
I waded through the crowd trying to reach her but she just kept slipping away.
Eventually, I learned her name and I caught up with her and said, “You seem so sad Yasmin, what’s up?”
She looked at her boots and said, “It’s my birthday tomorrow and I can’t celebrate because I have to go and do a job in the middle of nowhere.”
(I thought to myself: “Ahhaaa, I can fix this. I am the boss and I shall use my vast power to save this lovely woman…”)
So I said, “Don’t worry about it Yasmin, I’m here now and I shall dispatch one of my minions to take your place…”
And I gave her a godly smile, like Zeus.
But she kept looking at her boots and shook her head.
“You can’t send anyone else. It’s an NMR job and I’m the only one in the country who knows how to run it.”
Now at that stage I had been out of the field for two years already and everything had moved on significantly.
The software, the technology, the procedures… They were all different.
But I looked at that lovely girl and I could not bear the thought of her sadness.
I could not bear it!
So I took a deep breath and said, “It’s okay Yasmin. I’ll do the job. I’ll take a trainee and we’ll figure it out.”
The smile that I got from her at that moment was bright enough to cast shadows on the moon…
And that’s how our life together started.
We were an extremely close couple.
I quit excellent jobs purely because they kept me away from home too much.
When I travelled on business, I didn’t fly to Houston or Baku or wherever.
I flew away from Yassi and that was the only direction that counted.
I didn’t spend a week in China or Chad or wherever.
I spent a week away from Yassi and that’s the only measure of time that counted.
She was the star chart against which I mapped my life.
She was the hourglass that represented time in my world.
She was my reference, my foundation, my happiness, my love, my everything…
But even now she’s not really gone, you know, not really.
Some scientists say, this world that we inhabit, this physical universe, is really just a big computer.
They say that information is the fundamental building block of our universe.
That matter and energy are just different forms of media upon which bits of data are encoded.
And they conclude that information can never be lost or destroyed.
I like that theory because Yassi generated an incredible amount of information.
More than anyone else I’ve ever met.
My Yassi survived a revolution and a major war.
She distinguished herself among millions of brilliant, competitive Iranian kids.
She earned the best degrees from the best institutions in a country where education is sacred.
She won more swimming medals than I can carry.
She rose through the ranks of Schlumberger like a rocket.
She got the best sales results in PGS by a country mile.
My Yassi visited 48 countries; most of them while holding an Iranian passport.
She swam with sea lions in Gallapagos.
She bathed in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland.
She dived in Egypt, Thailand, Maldives, Mauritius, Caribbean, you name it…
She learned to ski and did the Sellaronda in Italy.
She conquered Courcheval, Verbier, Zermatt, St Moritz, Banff, Whistler, Vail. You name it, she skied it.
She climbed Mount Fuji overnight and watched sunrise from the peak at 4am, while shivering like a leaf.
She wandered through Angkor Wat in Cambodia with the guide who tended Angelina Jolie.
She stayed in the same room as President Kennedy.
She crawled all over Machu Picchu after riding the Orient Express.
She climbed glaciers in Patagonia and sipped Malbec in Mendoza.
She did Burj al Arab, Villa D’Este and Jade Mountain.
She did Rome, Pompeii, Venice, Florence, Abruzzo, etcetera.
She learned the waltz in Vienna and attended Austria’s most prestigious ball.
She got married in a castle in France.
She ate at more Michelin-starred restaurants than a London food critic.
She learnt cooking from Georges Blanc and Jean-Christophe Novelli.
She did 90kg deadlifts and boxed personal trainers into submission!
She helped me write a book and drive Ferraris and live in amazing penthouses.
Yassi had a lust for life that was incredible.
She never looked backwards or held a grudge.
She simply wanted tomorrow to be better than today.
That was her goal.
Every single day she spent time thinking about her friends and family and how she could make them happy.
Every single day.
She gave advice, remembered birthdays, devised clever gifts, listened with interest and worked hard to make a positive impact on the lives of everyone she cared about.
And she succeeded dramatically.
Yassi is an amazing woman and she set standards that few, if any of us, could ever hope to meet.
Yassi is magnificent!
And I say “is” deliberately because our Yassi is eternal.
The information that she created can never be destroyed until the end of time, until everything ends in a “Big Crunch” and all meaning ceases to exist.
Yassi is still with us in the sunlight that she absorbed and reflected.
She’s still with us in the air and the water that she stirred.
She thrives in our memories and our habits and our hearts.
We all resonate with the joy that Yassi inspired in our lives.
This body, this tool that represented Yassi in our world is gone because it was an inadequate vessel.
It could not possibly contain the wonders of Yassi’s personal universe and so it burnt out like an overloaded fuse.
But the real Yassi is eternal.
The information that she created will never fade.
The imprint that she left on this world will last forever.
Thanks for being so wonderful Yassi.
I’ll see you soon honey, I’ll see you soon.