A Dog’s Life

 

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After a decadent sleep, Babar woke up and stretched languorously on the carpeted floor. Lazily, he walked over to his food bowl. A full plate of shredded boiled chicken meat was waiting for him. He gulped it all down greedily in seconds. He walked around from room to room looking for his owners. They irritated him sometimes by not walking him more often and by not giving him all the tasty food he likes all the time . He hated it that they put him on a strict diet and were too cautious about him getting fat. He was too young to think about all that. He retaliates by biting their feet and hands when he does not get what he wants. He even learned a new trick of barking at them to receive a speedy response to his demands. Grinning, he was pleased to think about how easily he can manipulate them.

The need to relieve his bladder made him restless. Where could his people be? he wondered. Walking towards the front yard he did a double take when he saw the gate. It was wide open. His owners, no where in sight. He hated being cooped up inside the house. This was his chance. He dashed for freedom.

Lifting his right hind leg, he watered the nearest bush with great satisfaction. A female dog saw him and ran excitedly to greet him. After smelling each other front and back, Babar went on his way. It was a Sunday morning and most of the residents in the community were having tea and reading newspapers in their balconies or gardens. A common indolent sight in his neighborhood.

Walking further he came across a white cocker spaniel accompanied by a young pretty girl in shorts and flip flops. The immaculate canine looked too posh he felt shy all of a sudden. He always rushes towards another dog whenever he sees one but at that moment he was overcome with awe at this cotton like apparition . He just stood there mystified. With an arrogant flip of her tail the fluffy dog strutted away. Babar shrugged and walked on.

An old woman in a beige Salwar Kameez suit stopped on her tracks when she saw him. Babar was feeling naughty and thought of scaring the woman even more. He ran towards her as if to jump. The woman shrieked loudly almost shattering his eardrums. He abandoned the idea. The woman muttered invectives towards his owners and with angry steps walked towards the direction of his house. Babar grinned, unconcerned. Not his problem.

His adventurous steps finally led him to the main gate of the housing estate. It was also wide open that day. Should he or shouldn’t he? Excitement tripled the beating of his heart. He has not been outside the gated community by himself before. He decided to go for it. The street was deserted. Before him were long stretches of roads as far as he could see. And only one or two cars passed by with long intervals every now and then. He ran to his heart’s content. He was having so much fun he failed to notice the scenery changing. Gone was the pathway lined with pretty trees and the neatly trimmed bushes. Instead, rotting mangled cars decorated the road. Garbage strewed all around.

Walking slowly now he saw a man and a woman in front of a house made of two blankets tied to a tree forming a tent. The woman wearing a sari clutched a bare bottomed child to her bosom while making tea on a makeshift stove of rocks and woods. Flies buzzing around them. Two slightly older kids were rummaging through a dumpster nearby. Diligently sorting through the trash for any edible scraps they could find. With them was a pack of stray dogs. Babar walked hesitantly towards them. He snipped what they were snipping.  He thought the mutts must be eating something tasty seeing them ate with gusto. He saw an empty packet of milk. He loved milk. His owners always take  the discarded milk packet he steals from the trash away from his mouth when they see him chewing on it. He was about to grab the plastic pack with his mouth when a thin brown dog noticed him.

” Hey you! You selfish bastard! Are you not from inside that place?” He barked, indicating with his nose the row of flats inside the colony. All the dogs were looking at him now, baring their teeth. Babar changed his stance. The hair on his back raised aggressively.

” Look how fat you are! You must be eating all those fancy food. What are you doing here stealing our scrap? We have to fend for ourselves you know! These leftovers are barely enough for all of us.” growled the black mongrel. Walking with deliberate slowness around him with a menacing expression on his face. Babar did not show it but fear was spreading in his limbs. Five dogs with hatred on their faces surrounded him, their postures geared for a fight.

” He must be one of those who even sleeps on his owner’s bed. Look how clean he is. How shiny his fur is.” sneered a white bitch with a patch of black in one eye. They all laughed at him.

Before they could attack him, Babar jumped over the tiniest dog and ran for his life. He didn’t stop running until he was inside the gate of his society. He saw madness on those canines’ eyes. They were going to rip him apart. His heart thundered in his chest.

“Babar!” He heard a familiar comforting voice calling him and he ran towards the source of that maternal sound like a wanderer in the desert seeing a pool of water. He jumped inside the wide open arms of his caretaker. ” You made us so worried. Where did you go? Honey he is over here.” she called out to her husband.

Babar licked the face of his master gratefully when finally his master called him over to him. The master patted his head lovingly. ” I think my boy had learned a very important lesson today.” Babar wagged his tail in agreement.

Sometimes we need a little freedom to make mistakes so we can  value  more the life we are given.

(*Housing estate or gated communities are called colonies or societies around here, well according to my husband.) ©JMKhapra

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The Confining Walls Of Our Beliefs

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” I think you should not marry him.” Bonnie said emphatically. I looked at her sadly. She was my last hope. Her opinion being the last sign from which my decision would be based upon. Yes, in days of confusion and indecisions, I too fell in the trap of ” looking for signs ” while contemplating a pertinent problem in want of a solution. Needless to say these signs only led to more confusion and further indecisions.

Bonnie sighed, her face contorted with remembered pain. ” Marriage had not been easy for a Christian woman like me marrying into a family with a different religion.”

We were sitting in her spacious bedroom at that moment but when first I came to her house and was introduced to her in laws I did not sense any tension between them at all. I wondered what she was talking about.

” My father -in-law had beaten my husband black and blue when he insisted on marrying me.” she continued. My eyes widened.

It was unfathomable for me how a grown man can be beaten by his father. But apparently in that country it is quite common.

I met Bonnie when I went for a Sunday mass in a Christian Church in the city. Praying in an empty church has always been my one solace every time my life is caught in a whirlwind. At that time I was in the middle of a milder thunderstorm and like a guardian angel she sat by my side. My face must have been as gloomy as the church interior for she asked, ” What’s bothering you child?” My answer was a quivering sigh. Tears held at bay, brimming at the eyelids where one kind word would send them cascading down my cheeks. She patted my hands and whispered to me that I should meet her after service.

Salty water burst forth like in a broken dam from my eyes when finally I related to her the whole story, sitting in a room at the second floor of the church where she taught Sunday school for children. With a motherly sympathy she told me she will pray for me and my troubles. And she will ponder over the situation and would call me if she has an answer for me. She called after a few days. So there I sat in front of her while she dashed my hopes and dreams over coffee.

Bonnie is a beautiful tall woman from the North. She could easily been an actress or a model in my opinion. She has those perfect cheekbones and soulful light eyes with a curtain of the thickest lashes I’ve ever seen. With her beauty complemented by her tender heart, it was easy to see why her husband fought tooth and nail to keep her. Their relationship endured countless attempts of separation from her husband’s family but without success. They even threatened to disown her husband. But nothing fazed them. Against all odds they wed and are now blessed with three kids.

” I insisted we marry in a Christian church. Afterwards I fought hard to remain Christian. I did not convert. My faith is all I had. It is my choice. The only thing left of my independence . I held on to it.” I could feel the passion she had for her faith very strongly. I wondered If they beat her up for that too. She did not hint on it throughout the conversation but I thought it was more than probable.

” But then came the children.” Pain flitted in her eyes once more.

” Though my husband never asked me to convert, my in-laws of course would never allow my children to be Christians. This is one fight I could never win. I could never get them baptized. That tears at my heart. How will I save them from eternal damnation? I had to sneaked them out of the house when they were babies just so I can take them to the church. To know the Lord.”

She looked intently into my eyes. ” You don’t want that to happen to you.”

I was speechless. I could not answer her. She was right. It will affect the children’s lives most of all. Which belief would the children cling to before they can choose one for themselves? I said goodbye to her with a heavy heart. Still undecided and all the more confused. I walked away dazed with questions in my head . Plunged in deep reflection.

At the heights of love everything seems so carefree, even childlike in its wantonness . So what was I doing in the middle of something so serious, an issue that keeps polarizing nations apart? Whose God is the real God? Or if there is one? And which religion leads to everlasting life? And again if that is even possible? Why should we give up one for another? Why does it keep pulling people apart instead of together? It was all so complicated. Besides the culture barrier, there is religious barriers too. Why do people constantly build walls to keep each other out? Is elitism such an inborn trait? If other religions do not want Christians in their flock, some Christian are not any better in accepting others too. My ardent Christian friends back home gave me stern advice against marrying outside the faith. Frowning at me, I felt the sting of their scorn for beliefs different from theirs. How ironic. Jesus himself right there written in the bible mingled with everybody. He was the coolest dude who does not possess on single elitist bone in his body.

Without an answer to my dilemma I was only left with a conclusion that maybe people do feel safe if they belong to one “CLUB” or the other. And they fear that someone who does not clearly belong to one is dangerous and must be avoided.

©JMKhapra

Let us not run from the Pain That Comes With Love

A gash exposing his raw pink flesh underneath the skin tears my heart out every time I look at it. His once boisterous disposition now reduced to lethargic limping saddens me. It hurts to see him hurting. I feel helpless as I can help very little to ease his suffering.

I tried to hold my tears at bay when hubby brought him home, injured. A car almost ran him over hurting his right paw. I could not stop the irrational anger I felt. I could not even look at hubby for a while. I used to see this kind of reaction from women on films and read it in books whenever a couple is confronted by a loss or accident . I thought then how selfish of the woman to feel this way when clearly the husband needs her understanding and support in a crisis. Yet I did the same thing. I was ashamed of myself for withdrawing emotionally from my husband while I quelled the panic rising in my heart. I knew this was wrong. I was fighting the urge to blame him. He was already so distraught for he love Babar, our dog very dearly even more than I do and his burden of guilt is heavy. He sought reassurance from me that I was not angry at him. But I could not give it until I got over my shock. I have to cry. The pain I felt when I saw Babar’s condition surprised me.

I can only imagine the distress parents go through every time their children get hurt, even if it’s just a very minor injury. I now understand why parents tend to be over protective. The thought of anything bad happening to our kids is unbearable. I always used to make fun of my father by teasing him that he will only stop worrying about our safety if none of us, his children would ever go out of the house or move at all. Now I get it. For I never felt this kind of pain before. It is almost physical. It’s an arrow piercing one’s heart. When you deeply love someone this sensation seems to be inevitable.

My husband loves fully and is not afraid of the pain that comes with it. I on the other hand try to shield myself from this feeling by resorting to logic and rationalization. It worked a lot of times for me before. I was able to move on, burying past hurts, calling it experience and compiling it as a guide book for future heartbreaks. There was a time when I forced myself to feel emotionally numb. But I would have also forgotten how to love had I remained that way.

My husband held me quietly while I unburdened my terror through shedding a few tears.

” It is painful to love.” I exclaimed when I was calmer. My husband chuckled gently caressing my hair softly.

” It is okay to feel hurt sometimes as a consequence of loving. ” He said, hugging me. “Don’t try to escape it. You love and that is a beautiful thing.”

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Thankfully the doctor said he is going to be okay in a few days.

©JMKhapra

Greed, Negligence or Laziness?

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Today I experienced an incident which I concluded to be an allegory or a microscopic example of a simple chain of corruption that pervades our society.

Last Friday, I searched for the book Ten Novels and Their Authors by Somerset Maugham, online. A book I had been looking for in bookstores for a long time but could not find. I found it available on a website I regularly order books from. The edition with the price of 399 rupees was out of stock. A copy worth 701 rupees was available though so I ordered it. I was informed the shipping would be on the 5th and delivery on 8th.

I assumed that the 399 rupees edition that is out of stock must have been a re-print from a local publication and the 701 rupees edition would be coming from abroad therefore more expensive and probably printed in a much nicer paper. Sadly I was wrong.

The package came the next day. I was pleased but puzzled. I asked the courier man how come it came so early. The man vaguely replied. ” We found it ma’am.”

I opened the package. The book looked old. Brown and spotted at the edges. The letters are printed in the ugliest font possible. It hurts my eye just looking at it. The paper is cheap and coarse. On the front page tuck in between the pages was a piece of paper torn from a notebook indicating this is from the batch 2011. Therefore an old stock. At the back of the book there are 3 tags, the logo of the website, a price of 399 rupees with the name of a popular local publication above and the third one, the price of 399 rupees with the name of the original publication. Obviously they gave me an old stock which has the value of 399 rupees instead of 701 rupees. I felt robbed.

A couple of scenarios played in my mind. I don’t know how this business works. But I am guessing that when I placed the order in the website it was passed on to another another company who will search and deliver me the book. Where did then the corruption, neglect or laziness occurred? From which end?

Let say Mr. B is the second company who search for, buy and deliver the book. Mr. B found the book right away, an old stock for 399 rupees but he sees the the customer is charge 701 rupees. What should Mr. B do? Should Mr. B call the company who hired him and inform them of this fact? If he is honest, thorough and reliable he should have. But he didn’t. Did he keep the 300 rupees extra for himself? Or is company aware of these discrepancies? Is it laziness to do the right thing which prevented them from correcting this irregularity or did Mr. B wanted to make extra money from cheating the customer crossing his fingers hoping the customer would not notice? Are they so without shame that they did not even bother to remove the original price tag from the back cover? I could not find any justification for the extra 300 rupees they charged me for the book.

I wrote them a letter and complained about this, demanding they give me back my money or deliver a book of my choosing having the same value they owed me.

Today someone from their company with a machine gun for a mouth called me. After asking him to slow down, he proceeded to explain how their company works and in a defensive unpleasant tone told me, ” It is not as if we deliberately overcharged you…” I stopped him right there and told him I don’t care how their company operates, that is not my concern. I ordered a product which has a value of 701 rupees instead I got something for the value of 399 rupees so obvious there was no point arguing about it. I told him whatever it is that happened between ordering and delivery should not be my problem and what is due me should be given to me. He grudgingly agreed and promised me vaguely that he will ask his supervisor and see if I could be compensated for this. But I have a feeling this issue will not be remedied. That won’t stopped me from hounding them until I get my money’s worth back though. Social media like Facebook and blogs are great platform for this. There is no escape.

I don’t see what the big deal is. What I asked is simple. Give me back my money’s worth. Someone made huge a profit and someone else may have to pay for it. I don’t care. To keep your customer happy and regained their trust a manager or whoever is responsible for customer related issues should pay back even from his own pocket the money they clearly owe the customer.

Be honest. Be fair. Be diligent. Then these kind of problems will not happen. You cannot lose the trust of a customer for a meager 300 rupees. I told them businesses also rely in the power of the word of mouth. An incident like this can easily ruin their reputation.

I am currently awaiting their reply for the second letter I sent them.

Now isn’t this exactly the kind of frustration we faced everyday because of laziness and greed? Be it in obtaining justice for bigger crimes or just a matter of getting your official documents done, someone is being sloppy and lazy and someone is out to get that unearned quick buck. If I just shrugged my shoulders and kept quiet the thieves would have merrily went their way without a second thought. We have the power now to demand what is due to us. Do not let anybody rob that right from you.

©JMKhapra

*The second time the customer service guy called me, they said they will not refund me because the book I received was imported from the US  which was a boldfaced lie and I told him so but he did not relent. Eventually the company refunded me though, through some kind of an online wallet after I put the link to this blog on my complaint letter.  

Apple And Abigail: Online Romance

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Apple blushed unexpectedly. “ Well, I met someone.”

“ Really? “ Abigail’s eye widening in excitement her current distress momentarily forgotten.

“ Where ? Who is he?”

“ Online. “

“Oh.” She leaned back, looking skeptic.” People still chat? “

“ Well he’s nice. I like him. He’s from India.” Apple answered defensively. Lowering her eyes and blushing again.

“ India? Bombay? ” Abigail snickered.

“ Don’t be stupid, they are called Indians not Bombay. Bombay is a city. “

Abigail wrinkled her nose as if smelling something pungent.

“ I’m not fond of Indian food.” Abigail said as if she meant to say something else. She looked at Apple as if she was laughing at her.

“ Who’s talking about food. Well I was reading about this book by an Indian author, Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. It’s an amazing book. I totally fell in love with the characters. The ending made me cry so much. It’s about the partition in India–“

“ Where do you find the time to read.” Abigail interrupted. She was not all interested about anything Indian.

“ Anyways, I am really curious about India and their culture.” Apple continued, slightly annoyed at being interrupted.

“ Does he speaks English? “ Abigail teased.

“ Don’t be stupid he speaks perfect English. Plus he sounded nice. “

Abigail raised her eyebrows. “You spoke to him on the phone? “

Apple blushed even more. “ He calls me sometimes.”

“ What does he do? “

“ He’s an artist.”

“ Hmmm…Anyway, do you think I should call Oliver? “

Apple knew that Abigail’s interest in her life had ended there.

“ Oh shoot! I don’t have any money!” Abigail said after rummaging through her purse. Apple shrugged and said she’ll take care of it.

“ I hope your car tank is filled? ”

“ I didn’t check.” Abigail bit her lower lips and looked wide-eyed.

Apple pretended to be annoyed but can’t help but smile. She can’t resist Abigail when she put on the charm.

Abigail was always running out of cash and constantly borrowing from her. She had a fondness for expensive clothes and bags and can’t seem to control herself when they go out shopping. Apple in contrast was very frugal and sometimes Abigail found it frustrating that Apple takes forever to decide in buying one item of clothing. “ What is there to think about? It’s only 500 pesos.” Abigail would say in exasperation .

“ Well, I don’t really know if I need it. And it doesn’t match with any of my clothes.”

“ Arrgh. We wasted time for nothing! ” Abigail would exclaim, irritated.

At the end of the day Abigail would have tons of shopping bag in her hands while Apple would end having a new book instead.

Apple glanced around the café. The place was packed. Young professional like them were yapping away while drinking their cappuccinos. Some just got off from work. Some engrossed with their laptops.

“ Oh I’m so bored. I wish he’d call me and apologize for what he said. How can he think I’m so needy? “ Abigail exclaimed, still thinking of her ex-boyfriend.

“ Forget about him. You’ll find someone new. Look, that cute guy over there is checking you out.” Apple said teasing her, subtlety pointing with her lips at the guy sitting on the table on their right. The guy had been constantly looking in their direction all evening. He smiled when they caught him looking at them. He has nice dimpled smile. Abigail giggled.

“ You’re crazy.” Abigail said shyly. “ I can’t think about other guys right now. I am heartbroken.” But she was blushing and stole a glance at the guy.

Apple laughed and shook her head. “ I’ll just check my mails.” She opened her laptop and logged on to her yahoo messenger.

“ He’s online”

“ Who?”

“The guy I was telling you about.”

“What’s his name?”

Suraj.”

“Suraj? ” Abigail laughed. “What kind of name is that? Show me his photo.”

Apple searched for a downloaded photo of Suraj in her computer.

She showed her a close up photo of a man with a charming smile. Abigail looked at the photo and looked at her with both eyebrows raised. “Hmm. He’s not bad looking.” The guy was slightly tan with prominent well shape nose and forehead. He has deep set eyes curtained by long curly lashes. Expression in his eyes gentle and easy. Jaws evenly shaped and masculine with strong slightly pointed chin. His smile created a nice dimpled line on his cheeks. His hair was slightly wavy just tucked behind ears curling around the lobe.

“ He doesn’t look Indian “. Abigail remarked.

“ Yeah I know.” Apple replied, smiling.

“ He looks more like Italian or something. “ She added.

“ Is he tall?” Abigail asked, interest growing in her eyes.

“ 5’10 or 5’11 I think. He’s very smart too.” Apple said, feeling proud now.

“Are you sure he’s not a psycho. I heard horror stories about guys in the internet. He could be a con artist or something. “ Abigail looked at Apple, trying not to sound impressed..

“ No I don’t think so. I am very good judge of character. I’ll know if he was lying to me. He is just a regular guy. “ Apple felt defensive again. She wondered why does she always seeks Abigail’s approval on her choices of men. She can’t help feeling inferior to Abigail in this aspect. She hates to admit that she actually cares what Abigail thinks about Suraj.

“ Still, you should be careful. If he’s all that great why is his spending so much time on the internet?” Abigail said leaning back on her chair.

Well, I am there too and for sure I am not a psycho. Meeting people online gives you a chance to know more the person’s mind first and appearance comes secondary as opposed to when you meet someone in person. They judge you with how you look first before they become interested in you. “ Apple replied almost crossly and blushed profusely afterwards. She knew she sounded desperate to justify her friendship with Suraj. She didn’t need to.

Abigail nodded. “ Well, that’s true. That’s what happens to me all the time I guess. I get fooled by someone’s appearance. Sometimes they can appear to be intelligent even when they’re not. Sometimes it’s too late in the conversation before you notice how idiotic they were.”

“ I want you to meet him. Let’s have a conference online.” Apple felt grateful that Abigail finally saw the sense in what she was doing. It assuaged her fears that she was doing something silly.

“Okay.”

Abigail reached for her bag and took out her pink Apple Macbook pro.

“ Do you have an YM ID?” Apple asked.

“ I think so. Let me check if it’s still working.” Abigail double clicked her yahoo messenger application.

Apple sent Suraj a message.

BookWormIsh85: Hi there.

005Nightcafe83: Hey, how are you?

BookWormIsh85: I’m good. I’m with a friend. She wants to meet you.

005Nightcafe83: Oh okay. What’s her name?

Bookwormish85: Abigail.

When Abigail went online, Apple invited the two for a conference.

005Nightcafe83: Hi Abigail, nice to meet you.

Decadent_Diva0022:Hi Suraj, what’s up?

005Nightcafe83: Nothing much. Just drinking beer and chatting.

Decadent_Diva0022: Cool. What do you do Suraj?

005Nightcafe83: I paint occasionally. Most of the time I’m on bike, traveling.

Abigail laughed.

Decadent_Diva0022: Do you carry an umbrella?

Apple pinched Abigail

005Nightcafe83: Huh?

Shut up Abigail.

Abigail could not stop laughing.

BookWormIsh85: I am sorry Suraj. Abigail is teasing you. Most of the Indian who lives in Philippines rides a motorcycle and carry umbrellas.

005Nightcafe83: Oh.

Decadent_Diva0022: And they have this business. 5-6.

005Nightcafe83: What is that?

BookWormIsh85: It’s like this. Supposed they lend you money for five thousand and you return it to them as six thousand. They come to your house everyday and you have to pay 1 peso a day until you fully paid it

005Nightcafe83: Lol, really.

Abigail was still laughing.

“Abigail, stop it”. But Apple can’t help but laugh too.

005Nightcafe83: I know that some Indian went to Philippines when they fought for the British army during World War 1. They were called Sepoys.

Decadent_Diva0022: Oh. We didn’t know that.

BookWormIsh85: Well, I kind of heard about that. In history class I think.

Decadent_Diva0022: I also paint. Sometimes. I’m a graphic designer. Who’s your fav artist.

005Nightcafe83: Van Gogh.

Decadent_Diva0022: Mine is Gauguin.

005Nightcafe83: Hmm. I like Gauguin too. He was friends with Van Gogh. I like his palette.

Decadent_Diva0022: And I really hate Picasso and Dali.

005Nightcafe83: Why do you hate Picasso? I hate Dali too. I think his works are bullshit.

Decadent_Diva0022: Picasso and Diego Rivera were both blatant womanizers. Ugh.

BookWormIsh85: I like Frida Kahlo’s work. She’s a strong woman and it shows in her work.

005Nightcafe83: Yeah Frida Kahlo is cool.

Decadent_Diva0022: Anyway, do you have sample of your work?

005Nightcafe83: Hold on.

After a few minutes Suraj started photo sharing his work. It was a caricature study of his face.

Decadent_Diva0022: Wow these are good.

“I told you he is good.” Apple whispered.

Time flew and they found themselves still chatting after a few hours past midnight. Common interests were shared. Suraj mentioned he liked beaches and the two girls exclaimed that their country was surrounded by it. Suraj in turn told them about his bike trips to the Himalayas.

BookWormIsh85: On a bike? In the snow? Isn’t it dangerous?

005Nightcafe83: Not really, one has to be slightly careful. There’s nothing like it. It’s exhilarating. The landscape changes after every few kilometers from green meadows to desert to snowy mountains.

BookWormIsh85: Oh wow. Let me Google some photos of that.

Decadent_Diva0022: I would really want to see Taj Mahal. I think it is just amazing. I am really fond of Mughal architectures.

005Nightcafe83: If you are really interested, you should both come here. I would be glad to show you around.

Apple and Abigail looked at each other. Go to India?

“We’ll think about it.” They both typed at the same time and laughed.

A bit of light was already creeping in the horizon when they finally stopped chatting. But the café was still full.

“That chat made me crave for the beach. I’m thinking we should go to Boracay. “ Abigail said, dreamily.

“ Aren’t you looking for a job? “ Apple looked at her frowning.

“ Not to worry about that. Sooner or later I’ll join my father’s company. For now I just want to take it easy. And you can do your job anywhere. “

Apple already joined a pool of writers for a local tv station after their internship. She will start writing for a daily soap opera very soon.

“ It’s the rainy season now, not exactly the best time for the beach.” It was already middle of June and the rainy season had begun.

“I like rainy season on the beach more than summers. The annoying Manila crowed would no longer be there. Besides it is off season now. Everything will be cheap.” Abigail said looking at her with half smile. She knew Apple’s weakness for discounts.

“ I guess I can take a week off before they started shooting the soaps and we are also done with the brain storming, anyway. I’m doing the episodes for the third week though. I suppose it would be nice to write my stories there.”

Abigail looked at her. “As if I will let you write in peace.” She chuckled naughtily.

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I Will Buy An e- Book Written By Bloggers

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I have been following closely a lot of amazing writers in WordPress and a realization dawned upon me. This is truly the future of book writing or book promotion. Bloggers have swayed a staunch paperback reader like me to start downloading ebook editions of novels I like from online writers I have been reading religiously.

I am an avid reader. I read news, articles and books. Lots of books. I spent a fortune on them more than on anything I have. Like clothes or shoes, gadgets etc. I buy tons of books I will be reading five years from now. I don’t go anywhere without a book attached to my armpit. Armpit? Lol. I have more books than furniture. In my cupboard instead of food you will find neatly stacked copies of classics, books written by Jane Austen, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Hemingway, and their contemporaries. In my closet competing with my clothes for space are books by Umberto Eco, Marco Polo, Salman Rushdie, Naguib Mahfouz, Orhan Pamuk, Gabriel Garcia Marquez…( I have a long list and I don’t want to bore you with it). . .so yeah, I love books.

But I am unable to read books for entertainment so definitely I would never pick up a book like’ Fifty Shades of Trash’. I apologize for being a book snob. But more than money I do not want to waste my time reading something insipid which for sure will fail to evoke strong emotions in me nor will illustrate life and living in the truest sense. I no longer indulge in fantasies. I don’t want to escape from reality. I want to know it, shred it piece by piece, inhale it, bathe in it and let it seep in my pores until I reek of it. So. (shrugs)

I say future of book writing because after reading bit and pieces of wonderfully crafted stories or even just beautifully strung phrases from bloggers I came to the conclusion that yes if they have a book available online I would want to read it. And I would be willing to  pay for it.

Blogging is the reality TV of the literary world. And I have seen a few Kim Kardashians in here.

Day by day I watched these men and women spew genius online. And so close at hand not some remote obscure author I heard from a review or from a friend. Feeling even some delusion that I am developing some kind kinship with them. They are reachable, breathing, living, human authors not just a name below the title of a novel. They respond when I reach out and show appreciation of their works.

I felt a sudden shift of attitude towards the kind of books I will read from now on. Of course I will still buy books from my favorite famous authors but those are few and far between so in the meantime I would gladly watch out for future ebook publications from my favorite bloggers.

©JMKhapra

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Lullabies In The Valley Of Dreams

 

A quaint little village in Sangla

Summer arrived, blazing and crackling. The air sizzled frying at forty-five degrees (Celsius). Fed up with living in air-conditioned existence, we decided it was time to leave the city.

So Hubby, Babar and I with our suitcases packed for a seven-day adventure, drove up and up the mountain chasing some chilly wind.

Narkanda highway
Wall of pine trees in Kufri
Heart-stopping roads in Kinnaur District

The roads tapered off as we were nearing the top, sending some nervous flutter in my heart.

Descending from Rampur, a pleasant drive along the river.
Babar enjoying the breeze. Ears flapping about.
If I have ears that long it will be flapping too.
Climbing extremely narrow roads on the way to Sangla.

 Then it soared when my eyes behold the snowy peaks in the horizons.

The lethal beauty of Sangla Valley at the height of 2800 meters.
Babar passed out after a whole day of driving.

As the sun was setting, finally we reached the camp. The signboard was on the road but darned it the campsite was way down below.

Kinner Camp

Holding my breath while Hubby turned the car around, tires rolling by a hair’s breadth on the edge of the cliff, I was left thinking the camp owners may have some sadistic streak. After enduring the torment of that snaky ascent, they make sure the thrill continues with the roller coaster descent.

Very comfortable accommodation with an attached bathroom ( western toilet and shower) unlike real camping at all.
The valley morning after.
Babar sleeping soundly in the fresh air.
Sharing a cup of chai with hubby.

Waking up the next morning after a very sound sleep, sipping tea in front of the tent with the mighty snowy mountain right in front of me, I was filled with a deep-seated feeling of well being.

Not a soul was stirring from the nearby tents. The silence was pure and sweet. A commune with nature in the truest sense.

The Mighty Baspa River

When Hubby and Babar finally roused, off, we went hiking towards the mighty stream. Furious cascading water thundering down from the melting snow of the northern Himalayan peaks.

The roaring stream.
Babar testing the waters.

The energetic canine run to and pro, going mad with the freedom to leap and bound. Once or twice, Babar braved the icy water and dipped his toes. Oh, how he loved the water! He would swim if not for the turbulent flow.

The water dog.

Lovely Chitkul Valley
Pashmina heaven.
Passing by surrealistic looking roads on our way to Kalpa

Snowy peaks in Kalpa

Days in the camp passed by like a dream. We were lulled into calmness and serenity. All our silly worldly cares momentarily forgotten.

Babar made a lot of new friends in the camp.
Little girls who were very fond of Babar.

I go to nature to be soothed and healed and to have my senses put in order.
-John Burroughs

©JMKhapra