How I Applied Newton’s Three Laws Of Motion To Improve My Life

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One morning on our way to McDonalds for breakfast we passed by the remnants of demolished car repair shops along the road. It rained the night before, whatever was salvageable in the wreckage now buried in muck. Among the rag pickers scavenging the area were some shop owners sitting dejected and hopeless staring in front of the rubble. With their source of income now wiped away they must be feeling that life has dealt them a bad hand. I thought of the families they have to feed. Of their kids who have to go to school. Of how they will manage now.

” But they knew it is illegal all along.” replied my husband when I told him I felt sorry for them.

Which is true. Sometimes we make decisions to do something even though we know we would be on the wrong track and would try to risk it, crossing our fingers, hoping that just for us the universe will adjust and give us the outcome we hope for. This never works. The universe is governed by its own law. Like the law of gravity, what comes up must come down. Except of course if you are a satellite in space. So if it is illegal you will get caught. And if the clouds are dark it will rain. Continue reading

Enchanting Adventures in A Magical Place

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We climbed gingerly, Babar in silent awe as we navigated the narrow looping roads going up the mountain curtained on both sides by trees huddled closely together amidst a think blanket of foliage. A sharp chill in the air made us shiver as we went further up, lush vegetation obliterating the sun turning day into night at four o’ clock in the afternoon. Mini waterfalls every time we turned into a curve trickled down on the side of the mountain licking the verdant leaves of enormous ferns lining the road. Our excitement mounting as we drove higher and higher. We were on the last stretch of our fourteen hour drive from Delhi to Chopta. Chopta is a beautiful hill station known as the mini Switzerland of India, located in the mountainous state of Uttaranchal in the northern part of the country. It is seven hours further away by road from Rishikesh.

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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

Letting The Mind Rest When It Is Due

The mind was in overdrive, now depleted, words lost their meanings and would not string together to make sense.

Staring blankly at the pristine screen deciding against smearing it with inanity.

Letting the mind rest for now, renewing and soothed by nature’s refreshing dew.

Shutting it off momentarily letting the heart take the lead, letting the limbs dance.

Being dumb and carefree for a while perhaps there will be plenty of things to write about after that.

©JMKhapra

A novel is to be read for enjoyment

If it doesn’t give that, it is, so far as the reader is concerned , valueless. In this respect every reader is his own best critic, for he alone knows what he enjoys and what he doesn’t. I think, however, that the novelist may claim that you do not do him justice unless you admit that he has the right to demand something of his readers. He has the right to demand that they should possess the small amount of application that is needed to read a book of three or four hundred pages. He has the right to demand that they should have sufficient imagination to be able to interest themselves in the lives, joys and sorrows, tribulations, dangers and adventures of the characters of his invention. Unless a reader is able to give something of himself, he cannot get from a novel the best it has to give. And if he isn’t able to do that, he had better not read at all. There is no obligation to read a work of fiction.

-Somerset Maugham, Ten Novels And Their Authors

The Golden Notebook A True Gem

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What an incredible, wonderful exhausting book to read!

The last page has been read, the book closed, kissed and kept away yet the sentiments of those beautifully crafted words still linger around me like an intoxicating perfume leaving me dazed confused and lost in a different world and time. The protagonist’s depression rubbed on me a little. Leaving me pondering over my existence in this world as woman and what have I contributed for the betterment of humanity. I am ashamed to admit that most of my energy and efforts revolve around myself, my family and my friends’ concerns. Whatever good deed I dished out to someone or to some organization had been too inconsequential to even mention. Perhaps it’s not too late. There are so many chances to care for others and be involved.

Needles to say the book moved me very deeply. I fell in love with Anna’s (the protagonist ) beautiful, lucid introspections that assaulted me page after page, sometimes finding myself closing the book when it’s about to overwhelm me. Continue reading

She Would Fight To Return To Naivety

He destroyed in her the knowing, doubting, sophisticated Ella, and again and again he put her intelligence to sleep, and with her willing connivance, so that she floated darkly on her love for him, on her naivety, which is another word for a spontaneous creative faith. And when his own distrust of himself destroyed this woman-in-love, so that she began thinking, she would fight to return to naivety.”

― Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook

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.  

She Tried She Failed

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I feel good. So much better than I did a few months ago. Lileth and dad visited me. I am happy to see my sister growing up to be a fine young woman. I am proud of her. She looks up to me. I am sad about that. I wish I can be a better role model for her unlike the mess I turned out to be.

I have to tuck away my cynicism when I’m with her. I did not want to spoil the beautiful dreamy world she lives in. It makes me smile listening to her cheerful chatter. I remember my own naivety at that age. She was beaming with hope for the future. Such a refreshing sight.

After lunch dad left. He had to meet some associates of his. It was good to see him. He is a representation of everything stable and reliable. His strength and confidence gave me an assurance that everything is going to be okay. I have not told him about Ashok. I don’t want dad to hate him. Dad respects him but If I tell him what really happened between us he might just hunt Ashok and kill him. Dad is very protective, overly so. I don’t want to make him even more paranoid. Lileth will suffer for that.

Ashok remembered her dad. He liked the man. A warm hearted but principled man. A retired soldier who had seen the worse and had wanted to shield his two daughters from it. Shame and guilt filled his heart. He, Ashok was the monster her father was afraid of. Unknowingly he welcomed evil with open arms into his home. Ashok had never met her sister though. He remember the email Lileth sent him. It was filled with hate. He could not even imagine what her father would be feeling. He swallowed hard just thinking about it. Ashok continued reading.

Lileth and I had a nice time last evening. After dad left we went shopping for clothes and shoes then we went to a salon for some pampering. I didn’t know I was missing doing this girl stuff . It was nice to just giggle and gossip about inane things. I was in such a gloomy state for so long before this. As if a dark haze surrounds my being turning everything bleak every where I go. Now I can see the sun shining again. Everything is warm and golden around me.

Ashok frowned. So she was recovering. Moving on. If only he had known. Why oh why did he have to ruin that again? Ashok turned the pages of the diary hurriedly looking for a specific date. He stopped when he found it. Shame burned his face red.

Ashok has come back. Looking so repentant and tormented in front of my door. I stared at him for a very long time not really believing he was there. I thought it was just a manifestation of my insane wishful thinking.

I treated him coldly. I asked him what he wanted. How is your new wife? I sneered. Is she pregnant already ? He knew I was mocking him. He gave me a weak smile, pain in his eyes. He looked so miserable. His long curls unkept. Beard unshaven. I felt a tug in my heart. I dismissed it. I did not invite him inside the apartment. I know what will happen once he touch me. He will weaken my resolve.

We walked down towards the nearest cafe. My knees trembled but I pretended to be unaffected.

What are you doing here Ashok? I asked him.

My company sent me. I have to check and purchase some supplies from here. I struggled with myself If I should see you or not. I cant help myself. I am sorry.

He reached out for my hands but I withdrew it. No. Not again.

I missed you so much. He groaned. He really looked all torn up. I can see his eyes watering. Turning red. Damn you Ashok. It is so unfair.

It was your choice. You chose this. Remember. I said. Looking away from him. I could not bear to look at him.

Thankfully Mark finally arrived rescuing me. We became good friends eventually. Both men looked at each other with mistrust, hate and jealousy. I didn’t care. I just wanted to be as far away from Ashok as possible.

He is probably still here in the city. He broke my new found serenity. I feel any moment he’ll come knocking at my door and I might let him in. I hate him. I love him still. It was good to see him..should I call him?

Ashok felt disgusted with himself. He had been so selfish. Thinking only of his pain. His needs. In the end he became the kind of man he detested. Despite all the knowledge he knew, all the philosophies he discussed and argued about, when it comes to really living his own life, he was no better than any stupid man. Once he returned home he regressed back into that boy who wanted to please his parents turning his back from all the modern revolutionary ideas he arrogantly paraded in front of the noses of his peers.

He was finding it hard to live with himself day by day the more he kept on reading her diary. But he could not stop. He accepted the curse she placed on his life willingly. Unlike before, he started living a parallel life filled with pain and misery.

It is still so much better than the other life I am living now. He thought.

©JMKhapra

A Parallel Life

The Monthly Visitor

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Every month a strange possession takes over my body hurling my calm disposition shattering on the wall. Logic and reason fight with the irrational panic rising in my heart. Irritation can reach a fever pitch causing distraction on everything in its path. Depression soon follows after holding me captive further poisoning my sour mood. Tears will then flow freely at the slightest bidding or for no reason at all.

They say it’s a just a myth, no truth to it but my husband knows for sure that PMS is not something to be taken lightly at all. Right ladies? 😀

©JMKhapra