let's talk/Shelly Paul
Image by Shelly Paul


Discount – deduction from the whole

Personal Essay

In conversations with friends and family over a period of time, I have come to understand that there is a tendency to distort or stretch the truth. Such alterations make for interesting anecdotes and lively conversation. But, when it comes to regular interaction with people in daily life, staying close to reality keeps life’s flow relatively smooth.

Over the years after listening to numerous personal stories, I realized separating the husk from the grain can be really hard. I also realized that I don’t have to know the absolute truth about everything to have healthy relationships. All I need is a credible approximation of the broad reality. To ascertain this, all I need to do is to discount certain parts of the issues presented, according to the individual’s nature and character.

This is my current formula to get to the heart of the matter:
At first I take all things said in a conversation at face value. No assumptions, no presumptions unless the context is obvious or common in social parlance. In time, a pattern would emerge and some lack of consistency would begin to show, in the continuity of the narratives. Depending on the degree of this inconsistency, I assign discounts to the information presented to me.

I find strength in my husband, like a tree from its roots. He is my home, my love. I owe him my everyday happiness. The thought of him can bring a smile, even on days when nothing goes my way.

Here’s a poem I wrote for him: Joy Ride

If you’re not sure about your sea-legs, a five-day cruise may not be a good idea. I learned that lesson the hard way. Read my experience as the ocean roiled through me.

afterlife/Shelly Paul
Image by Shelly Paul

What do you tell someone who lost a loved one recently? How do you console someone in bereavement when, even the most eloquent of words seems trite and superfluous? These were the questions that arose in my mind when I rang up my cousin, who had just lost his father.

Although not very close, my uncle was a permanent part of the childhood memories of my summer vacations. His departure was sudden and came as a shock to me. So one can imagine the blow it dealt to his immediate family – my aunt and cousins. On the day before his unexpected demise, he spent most of the day in the house of his eldest son, who invited his siblings and their families, at his father’s request.

When I heard the news, I knew I had to call him to offer my condolences. That’s when I realized