‘Have you shifted house ever since you moved to Dubai? If you haven’t then you haven’t progressed in life,” says Ms Gomes, a neighbour. I asked her to elaborate on the statement she made, as I felt as deflated as that burst balloon that she had just used to prove air expanded when heated, so I would bloat if I kept the air conditioner off!
Ms Gomes frowns at me as she quips: “Only if there is displacement, work is said to be done! As simple as that. And to get that work done you need to move to a better location and move your son to a more expensive school! Life is science!”
Her blatant remarks seemed to hit me so hard that Newton’s first law of motion began to make sense and shoved me cruelly over the threshold of complacency. The law being “an object will remain at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless acted upon by an external force”. The external force was Ms Gomes. She was moving to a lush address, and rushed off to finish her packing. I always thought I had progressed over the years because instead of one bookshelf that I had, I now have four and was glad that I could afford to buy books that seem to be getting exorbitant by the day. But again, is she right? I walk a circular path every morning, coming back to the same position in half an hour, hence there is definitely no displacement! Is this the reason for absolutely zero weight-loss in so many months?
An author friend of mine gave me a sure-shot solution to break through a writer’s block, she suggests that one should bathe in a bath tub to experience a “Eureka-best-seller moment”, aka Archimedes. She also suggested that I should keep a pen and diary near the tub!
Isaac Newton seems to be the most popular of the lot always as he walks into our mundane spheres so often. Mrs Kothari barges into my thought process frequently, as I walk, screaming at unrealistically high decibels: “Every sentence of mine is met with an equal and opposite reaction from my husband!” The husband, coolly smiles as he gently states, “That’s Newton’s third law, no?” And didn’t they say unlike poles attract?
Daniel joined the school I taught in, in grade 4. As he walked into the classroom, I put forward my hand to shake his to congenially welcome him to the new environs. He refused to shake hands! I found it rude. When I asked him why he refrained from doing so, he told me: “I read in a book that Louis Pasteur never ever shook hands,” Daniel showed me his open palms, “There are so many germs crawling all over!”
At different junctions
We toy around with scientific theories to lead life, using them as metaphors to guide ourselves at different junctions. I often use Einstein’s ‘Theory of Relativity’. Most of our perceptions of happenings around us are relative to where we are stationed in life at the moment.
Almost every day we refer to Charles Darwin’s theory of Evolution at home; we vouch for it unlike a certain Indian politician who thought that Darwin was wrong. The agility with which my son would jump from the bed to a sofa that was at quite a distance, the constant chattering and his tremendous love for swinging from trees further went on to reinforce my belief in the teachings of The Origin of Species. My mother would advise my brother and me: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” (Charles Darwin)
Thus, the science of living has answers hidden in the tenets of scientists hence forming a collage we could probably call ‘Life Science’.
Navanita Varadpande is a writer based in Dubai. Twitter:@navanitavp.