Sowbhagyhya has done Pooja here for Mahalakshmi and one or two other goddesses.
Month: July 2020
Cycling and walking, sharing waves and smiles on….
Who’s a storyteller?
Here’s two things that maybe of interest to storytellers:
1 resources, links, information that maybe useful and entertaining
2 what it is and why it’s important.
But before I get to that I wish to declare: I’m a writer and storyteller. How do I know?
I have writer’s block so I must be a writer 🙃 😉
I have shared my writings (through our sites) for eight years with people from around the world (a handful in England, at least one in Canada, some in India, and a smattering in Australia, Europe, Europe and US.) I didn’t say there were many but at least one reader on every continent, except Antarctica. I now plan to give more attention to writing stories.
I’m also a storyteller, as I believe we all are. It’s only recently though that I’ve realised how much I have shared stories. The first training and puker presentations I gave we’re in my early twenties. I’ve done it lots but was it any good?. 🙃🙂😉 I’m not the judge.
I have a particular problem. The English will joke that as I’m from North England I don’t know proper English whether written or spoken.
Any way back to the two things:
1. Recently, I’ve joined a lovely group: the Mysore Storytelling Network (MSN) who organise events and are a great source of information and help. They are on Instagram. Great group, check them out.
An ex-president of a fanciful country far far away and his wife Michelle like stories.
I’ve also read stories for children during lockdown. They are on this site listed as storytime. Here’s a couple: wonky donkey and a different take on Snow White for others just search
A good friend Victoria sent details of storytelling near where she lives in London . A serious training school with some great descriptions about what it’s all about at the school of storytelling and Storytelling clubs, examples are the crick crack club and story circle
2. What is storytelling? We will, of course, have different views. Here’s a start.
Stories are for entertainment, they enliven, enrich, make us think, stop us in our tracks bring us together, help us manage conflict or disagreement and because it’s sharing and helping connect they create communities. They might be written or spoken and can reinforce, change, adapt people’s behaviour, stimulate interest and stir us to act, or maybe just reflect, learn and have fun.
They introduce and reinforce beliefs, that enable us to relate to each other, without that where would we be?
What do you think?
there’s something about Manjula
Thank you for your empathy.
Thank you for your guiding tolerance, for being with me, your ability to manage the slings and arrows that life throws at you, all whilst supporting the Yindian who goes on and on and on and on……..
You might have noticed that my mentions of Manjula have not diminished, in fact, they’ve recently increased because I miss her terribly but especially because:
1 Now is proving to be the most difficult period of all, the negative crumpledness is greater. But it’s all completely natural: the denial, regrets, blame, guilt and even euphoria. As Mr full-on I’m fielding the stages of grief one by one and all at once. It’s my way. We all have to deal with it the best we can. It’s the most challenging thing I’ve faced in my life and like Manjula it will always be with me.
2 It’s the anniversary of our adventures to the UK and consequently receive Facebook memories every bloody day. I have to share, I can’t not acknowledge her or push her away. She’s filling even more of my life and I get to know her better. That’s both negative and mostly positive.
3 I’ve been relatively isolated for four months. All of us are dealing with exceptional circumstances and it concentrates our emotions. That kyboshed planned travel would have been just right.
So thank you for you precious time and tolerance
to Oliver (youngest son) for my pep talk this morning.
I promise as time goes on I’ll post a wider range of subjects (watch for the famous OCI) however its Manjula’s birthday soon and so I expect her presence and a message. Am I expecting too much?
Other and wise
There’s so many examples of the negativeness of the ‘other’ in society and politics.
Before the time of virus, people would cross the road to avoid walking by my black dog Lucie. It’s a cross-cultural fear.
Now in the time of virus they’re as likely to walk across the road because of me.
Recently, I was cycling on a local road busy with people doing their early morning exercise walk. A woman on the opposite side of the wide road lifts her Sari to cover her mouth on seeing me, a white foreigner. The Indians walking next to her had not been seen as a risk.
She didn’t know better but at the very least, it’s annoying.
The negative other.
Later that day three young children, sitting astride a wall laughing, smiling giggling, waving to me, a wonderful hello.
Shortly afterwards a man pushing a cycle gave a smile and wave.
The positive other
This took me back fifteen years to my first visit.
I came to India and christened it the land of a billion smiles and then I fell in love with and married Manjula, a woman with a billion smiles.
We find what we look for….
Now Manjula is my guru
I spread her smile with a friendly wave.
We might however at this ‘time of virus’ need to look a little closer to spot the smiling eyes shining above the face mask .
This was my story at today’s meeting of the Mysore Storytelling Network. A great new group for me of mostly young things. 🙂🙃😉
Manjula wished to be reincarnated as a tree. She wanted to provide cover and and support to people. To me it reflected her strength and gentleness.
I was reminded of this after reading a recent brain picking, with reference to a letter from D H Lawrence reflecting his love for trees.
“To walk among trees is to be reminded that although relationships weave the fabric of life, one can only be in relationship — in a forest or a family or a friendship — when firmly planted in the sovereignty of one’s own being, when resolutely reaching for one’s own light.”
That’s so my Manjula. It’s a lesson she leaves me with. As she now waits for me to lift myself from my bed of lethargy and act.
“A century ago, Hermann Hesse contemplated how trees model for us this foundation of integrity in his staggeringly beautiful love letter to trees — how they stand lonesome-looking even in a forest, yet “not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche.” Celebrating them as “the most penetrating preachers,” he reverenced the silent fortitude with which “they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves.”
again I’m so reminded of MAnjula, her own strength, independence and gentle kindness.
“A supreme challenge of human life is reconciling the longing to fulfill ourselves in union, in partnership, in love, with the urgency of fulfilling ourselves according to our own solitary and sovereign laws. Writing at the same time as Hesse, living in exile in the mountains, having barely survived an attack of the deadly Spanish Flu that claimed tens of millions of lives, the polymathic creative force D.H. Lawrence (September 11, 1885–March 2, 1930) took up the question of this divergent longing with great subtlety and splendor of insight in his autobiographically tinted novel Aaron’s Rod (free ebook | public library), rooting the plot’s climactic relationship resolution in a stunning passage about trees.”
The fact is I’m able to find references to Manjula anywhere and everywhere. “A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.”
– Amelia Earhart
Brain pickings on kindness and grief, because like everything in the world they’re connected.
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.
If you haven’t yet discovered brain pickings do pay it a visit and consider joining its mailing list and offering support.
“Those who experience, not the arts, but nature, may have a similar response, and also those who experience another human being. Do we not know the feeling that overtakes us when we are in the presence of a particular person and, roughly translates as, The fact that this person exists in the world at all, this alone makes this world, and a life in it, meaningful.” Viktor Frankl also from Brain Pickings
Or more on grieving
Grief… happens upon you, it’s bigger than you. There is a humility that you have to step into, where you surrender to being moved through the landscape of grief by grief itself. And it has its own timeframe, it has its own itinerary with you, it has its own power over you, and it will come when it comes. And when it comes, it’s a bow-down. It’s a carve-out. And it comes when it wants to, and it carves you out — it comes in the middle of the night, comes in the middle of the day, comes in the middle of a meeting, comes in the middle of a meal. It arrives — it’s this tremendously forceful arrival and it cannot be resisted without you suffering more… The posture that you take is you hit your knees in absolute humility and you let it rock you until it is done with you. And it will be done with you, eventually. And when it is done, it will leave. But to stiffen, to resist, and to fight it is to hurt yourself. Elizabeth Gilbert
We need more
Some would say it’s best to place your memories of your loved one in a special place, in your heart and the ‘things’ in a box for you to sometimes get out.
No fear… That’s not happening here.
Manjula would often complain about there being too many pictures in our home and not enough room.
There’s plenty of room, (except in my heart, which she’s mostly filled) even more pics now and (usually) I love seeing her peeking out and catching me unawares.
It’s full on photos and all stages of grief piled on top of each other, she wouldn’t expect anything less.
Manjula would of course, just get on with things.
Manjula has the sweetest smile
Looking on the bright side.
Manjula is my smiling kindness guru.
This morning I waved and gave a free smile to every cyclist. It’s a happy thing to do and helps connect us at this distant time.
I follow her and try spread her smile
At times I’ve slipped and realise I’ve adopted a local approach of: ‘It’s good enough’ and ‘it’ll do’, but it wasn’t and it didn’t do. That’s when the dark cloud engulfs me with sadness instead of just following me around. But this morning I was in the positive happy frame of mind.
What we give out is returned we just don’t know when, where and how.
My guru expects me to see and be the positive. I’m slowly learning.
Sowbhagya (SB) has had a lot to deal with because of the situation at our house and been in quarantine with a big fat sticker on her door announcing to the world. Her neighbours have been ugly and unsupportive. She challenged her neighbours when they were claiming she was positive and announcing it on a Facebook page. A policeman was a great help.. The bright side is that she now feels strengthened and some of it comes from working here. Manjula’s kind, positive and continues to give.
Unfortunately it has also affected her father whose roadside food business has suffered.
It brings it home to me, how much we need to be aware of how our actions affect others, try on their ‘coat’ to better understand things from their point of view. Unfortunately, too often we don’t try or care.
Look on the bright side of life is a wonderful song from this film.
The route is clear
It’s an update.
To reiterate. I’m required to leave India within 180 days of arriving every visit. Due to the virus that has been extended but I’m likely to have to leave in August. I hope they’ll let me back in
There are three obvious options: Sri Lanka, Canada and UK.
I’m openly discussing this with friends and family who might be affected or kind enough to let me stay, so that we’re as informed as we can be. I wouldn’t want to be someone who came to stay at the house or next door and not be open and honest about the risks and consequences. God forbid.
The first challenge (assuming there are flights) is getting health insurance. It’s available but there is the risk that if there are COVID 19 restrictions it might invalidate the insurance. I don’t need it for the U.K.
Sri Lanka might initially seem the best option. Shortest distance, clear polices and systems, no need for quarantine/self-isolation, open to tourists in August. BUT it might mean a domestic flight in India which I’d prefer not to do. I’ll be required to travel with a negative test result taken within 72 hours of the flight, which might not be obtainable. I’d have to stay in a government sanctioned hotel. Yuk?. I could pay any health costs directly but I wouldn’t get to see any family or friends.
Canada is a stronger contender. Means double the distance to travel than the UK, I’d have to remember how to cook, and I wouldn’t want Oll my youngest son to be tried for murder. Insurance maybe a problem and I couldn’t afford to pay health costs directly.
U.K. well clearly….
It’s a well managed place, no problems with the virus, competent leadership, no idiot behaviour and the country isn’t disintegrating. A safe haven.
I jest, of course, it provides the opportunity to catch up and be with friends and family which I feel that I need due to fragility, I would have to be 14 days in isolation so that and the risk puts a lot onto whoever is kind enough to take me in. I don’t need travel insurance and hope the Health service can cope. It does involve risky travel to and within the country.
I think you can see which way I’m leaning.