Searching for Cinderella

Well I’m not Prince Charming, far from it, but I did find my Cinderella.

She’s left me with another challenge…. as if there aren’t enough already …. it’s to find someone with small feet who might be interested in her shoes.

Here is Manjula, the lovable, modelling a seriously famous designer pair of shoes that were never worn outdoors.

There’s quite a selection, so please pass on the information and let me know. The biggest challenge is they are sizes three and three and a half, so very small.

Sandals and the middle one is Birkenstock
Snazzy ones, outdoor wet ones and Ecco

Manjula was of course a strong woman with teeny feet.

Teva Sandals

This wonderful woman had style, flexibility for different circumstances and an eye for the brands.

Two classy pairs.

All the famous brands we brought from Europe.

Please message or email me if you think they might fit and you wish to try 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.

Yes, you….

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?

Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

Otherwise

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’s kind

Brain pickings on kindness and grief, because like everything in the world they’re connected.

KINDNESS

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.

This one is to prove my wc credentials.

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.

The route is clear

Not……

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.

I’ve had a beard trim but no hair cut for quite a few months

what to do next

I’m sitting on our balcony with Lucie by my side. It’s time for a virtual mental ramble.

As a condition of my visa I have to leave India within 180 days of arriving for each visit. The Indian Government has extended that until international flights resume because of the virus situation. I expect the flights will resume next month and I will have to leave.

I’m finding decision making in my current fragile state, mainly due to you-know-who slipping through my fingers, a bit difficult, so talking it through with friends is a real help. 

This is part of that process and here are my options:

Sri Lanka:  It’s possible to have a short holiday there with no requirement for extended isolation providing you have a negative test result taken within three days of travel. Challenge is getting there in a straightforward way and getting the test and results in time. I’m not keen on catching domestic Indian flights. I could pay for health service. It might seem to be the most straightforward option but it’s not getting me to see family and friends. I haven’t seen my granddaughter for a year.

UK:  flights might be re-introduced in August. I could stay with friends but that’s not as easy as it sounds as self-isolating isn’t straightforward. Some friends have medical conditions that might make them vulnerable, others might not wish to see me or have the space for me to self-isolate. My son Ben, Alice and Poppy have invited  me to stay but that may prove a big burden as I’d be on the couch and its not exactly self-isolating. I’m keen to see them. I’d have access to what’s left of the health service in the UK.

Canada:  My son Oll, lives in Vancouver and as a relative of a resident I’m allowed to visit. It would be great to catch up . As with the UK I’d be required to self-isolate for 14 days. I could get another tattoo 🙂 and there are other friends to visit. He has a room but it’ll not be straightforward as I’d share the apartment and who’d cook? I’d have to get health insurance.  

I’d love to do both the UK and Canada but that’s not feasible this year too much travel creates an increased risk and frankly to do what? Sit in a room staring at four walls, twice and then again back watching walls in India…. Admittedly its time to read and write but there is the real risk of going stir crazy. As I’ve said, I’m already fragile. 

So I have to have to work out the best option.

Feel free to comment and suggest….

Next questions (more later) I have to resolve: 

What about Lucie while I’m not here?

Will India let me back in? 

toodle pip

from 

Stephen

the quarantined foreigner in Siddartha 

ID photo I’ve seen too much as I upload it repeatedly asking the immigration Police for permission to stay