One of the Magicians of Mysore

Jan Brouwer does it again, with the relaunch of his popular and well regarded: Cottage Chamber Concert.

On the 14th February, in his home in Mysore we were entertained by Faleen and his sister Falisha.

Falisha age 13

Imagine you’re in a lovely house, tastefully decorated and well designed but it is a home. You meet the other guests in the downstairs hall (Lounge) for snacks and politely talk about the concerns of the day, in this case, no surprise as it was about vaccinations and the pandemic. Promptly, on time you’re invited upstairs to the Music Room where a Yamaha C2 concert grand piano is centre stage. You’re seated on attractive 19th century Dutch furniture, surrounded by paintings and images of some of the featured composers.

We were entertained by two young people to the music of Burgmuller, Chopin, Shostakovich, Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, Prokofiev, Grieg, and Moritz Moszkowski. Phew, yes, all that.

Faleen age 13

It’s as if many years of training, practice and performing as concert pianists had been crammed and concentrated into two small , young bodies who gently teared across the grand’s keyboard to provide a wonderfully unexpected experience. A musical talent demonstrating a sensitive maturity way beyond their years. You just had to close your eyes to imagine you were in a concert hall in one of the European capital cities but with the comfort and intimacy of visiting a favourite auntie and uncle.

Congratulations to Faleen and Falisha for a wonderful concert and thanks to the Brouwers, as we look forward to more entertainment from the jewels you find.

It’s a sign

As they would say in Monty Python’s ‘Life of Brian’

Well I’ve had a few after complaining to Manjula that I’d failed to notice any.

The first major happening was the message delivered by the Dragonfly. I’d hinted enough, not least by having one tattooed onto my shoulder.

She came through, on that one.

Today a brick fell off the wall. This thick one knocked it onto the ground and it broke.

It’s a sign.

So what’s the meaning of this sign? erm…..

Manjula is pissed off with me for not sending a Valentine’s Day message. So she threw the brick at me.

She’s actually gone. As we approach our third wedding anniversary and shortly afterwards the date she slipped through my stubby fingers two sorrowful years ago. Maybe it’s a sign that her soul spirit has found a new home and been reincarnated. It’s a realisation that our attempts to help her move on have worked.

Helping her soul on the way on the anniversary of her death.

And maybe it’s a crumbling of the wall that’s hemming me in.

Whatever I’ll look on the bright side as this is part of my journey to learn from life’s challenges and realise something or other.

and of course, no matter what she’s still with me….

For at least seven lives.

Manjula’s Messengers

Today’s messenger rest on a branch of the tree across from my balcony, repeatedly flies away and returns. Sometimes it’s still, at others its chuntering or maybe chewing.

The dragonfly arrives as I’m writing about how we first met to be submitted for a literary competition. I’m happy that this messenger is a reminder that she’s still with me and loves me. It’s taken up residence on the branch. Lucie’s walk will have to wait.

The dragonfly leaves to be replaced by a butterfly flying to me on the balcony.

A few weeks ago, I complained to Manjula that I’d not heard from her. Within days a dragonfly maybe ten times bigger flew into the downstairs hall, circled me three times and landed on Manjula’s pennant.

Butterflies have often visited, since my appeal.
They also feature on a banner that Jacquie is creating in the U.K.

They get everywhere. Thank you Manjula

Our collection of friendly helpful bags grows and grows.

and everyone has a story.

When I’m 64, birthday present from Rakesh, one of my sons, Why else does he call me dad?
When visiting Oliver in Vancouver, he roped me in to promoting the film day, enticing innocents to watch short films on IPad in one of those metal streamlined caravans.
We had a young guest who works in a nuclear power station in the U.K. (it’s a dumb place, offshore of Europe) who had never heard this rallying cry from our demos in the 70’s
Over eight years I set up MyCycle tours with friend Vinay who also persuaded me to lead tours for Royal Mysore Walks.
Tesco’s original lifetime bag and most other supermarket bags were manufactured by this company in Tamil Nadu before the imperialist China takeover.
India with a cow at the centre. Let’s not talk politics or challenge totalitarianism.
A participant of one of my corporate responsibility workshops in London lead a legal firms attempts to connect with the community. This child’s bag design won one of their competitions.

Floaters

The type that we elders 😉 have in our eyes.

I’ve had a squashed fly looking floater a few years ago. The ophthalmologist in the U.K. said it would be no problem but to have my eyes checked if more appeared. One did in my left eye yesterday. It’s like a squashed mosquito. It makes it difficult to hit flying things with our electric tennis racquet.

Called the hospital, arranged an appointment for next morning (cost 260Rs) when they spotted a hole in the retina, followed by a second consultation (300 Rs) and then laser (1500Rs) to put a finger in the dam (seal the hole). Total price 2060 or around £20. All done and dusted by one o’clock.

Now before you Firangis swoon over the speed and price. In a commercialised service, as we have here, (think USA) you’re not quite sure if you’re getting what you actually need. I am however impressed with this hospital’s treatment of me and the Manj. I’m not casting aspersions but you never really know.

and the price may seem cheap but when some only earn 200 rs for a days work, it’s a lot to pay. Their access to service is severely restricted.

As someone born and bred in a country with the National Health Service, which has its faults— especially as the incompetents (politicians) are actually trying to destroy it — it still gets my support.

Faced it

I think it’s safe to say that I haven’t been avoiding it.

I’ve travelled through the most difficult period in my life. I’ve faced it, even embraced it, it’s still with me and always will, grief has become my unwelcome friend.

Psychology Today has something to say on this.

As I follow Manjula’s teeny tiny steps, remember our happy and yet challenging life together, as peeping through the cloudy sadness I learn more and love more about her, realise how lucky I was and continue to celebrate my beautiful, wonderful, kind wife.

I’m sharing always, and I continue to write our story but it will be some time yet before it’s finished. At times, it feels like I’m showing my devotion by building the Taj Mahal in matchsticks. So hang on a little longer. 🙃

In the meantime, there’s early postings about our life together, here on our site for you.

Check the contents page.

Really?

Could this get anymore awkward?

I blame myself. Nurse Farrell is trying to rehydrate Lucie. It’s a drip set up for water under her skin that will then spread into her body.

So it’s relatively straightforward and not intravenous. It’s twice a day and there’s lots of water.

Between us though we manage to add complexity.

Last night, after a major spillage of half the water it was relatively easy-going.

Next day, not so good.

First thing today Lucie decides to do a big shake as if she’d just stepped out of a river, presumably because the bad bad nurse dropped a smidgeon of water on her fur. So needle came out and I had to replace it and jab her again.

Next she was standing rigid, clearly uncomfortable, I got her to sit down. The early puppy training of SIT! being useless so it entailed manhandling. Eventually I get her to lie down without knocking the needle out but on my feet.

I’m now stuck here watching the interminable drops expecting it to last an age.

I have time to catch up with my writing. 🙂✍🏽🚴🏽🗄🧷🖌☮️🚭🔔 and realise there’s soooo many emojis.

But I’ve still not had my breakfast!

Do we really need to do this twice everyday? It’s taking hours. I’ll plan better with my paraphernalia around me…..

This was how the professional did it yesterday. Doc Bhagya.

So who’s the drip?

Update

The merciless drip drip dripping took three hours and we’ve now created a camel, perhaps more accurately a dromedary.

Evening drippping completed in 40 mins morning torture must have been something else problem. Only issue this eve was jittery ness from fireworks.

Farrell Factoid: Lucy has had both liver and kidney issues this year, primarily shown through, vomiting and ‘loose’ motions. She seems quite good in herself and most recent blood test suggests kidney situation has stabilised. This all might be due to age or Tick fever earlier this year.

are we?

are we inherently mean and selfish?

I don’t believe we are. Its an age old argument reflected in the views of Hobbes and Rousseau.

it goes something like this…

Left to our own devices:

A – humans will be in conflict, a sort of dog-eat-dog approach to life and fight for themselves or me and mine, OR;

B -they will care, show compassion and work cooperatively.

It’s simplified but bear with me … Which do you think is most accurate?

I’m reading humankind – a hopeful history, he challenges the theories that suggest we are individualistic when pushed into a corner and argues that we’re more likely to work together and help each other.

Sound Utopian?

He debunks the dominant stories, the research, established theories and especially what we hear through the media, reinforced through word of mouth that we default to ‘I’. His view is that we default to ‘we.’ ie we care rather than fight.

We follow what we’re told and learned to accept, rather than think for ourselves.

Here’s one example:

William Golding wrote a fictitious story : “Lord of the Flies’ about young boys shipwrecked on a deserted island and how they behaved. What happened? As you might expect, they fought for themselves ganging up against each other. The result was mayhem leading to death.

This has profound implications.

By contrast, Bregman discovered a true story of shipwrecked boys. The result, was the opposite, as they co-operated and worked together to be able to survive.

Which story had you heard?

Most of my day to day experiences in life demonstrate people think about me and mine rather than showing care for another but it doesn’t have to be that way. Manjula (OK, I’m biased) was an exceptional example who throughout her life was faced with tricky uncaring people being selfish and antagonistic but she never let it stop her caring for and loving others. She was inherently kind.

I think much of our problems in society and the damage we do to each other and the planet is because of this mistaken belief and because our systems reinforce particular ways. These allow the powerful to dominate and keep their unfair share. So this way of thinking benefits some people more than others and that’s why it continues. It’s like ‘Lord of the Flies’ and this is maybe why we’re in the mess we’re in.

I believe it was Malcom X that raised the question: What’s the difference between Illness and Wellness?

It’s I and We.

Cool eh?

It’s actually our choice