After life?

I’m now coming to the end of draft three of our story. There’s still a loooong way to go but thought I’d share something.

As a Hindu Manjula believed in reincarnation so it’s one area I’ve researched and found incredibly interesting.

For more details from me you’ll need to wait for the book or in the meantime check some of the resources I’ve listed here. The books are available in Manjula’s library.

There’s a great series on NETFLIX

Or check out this podcast

One of the many effects of finding and temporarily losing Manjula is to push me to reflect, and learn with an open heart. Thanks Manj.

Stories

Mysore Storytellers Network (MSN)

Making space to share creativity.

find MSN on Facebook or here or instagram

Their latest event on 11th July focussed on the monsoon . The event was wonderfully entertaining with participants from throughout India and a rich mix of contributions from storytellers, musicians, lyricists, singers, poets and polemicists.

For what it’s worth here’s my contribution.

I have much experience of rain in the ‘land of grey” as I’m from one of the rainiest parts of England, and even though I moved to live in Mysore I still have little experience of the extremes of the monsoon phenomenon. Life is so easy in so many ways in Mysore

This is unapologetically raising broad challenging questions

I can feel it at the end of our noses

It’s no poem

A serious story the message is not hidden.

It’s a wake up late at night.

I’ve moved to Mysore in India, its my first time out on my Enfield 

I’m new to this.

I wonder why are all the two wheelers stopping under the bridges, or the flyovers or the riders finding shelter at the shops?

Because I’m new to this 

but realise why, as the rain falls

It is the monsoon, I’ll know better next time.

Did you feel a spot of rain?

We got our brollies out and opened them just in time

We knew it was the monsoon.

We had torrential rain for weeks

…..

The rains have broken the roads

no one expected the monsoon

the construction site sand has run away after a heavy shower

and escaped down the road blocking the drains

no one expected the monsoon

water seeps into the tarmac cracks and pushes them open

no one expected the monsoon

…..

fires devastated the forests in Australia and California

we didn’t expect that

the heatwave killed people in USA and Canada

we didn’t expect that either

..

Had anyone expected that

or does no one care

We stumble through life being uncertain about what will happen and 

how to deal with the challenges we face.

its part of life and how we learn

we hear whispers,

our gut sends messages

its in the papers, 

the UN discusses

but do we listen and if we do

can we act?

We knew all about the monsoon, the fires, the heatwave, the pandemic, wave one two and three, so why didn’t we act?

Were we Breathing Lethargy Air? 

or

Following the submissive path? Who knows?

Check them out nd join in, as there’s all sorts of different events like celebrating art.

MARIA POPOVA’s brain pickings

Whom We Love and Who We Are: José Ortega y Gasset on Love, Attention, and the Invisible Architecture of Our Being

How our loves reveal who we are, an illustrated serenade to aliveness and seeing the world with newborn eyes, and a great forgotten love story

“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity,” the great French philosopher Simone Weil wrote shortly before her untimely death. An epoch after her, Mary Oliver eulogized the love of her life with the observation that “attention without feeling… is only a report.” Looking back on centuries of love poems by people of genius who dared to love beyond the cultural narrows of their time, the poet J.D. McClatchy observed that “love is the quality of attention we pay to things.”

Because our attention shapes our entire experience of the world — this, after all, is the foundation of all Eastern traditions of mindfulness, which train the attention in order to anneal our quality of presence — the objects of our attention end up, in a subtle but profound way, shaping who we are. 

Because there is hardly a condition of consciousness that focuses the attention more sharply and totally upon its object than love, what and whom we love is the ultimate revelation of what and who we are. 

That is what the great Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset(May 9, 1883–October 18, 1955) explores in a series of essays originally written for the Madrid newspaper El Sol and posthumously published in English as On Love: Aspects of a Single Theme (public library) — a singular culmination of Ortega’s philosophic investigation of Western culture’s blind spots, biases, and touching self-delusions about love, that is, about who and what we are.

Myers Briggs Type Indicator or MBTI

Heard of it?

Many have.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a personality test designed to help people understand how they and others perceive and judge the world. It is one of the most widely used and studied psychological tools today. Once a person completes the test, they are categorized as one of 16 types, each named with four letters, such as “ESTJ” or “INFP.” Millions of people have taken the survey to find out which “type” best describes themselves.

Find out more from this article.

Here’s details about people are ENFP as I am.

For many things we can find substitutes, but there is not now, nor will there ever be, a substitute for creative thought.
 Crawford Greenewalt, chemical engineer

A person who is an ENFP is imaginative, enthusiastic, and warm, and generally has an open mind and positive outlook. They like to give and receive affirmation. They are flexible, creative thinkers, and natural innovators.

I’m also a MBTI practitioner and know many who’ve found it very useful.

Bloody typical

The virus situation goes from bad to — we’ve got rid of it, to —- disaster.

Leaving things until the eleventh hour, no … it’s more like one moment before midnight is not a sensible policy but it’s standard practice. No lessons learned from the first wave, infrastructure collapsing, shortage of beds, no oxygen in many hospitals, exhausted staff, people confused.

Indian politicians fail their communities. They have other, presumably more important things to worry about.

Now we have a lockdown in all but name and it’s piling confusion onto inconsistency onto chaos.

Is the instruction to close most businesses for all of everyday in which case it would be a lockdown or just when there’s a curfew?

The govt diktat is totally confusing. If it’s just overnight and weekends. What’s the point it’ll have minimal effect on the virus. If it’s everyday it’s a lock down a term they don’t politically wish to use.

The police statement adds to the confusion with the statement “it will be normal from tomorrow” so there will or will not be a lockdown/curfew from tomorrow. Of course it probably means that closure of businesses will seem like normal tomorrow.

Clear as mud.

It’s the day before the non-lockdown, I’m just back from cycling, with nobody wearing masks in the villages, most wearing them back in Siddarthanagar. I passed a wedding. In a field presumably outdoors (but in tents) in response to the situation but the limit to the gathering is supposed to be 50! There’s almost that number already preparing for the event and the guests are yet to arrive.

Recently Sowbhaghya asked why a shop keeper wasn’t wearing a mask as he should be, he declared there was no coronavirus here.

The combination of poor confusing communication from authority, default to deference and the anything goes attitude of the Wild West, is part of why we’re here. 

Here’s useful guardian articles summarising how we might have got into this stupid situation.

Oxygen supplies low

Photos and summary of the oxygen problems

There were unfulfilled plans to build more units for creating more oxygen.

It’s been unpredictable

Rural areas hit

So what’s the Government got to do with it?

another good summary

or a crime against humanity

I would be so stressed out if my poor Manjula was here and having to deal with this, now that’s a weird sense of relief. What a topsy turvy world.

Every mug tells a story.

I thought I’d share this after revealing to a new friend Anjali

We have a cup caste regime

From the left steel glass ( I know it’s not glass, just ask an Indian) can be used anywhere and everywhere. Middle, one of our favourite cups with emotional attachment so can only be used in upstairs hall (lounge for you foreigners) and number three can be used anywhere in the house or downstairs sit out as we care less.
The most precious, heaps of history and irreplaceable so use is severely restricted.

The point is they can be used by anyone: guests, staff, family some are higher value so should be looked after more than others.

Why do I tell you this?

I joked about the caste of cups because believe it or not in some houses in India the servants aka lower caste are only allowed to drink or eat from separate cups/glasses/plates and utensils. This presumably originates from a belief that they might defile the superior caste.

I tell you this, as you know I love and I’ve adopted India and one wonderful woman in particular. We created a shared home that didn’t reflect those primitive traditional let’s say mediaeval practices.

They need to go.

Watch for more on caste.

Friction 1

One of the greatest challenges facing we humans is friction.

So what do we mean by friction?

A dictionary will refer to the resistance encountered when two objects or surfaces come together and try to move. Such as a tyre on the road.

The insights and opinions we offer are about the friction that comes between different people, between people and their institutions or their communities and also between people and the wider world.

Our first offering refers to a particular form of lubrication. It counters the friction we experience in our day to day lives and helps make things happen.

In its simplest form the lubricant is a gift, a thank you.

The team that collect the rubbish and clear the leaves received a tip this morning. A thank you gift. Nothing wrong with that.

In my view when it becomes a requirement for service it starts to become a problem. An example of this is in the US and Canada where the level of tip to someone waiting your table in a restaurant is carefully calculated and absolutely expected. That feels like a supplement to the wage, required because the employer is a cheapskate and underpays their staff. It becomes an extra tax.

In India where I’ve lived for over eleven years we have a lot of experience with a particular form of lubrication, known as bribery.

This takes it to a whole other level.

If you’re a business applying for a business permit from the corporation or a liquor licence for a bar, pay your fee and a whacking great bribe otherwise absolutely nothing will happen.

Politicians do it all the time. Jump ship to another party and be paid with a ministerial berth or some other juicy position with money making promise.

Here are two more examples I’ve discovered just this morning. In my view they are quite unbelievable.

Want a job?

Someone has bribed to get a job at a state run business. On her rate of salary it will take three years to have earned the equivalent of the bribe she has paid.

Want a driving licence?

Don’t bother with lessons or even turning up at the test centre, you never have to get in a car, ever! Just send a bribe through a broker.

This is expected in most situations to one degree or another, it is so ingrained that no one ever expects it to change.

Some might wonder why it matters.

Children riding two wheelers

a new problem in Mysore are children riding scooters (two wheelers means motorised) with the obvious dangerous consequences.

A policeman stops three children age twelve on a scooter. Two of them run away (not a lot of respect for the Police) as he’s asking for personal details from the one who’s riding.

The Policeman telephones the father and demands a bribe or he’ll report it aunders an offence. A bribe of 5000Rs is paid. That’s the equivalent of half of someone’s monthly pay.

Bribery and corruption is inherent. Does it have the desired effect of stopping dangerous under-age driving? who knows?

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