Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Musings on a rainy Wednesday

The rains were late by a whole month this year but their advent in July brought welcome relief to Mumbai (Bombay) which was scorching through ninety days of Indian summer. The seven lakes supplying water to the city are at last filling up and the municipal corporation has decided to scale down the water cut in residential areas. The rainfall deficit has come down from 41 per cent to about 15 per cent. Over the next few days all eyes will be on the lake levels which used to be published in newspapers every week, like the winning numbers on a lottery ticket. So much depends on water, and on public transport and migrant labour. 

On the flip side, heavy rains cause flooding and bring public transport, so very critical in this city, to a near halt. What is worse, in my case at least, is that roadside booksellers are forced to take evasive action which means browsing under a tarpaulin roof with water dripping down your neck. The books are well protected. During this wet season I seldom buy any from the footpath libraries.

As it is, I've got plenty to read. I'm currently reading an ebook version of The Dunwich Horror, 1928, the classic short fiction by H.P. Lovecraft. It is about a mysterious and terrifying entity that haunts a small place called Dunwich, a fictional town in Massachusetts. Some of the families in Dunwich lead a life of decay and decadence. I won't be reviewing the story because I don't think I can. It is a complex tale.

Three days ago, I was on my way to the local railway station by an autorickshaw when I saw four uniformed police constables standing at a junction notorious for traffic jams. Two of the cops were sipping cutting chai, or half a glass of tea each, a third was smoking a cigarette, while the fourth was talking on his mobile phone. They were on duty. I realised that dereliction of duty is another vile form of corruption.

I'm on the mailing list of a few book sites one of which sent me a free Kindle edition of a novella called 3 a.m. (2013) by Nick Pirog. This and his other novel, Unforeseen, have received good reviews on Amazon. He writes thrillers. The description of 3 a.m. says, "Henry Bins has Henry Bins. A sleeping disorder, named after him. He is awake for one hour a day. He wakes up at 3 a.m. then falls asleep at 4 a.m. Life is simple. Until he hears the woman scream. And sees the man leave the house across the street. But not just any man. The President of the United States."

I get carried away by books that come to me this way and I'm tempted to download them on my tab, where they lie for a long time or till I rediscover them among five hundred other ebooks. Still, I feel inclined to read 3 a.m. I think someone among my blog acquaintances has already reviewed it.

Among nonfiction books, I'm rereading The Power of Your Subconscious Mind (1963) by Joseph Murphy. I'm always reading self-help and philosophy books. They enable me to get a handle on things. 

The power of thought is a penetrating and fascinating subject because there is no end to its immense possibilities, for better or worse. To be in control of our mind instead of our mind being in control of us, as is the case, is as old as the hills. Easier said and read than done. But no harm in trying, is there?


Murphy's book reminded me of a particular quote by motivational speaker Earl Nightingale who said, “Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality.”

If we sit back and think about it honestly, we’ll see that most of what we plant and nourish is negative, and usually stays with us for a long time, probably a lifetime. Joseph Murphy tells us how we can reverse those long years of negative conditioning.


Note: For previous 'Musings' see under Labels.

25 comments:

  1. The rain cycles are changing everywhere. We're having a super rainy season here this year. Can't even get our yard mowed.

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    1. Charles, out here the annual four-month long monsoon is initially welcomed but then after a while it is looked upon as a nuisance because it throws life out of gear and nowhere is this more visible than in our public transport. Commuting by suburban trains, buses, taxis, and autorickshaws, not to mention private cars and two-wheelers becomes a nightmare. We have only the local authorities and ourselves to blame.

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  2. Another interesting post adding to my knowledge of everyday Indian life in Mumbai. I prefer the sound of your Pirog novella to the Lovecraft one, but I haven't read that type of fiction for over 25 years.

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    1. Col, thank you. Glad you enjoyed it. THE DUNWICH HORROR is an old classic, less than fifty pages, and I think it was also made into a film or two. Lovecraft stands tall among the pantheon of horror fiction writers. I read this genre occasionally. The Nick Pirog ebook is currently available free on Amazon. Perhaps, you might want to take a shot at it.

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    2. Thanks I have just downloaded the freebie, I will get to it sometime. I was reminded of Lovecraft recently when it came up when chatting with Elaine Ash(Anon-9). She cites him as a big influence for her.

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    3. Col, with your speed you'll get to it faster than I do, and review it too, and then I'll see if I need to read it.

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  3. I have friends who are traveling through the eastern parts of the US and running into lots of rain (and complaining about it). Meanwhile, here in California we have a very serious drought. So glad you finally got your rains.

    My husband reads Lovecraft. Not my type of thing.

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    1. Tracy, the monsoon season in Mumbai usually starts between June 10 and 15 but this year there was no sign of rain until July. Since then, however, it has rained a lot and we can expect more rains including thunder showers till mid-September. The advent of monsoon also coincides with the start of the festive season across India.

      Lovecraft is not everyone's cup of chai, or kappi. I read some of his writing years ago and it took me a while to get used to THE DUNWICH HORROR.

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  4. Been ages since I read Lovecraft - fascinating that people still read his work actually! Hope you get all the benefits and none of the disadvantages of the ranfall Prashant!

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    1. Same here, Sergio. Actually, I (re)discovered many past authors, like Lovecraft, only after I started blogging. I need to catch up with a lot of them and across various genres. The rains overstay their welcome in less than two weeks but I prefer the monsoon to the summer heat.

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  5. Much of the United States is in drought. However, Western NY lucked out this year with periodic rain storms. The Polar Vortex has brought us unusually cool weather (70s instead of 80s) which is fine by me. I'm a Lovecraft fan. THE DUNWICH HORROR is one of his best stories. But I can't stop with just one Lovecraft story, I have to read three or four to get my fix!

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    1. George, I have been reading about the drought in the US though I didn't know it had been raining in the eastern and southern parts of your country. The weather has been erratic in India and this year we probably had our worst summer in many years.

      I'll read a few more short stories by Lovecraft to get a real feel for his writing. I enjoyed THE DUNWICH HORROR.

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  6. I have an entire collection of Love craft, and it keeps calling to me, but it just doesn't feel like the right time. I'm thinking that this winter may be the right time.

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    1. Ryan, that's pretty awesome. I'm reading his ebooks which is better than not reading his books at all. I have a lot to read yet.

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  7. Nice update, Prashant! The so-called "monsoon season" simply cannot compete with the one in India. Something about rainy weather always makes me want to settle down with a good book.

    Good to see some Lovecraft reading going on. Once you get used to the overly verbose prose style, his stuff is good fun. He can build up an atmosphere of creepy menace like nobody's business. "The Whisperer in the Dark" is probably my favorite of his stories.

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    1. Oops! I meant to say "The so-called 'monsoon season' IN JAPAN simply cannot compete with the one in India." That's what happens when you type too fast.

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    2. Jeff, I understood as much. Since writing this post we've had some really heavy rains that has complicated life for nearly everyone. However, the good news is that many of the lakes are overflowing. So much for global warming and climate change.

      While I'm still in the mood for more of Lovecraft's fiction, I'll check out THE WHISPERER IN THE DARK.

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  8. What a lovely post, Prashant. Delhi has received only scanty rainfall. We are waiting eagerly for the deluge. Though they do lead to overcrowded public transport, traffic jams, mosquitoes, and other problems, the rains are a very welcome relief and the scent of earth (geeli mitti) after the rains is heavenly. No wonder the rainy season is celebrated in classical music and literature of India.

    Of the books mentioned, I have read the Murphy one though have never followed his advice and am intrigued by Lovecraft's.

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    1. Neer, thank you! We hear of torrential rains in Delhi usually long after Mumbai has had an overdose of monsoon. As for "geeli mitti," I'll have to get out of this concrete jungle to smell wet mud, whose scent, I agree, is distinct in the rainy season. One of the things that self-help books do is to make the reader feel instantly good about himself or herself, albeit temporarily, and it requires a lot of discipline to practice what these books preach. I read them in the hope that some of the wisdom they impart will rub off on me.

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  9. That 3 A.M. synopsis sounds very intriguing, Prashant. What a clever hook! The President at 3 in the morning, a woman's scream. I think I might take a look at this one. Thanks for the intro.

    Earl Nightingale's quote hit home. It's SO true, unfortunately.

    I'm glad the rains came in time.

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    1. Yvette, you can download 3 A.M. for free from Amazon. I'm intrigued by its synopsis too. I keep a book/ebook on positive thinking handy and read it as and when I want to, which is usually throughout the week. There is some respite from the rains though we know that's like the proverbial lull before the storm.

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  10. We have a so-called monsoon season here in the socal desert, too. Just means that humid air rolls in from Arizona in late summer, which boils into fantastic storm clouds, which may produce a shower if you happen to be in the right place at the right time.

    As for mind control and planting subconscious suggestions, I can only add "Be careful what you wish for."

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    1. Ron, I didn't know "socal" was short for Southern California. It was interesting to learn about the "monsoon season" in your part of the world. Much of India has only two main seasons, a very hot summer and a very wet monsoon. Although we have winter, too, it is largely felt in the northern regions. In Mumbai, people rejoice if the winter temp dips below 20 C (68 F) or less, though, I think, it has never gone below 10 C (50 F). Still, fans and air-conditioners are promptly switched off!

      Regarding mind control, the effort is more on weeding out the negative and as far as possible replacing it with the positive.

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  11. I love reading about your everyday life Prashant. You have a talent for drawing a picture in my imagination....

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    1. Moira, thank you for the lavish praise! India is a cultural cauldron, a melting pot, and nowhere is this more visible than on its streets and in the everyday lives of its people. All one has to do is observe one's surroundings and write about it. It would make a nice subject for a blog.

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