Tuesday, 11 February 2014

RVI - (Reevers to me), has an amazing story here, well worth a long ponder...

Over the weekend we received a visit from some friends from Japan. He is Anglo/Chinese and she is Japanese. They have 2 children, a girl aged 5 and a boy aged 2 and a bit. Mum is an accomplished pianist and has been teaching her daughter to play since she was old enough to sit on a piano stool. Every time they come to the house the lass makes a beeline for the Yamaha in the corner. This time she was entertaining us with something by Mozart. Bearing in mind she is still only 5, she is going to be quite amazing to watch and listen to when she grows up!

The son was born with Downs Syndrome but it is still unknown whether he is also autistic. He has mastered the art of balancing and walking, but not as yet speech. While the adults were chatting, he was looking at his reflection in the blank tv screen on the sideboard. Suddenly something caught his eye and he moved along the carpet a step or two to check it out. He realized it was a reflection and turned and looked over his shoulder. What he had seen was our very old brass table lamp. This lamp was hand-made in Thailand in the late 1800s and belonged originally to my wife’s grandmother, but we have had it with us for over 25 years. It is about 18 inches high with a bulging waistline and the entire surface is decorated with shapes and symbols which were beaten out of the original brass panel. It really is quite a masterpiece of craftsmanship. It sits on a round 3ft high table alongside my armchair and is in effect my reading lamp. There is a small inlaid side table in front of it which is covered by a souvenir t-towel we bought somewhere or other years ago. 

When Junior saw the lamp he came towards it with a huge smile on his face and an outstretched arm with his index finger pointing at it. His arm remained in position as he studied the lamp. Then he began to roll up the front edge of the t-towel. After couple of twists, he cupped his hands and appeared to offer something to the lamp. He then began pointing again and his lips began moving – although no sound came out – as though he was in deep conversation with ‘something’. Occasionally he nodded in agreement with whatever was being said. He stopped and went to the coffee table where the tea and cakes were spread, carefully took 3 coasters from their holder and returned to the lamp. He placed the coasters very carefully in a perfectly straight line along the top of the small table and then repeated the offering gestures. He sat down on the floor, cupped his hands again and appeared to be scooping water(?) from the carpet. Each scoop was placed carefully on one the coasters and the contents then offered to the lamp. His arm was outstretched again and the conversation resumed. He stopped, went to the sofa and removed a cushion which he brought back and carefully placed on the floor by the small table; then he went back for a second one which was placed alongside the first one. He knelt on the cushions and resumed the scooping movement from the carpet, each time offering something to the lamp. Again his arm was stretched out and pointing at the lamp and a conversation was being held, all the while with a huge happy smile on his face.

After about 5 minutes it ended. One more point and smile at the lamp and he stood up and carefully replaced the cushions back on the sofa and the coasters back in their holder. He returned one more time for a quick twist of the t-towel, cupped his hands and offered the contents to the lamp. As he was finishing he pointed his outstretched arm at me with his huge grin and then at the lamp as though he was trying to tell me something. Then he went off to see what his sister was doing.

As he was lost in his own world, none of us disturbed him throughout this ritual although his mum was kneeling alongside him to make sure he did not fall into a sharp edge. She could not understand what had happened and said that he had never before behaved like that.

So what happened? Who or what did he see in the lamp? Who was he communicating with? How did he know to make those offertory gestures? How did he know about the cupping and scooping? What made him go and get the coasters and cushions? Why did he deliberately smile and point at me (and nobody else) as he completed his ritual? Bear in mind that he is only just over 2 years old and has spent the major part of his young life in a Tokyo apartment. It is a complete mystery and had I not seen it with my own eyes, in my own house, unfolding right by my armchair I would be hard pressed to believe such a story. Is there something in the lamp that only specially gifted people can see? He was clearly very happy with what/whoever it was he was communicating with. 

As a by-the-by, the lamp was one of a pair and many years ago somebody broke into granny’s house and stole one of them. It is reputed that the thief was then subjected to some years of ill health and other misfortunes. The village bomoh told him that the lamp was the cause of his misery and he should get rid of it. So he sold it and his luck changed for the better. However, the same problems then befell the man who had bought it. He too eventually had had enough and returned the lamp to granny’s house. I do not know where the other one is now, but it is almost certainly somewhere within the extended family.


lilith said...

How adorable! Genii of the lamp?

Recently the autistic son of friends (aged 31) who talks only a very little, shocked family and friends by getting up and doing a perfect rendition of Michael Jackson's Bad, including all the dance moves, with a karaoke machine. Everyone else was left open mouthed and speechless. NO ONE, not family, not friends nor support workers knew he could do that.

Thud said...

what to say? fascinating.

rvi said...

Well Scrobs, looks like I gobsmacked your entire readership! But Lilith may have a point about a genie – after all there is usually a scintilla of truth in many of these old legends from way back in the mists of time. My own conclusion is that this lad is, or will grow up to be, a medium in touch with the spirit world. Is that too far-fetched? Remember that the Australian Abos pay very special homage to the spirits of their ancestors and the land around them, as do many indigenous tribes around the world who take great care for the spirits of the sea, the forest, the river, the mountain, the waterfall etc. I just don’t know as I tend to be slightly cynical about all this sort of mumbo-jumbo, but this is not the first time I have seen something very odd in action.
About 50 years ago, because I had a reasonable working knowledge of French, my organization asked me to take up a position for a while in Morocco. Naturally I jumped at the chance – and the temporary assignment eventually lasted two years which were among the happiest times of my life! One Sunday morning I was sitting by myself in a deckchair on the local beach reading a book when two friends came by. One was Austrian, so let’s call him Hans, the other was from the Ivory Coast, so we’ll call him Joe. They both held senior positions in their own organisations. Joe pulled up a couple of deckchairs while Hans went to the little beach kiosk to fetch some cool refreshment. We always made a point to wipe the tins very carefully before drinking from them, but just as Joe opened his, he poured about a spoonful of the contents into the sand by his feet. I had seen him do this before, but had thought nothing of it, merely that he was washing away any extra fluff etc from round the rim, but this time my curiosity got the better of me and I asked him why he always did that. “It is to share my drink with the spirits of the earth”, he said, “something we always do in my country”. So Hans and I followed suit – must keep the spirits happy, right?
As it happened, that morning there were very few people around – unusual as that beach was usually quite full by that time of the morning. I was reading my book when I heard Hans say (only half in jest) to Joe: “….very quiet round here today. You know all about this African voodoo stuff, so why don’t you rustle up some female company for us?” Joe looked sharply at him and then said: “Are you sure? I can do that, but I need to know, are you very sure? Because to do so, I will have to disturb the spirits”. Hans hesitated, then nodded. Joe looked at him again, making his decision; then he stood up and went up the beach to the high tide line which was littered with the usual bits of seaweed, driftwood etc. He picked up a few bits and returned to his chair. Then he made a 12 x 12 inch flat table from the sand, poked a hole in the centre with his finger and carefully laid out his collection. He looked at Hans one more time, then started passing his hand over the table mumbling in some unintelligible language. A couple of minutes later he stopped, looked up and said: “OK all done, but we have to go to Casablanca. Do you want to do that?” Hans again nodded, then, as I had not been part of this ‘ceremony’, Joe asked me if I would like to come along and we could all have lunch at a very nice little beach restaurant a few miles south of the town. Of course I agreed, but insisted I take my car home first.

rvi said...

Part II

About half way there Joe announced that we needed some petrol and said we would stop at the next filling station – something fairly few and far between in those days. Eventually we came to one, but it was a typical village place with no electricity. The pump had a large glass dome on top with calibrations marked on its side. The fuel was hand pumped from an underground tank up into the glass up to the required amount and then the tap was locked off and the fuel was then allowed out through the connector hose using only gravity. Simple but effective, so while they were attending to the fuel, I went into the small kiosk to get a six-pack of cold Cokes for us. The place had a small diesel generator just powerful enough to work the fridge and a strip light on the ceiling. There was somebody in front of me so I had to wait a moment or two before being served. When I came out and headed back to the car, Joe and Hans were chatting happily with two young back-packing girls. I confess I did a double take! Two females out here in the middle of nowhere? How could that be? It turned out they were French and were going our way. A truck had brought them this far but it had then had to turn off up into the hills, so they were waiting for their next ride.
To cut a long story short, we all ended up having a splendid lunch by the beach. We dropped them off later at the local bus station for them to continue on their way and for us to head back home.
Now, was that voodoo at work? Spiritual? Pure coincidence? Did Joe just fancy a nice plate of fish and chips and a glass of chilled wine in Casablanca? Were the spirits working on behalf of us or the travellers? Had we actually been the tools of the spirits rather our reward from them? Again, something I’ll never know, but it made such an impression on me that I have never forgotten the experience. To the best of my knowledge Joe was never again asked to do that.

Scrobs... said...

I sometimes wonder if it's just the brain wiring which has gone awry. Lils.

Perhaps he's much cleverer than his chums too?

Scrobs... said...

Now Reevers, I'm not so sure about that! I think it is a fascinating yarn - true clearly!

I'm all for listening to coincidences and just believing them for what they are!

I did some work recently and used to sit next to a very attractive lady, who is an interior designer. Her name didn't ring any bells, and we got on like a house on fire.

On an entirely different blog where I'm someone else, there is a great poster from up north, with whom I send and return banterous hilarious emails and vary many laughs. She told me her name on one occasion as her husband is famous for something in sport. No matter, it's the same name as my designer chum!

And it turns out that they are related too!

As for African Voodoo, my dad often referred to the serious nature of all this from his time in Nigeria.

rvi said...

Oh yes, Scrobs, I assure you every word is true. I agree completely inexplicable coincidences do happen now and then. I was out shopping with my mum in Croydon some years ago and as the doors of the lift we were descending in opened on our floor, standing immediately there waiting to get in was somebody (and wife) I had worked with in a far distant land about 5 years previously (and whom I had actually completely wiped from my memory)!

Now what are the odds of that sort of thing happening? I suspect that most of us have have had similar experiences, purely by chance bumping into someone we have not seen for years - sheer coincidence that we both happened to be in the same place at the same time, and extremely unlikely that our paths will ever cross again.

Electro-Kevin said...

Just look for someone who has the shits and a dented car. They are bound to have your lamp.

Anonymous said...

Joke Time

A Texan walks into a lawyer's office

"I wan git me a da-vorce."

"Do you have grounds ?"

"I got me ... a ranch."

"Hmm. Do you have a case ?"

"I got me ... a HOLD-all."

"I see. You want to instigate a suit ?"

"I only wear... DEN-im."

A brief period of contemplation

"Sir. I need a bit more from you than this. You need a good reason. Is your wife a nagger ?"

"Nope. She ain't no nagger. The BAY-bee's the nagger. Thet's why I wanna DA-VORCE."

rvi said...

Kev: Haha mate, but round these parts there are literally hundreds of roadside stalls, cafes and restaurants selling a quite humungous and generally delicious array of Asian comestibles, some of which (like Thai tom yam soup) will make you head for the latrines asap, while the majority will do no such thing.

Rohwnd dohwn by y'ere, the standards of operating motor vehicles is not too dissimilar from what you see at the dodgems rink at any funfair - so there are not many dent and/or scratch-free cars around. I would be looking for a needle in a haystack - plus as I said, I am fairly sure the other lamp is now in the possession of someone of the (now) 5 generations since granny's time. I would guess that comes to something over 200 people as they all seem to like having kids, having kids, having kids....

And finally, and I promise you all this will be my very last contribution on this subject....

... last night I had dinner with David, a mate from way back and his delightful Indian wife, Anisha who were passing through on their way back to India. During the evening I mentioned last weekend's events. Dave's response was along the lines of 'Wow, how lucky you have been to have witnessed something that'; while Anisha simply smiled sweetly and said: "Reincarnation. It's what Hindus believe".

I remain none the wiser... and we then changed the subject.

Nick Drew said...

coincidences are great, here's one that made an impression on me

when I were a schoolboy (and dinosaurs roamed the earth) a group of us would travel by bus in the days when LT tickets were dispensed by a conductor with one of those great aluminium machines strapped to their bellies, each showing a 4-digit number (the tickets, not the bellies)

anyhow, one day we were on the top deck discussing the End of the World, as you do, and along came the conductor and dispensed me a ticket, which I happened to glance at: the number was 1982 - so I joked that we now had a prediction of when Doomsday was going to be

a couple of years later, still riding the bus, I was with another friend and we also fell to talking about the Day of Judgement (in those days, the talk was of little else) and so (before the conductor happened along) I told him the tale of the 1982 ticket

Well you can guess what happens next: I then get my ticket and yes, once again the number on it is (*pause for dramatic effect*) 1982

[the chances of this happening are obviously approx 1/10,000 but it isn't quite as simple as that because if the first ticket had been, say, 0234, I would have paid it no heed)

anyhow, I approached 1982 with some caution ...

Scrobs... said...

Nick, you are a Guru, and I want to buy you a huge drink one day!

(I missed your Christmas bash, and wailed all evening...0!

Scrobs... said...

Reevers, this has been a great post, and you may return any time you wish my good friend!

I'll leave it on for a few more days, and hopefully, we'll get some more responses!

(I'm stuck for a new one anyway, so bless your heart)!

Sackerson said...

Had the two-year-old child watched TV at all, in Japan? Or been in a parent's arms on a visit to a Shinto shrine? Some autistic children are very good at storing experience and pondering on it for a long time; that's why (we think) they will sometimes erupt in class for no apparent reason - they're reacting to something that's resurfaced in their internal brothpot.

rvi said...

I don't know the answer to the tv point that Mr Sackerson, although his father mentioned that his son liked to watch the cartoons. But I doubt they had been to a Shinto shrine as they are Christian. Also does not explain the activity with the coasters and cushions - and why they were replaced afterwards in exactly the position he found them in.