Published by Georges A.D.G. Louis at Shakespir
Copyright 2016 Georges Louis
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The escape route
The egregore and the extra mile
If I died at the age of twenty, my epitaph would be like this:
Laid To Rest
‘No sign of intelligence’ was mentioned to me by Brother Mike, during class, when I was attending the Catholic High School. Making the matter worse, he went to the blackboard, drew a mock-up diagram of the mind and pinpointed the areas of the brain that would store information. He stated, ‘Guys, if the quantity or quality of the stuff was not present, there was not much intelligence available.’ In a sarcastic way he said that everybody should investigate it first to see if there was good stuff in the brain to check their intelligence. He then stared at me for a long time.
This was the heaviest kind of humiliation during my whole school life and I was devastated. My worries were not about what was said, but on the outcome and the consequence which would result in the years to come. Gossip on the island of Mauritius was like a disease; If someone farts in the North of the island, the South can hear it in a few seconds. News, especially bad or distorted, travelled fast on the island and most of us knew that local idiom for ages. Living in such an environment could be challenging and heart breaking. I simply endured and remained silent.
Arguing or getting angry would not solve the situation and the only place I could look for some kind of solace was the Christian Cross, which was hanging on the wall, just above the blackboard. My classmates gave me no comfort either and even my best friend avoided me during recreation time. One thing for sure was that I did not lose faith in God and my inner voice was encouraging me to move on.
Coming home daily was another nightmare and home was not the nicest place to relax. I could not blame my parents as they too experienced hardships. We lost our house during the civil war and although it was not burnt down or damaged, it was sold for peanuts. Rent and food were costly and I endured the lack of essential clothes. I only possessed one pair of shoes and there was no television to watch for either entertainment or learning. Educational programs were available on the local television concerning the studies but I watched none.
The escape route
Fortunately, there was comfort elsewhere. As I was attending a Catholic College, the opportunity was opened to me to attend astronomy classes at another Catholic College in the next town. It became my best past-time which would last for many years. In such a short time, I could remember the constellations of the Southern hemisphere, and the position of most of the visible planets during the course of the year. When the astronomy test came, I came first in the beginners group. By being part of a nice team there was lots of enjoyment in astronomical observations such as lunar occultation, lunar and solar eclipses, and spotting deep sky objects of the Messiers catalogue. The club became so famous that our team photo was published in the world-wide magazine Sky and Telescope. When I left college, all activities stopped abruptly, and I was obliged to continue on my own.
Doing astronomy was not well received by my parents. Their preference was to have me succeed at college and pass the Cambridge Overseas School Certificate, which was equivalent to year 11 in Australia. To be on the safe side, my parents pushed me into some kind of healing sessions and some positive results were witnessed. I had no idea if the healing did work or it was simply a placebo effect. For the last two years at college I passed all my term exams, the most important one being the School Certificate. It was absolutely important to pass that final examination. On the other hand, I took the precaution to enrol in three subjects with a correspondence school in the United Kingdom, which in my opinion was beneficial. In fact, I did improve my English language and when the final results came, I was surprised to obtain a good result in English; however, the Catholic Brother who handed me my results slip did not agree about the good marks. “You were lucky my dear, with the multiple-choice questions!” he remarked. I was speechless and I was happy to leave this college which did not leave me some nice memories. I thought that the most important of all, was that I was still alive and well. Since that time, I did not succeed any further studies in an academic institution, no matter how hard I tried.
While studying economics, my mind caught attention about the law of diminishing returns. I retained that law for many years and I would use it some years later when I was working as a free-lance photographer in a five-star hotel on the West coast of Mauritius. I understood clearly that to be successful in business, I had to maintain the sales to their optimum. I knew that it would not be easy and after some trial and error I was assured of success. All I needed was the correct statistics of which country my best clients came from and the percentage of the hotel occupancy. This information had a direct impact on sales. In high season, I managed to use only three spools of 36 exposures per evening which would make roughly 108 photos. In order to increase sales, I made extra copies to sell on the spot thus avoiding re-ordering which was time consuming. So in general, I was selling at least 90% of the photos taken per night; however, if more spools were used, especially during Christmas and New Year, I could clearly see the law of diminishing returns stepping in. Within four years I made my business sustainable and I did manage to put sufficient money aside to travel overseas. Going overseas on holiday even for short period was considered a luxury in Mauritius and not many people could afford it. My success in business was not good news for some. Jealousy and gossiping started to hover around. As each person had a weak point in life, I had no other alternatives than to quit. My business was terminated on the end of my fourth year in that hotel. Fortunately for me, I had a plan-b already set up in advance. I left Mauritius, and tried my chances overseas.
I never thought of coming to Australia and getting married was a fantasy of the past as no woman accepted my offer. Anyway, one girl from Perth did show up in my life and within a few months we were married. Once I became a new resident I found work and started saving some money. When I lost my job, I found out that one university nearby was having an open day. After some queries, I understood that I could enrol in four units as part of the university preparation course, which could be completed in one semester. My wife did not show any objection to go back to school, but her body language said otherwise. I understood that I had not studied at any academic institution for the last twenty-five years and now I would be aiming at university, this would be a challenge. Well, the results were astonishing; one credit, two distinction and one high distinction. My wife as well as my in-laws were stunned about my determination.
The Egregore and the extra mile
With this good result, I knew for sure that the academia’s egregore had accepted me and I could proceed towards a degree program; however, there was still more work to be done. The fees department kept annoying me concerning payment for the units I enrolled in. I knew that the Australian Citizenship was granted to me and it would only take effect after the Pledge. The dead line for the academic financial year was on the 31st March and my Pledge would be in April at my shire of residence. I decided to approach the Immigration Department in Perth, begging them for a solution. To my big surprise, the lady there, simply handed me the forms. “Please fill them in and return it as soon as possible,” she said. I was completely puzzled. I rushed home, filled the forms, attached the requested documents and raced back to the Immigration Office on time, on the same day. Two days later, I received the email informing me that the Pledge would be done at the same office in Perth on the 26th March. I was thrilled. Once this was done and after the photo session was over, I rushed to the university and handed over my Citizenship Certificate. From now on, I received no more notices from the fees department and my fees would move to the Higher Education Commonwealth Support (HECS). I could now breathe and concentrate on my studies.
Grounding is important in life and the phenomenon happens for the trees. They are grounded in the soil and they will flourish. Some trees will bear fruit; others will give flowers and the rest will simply sit the background of the landscape giving us oxygen and taking the poison gas of carbon dioxide. I have plenty of time to think what kind of tree I shall become and once the decision is made, I can meditate on Emerson’s words, “We become what we think about all day long.”