I had a brief memory flash of serving in India during colonial times.
Now, I know for a fact that Jack (the life I lost in WWI) had served most of the Edwardian era in Secunderabad. However, the flash I had was of going into arid hills with a band of soldiers to hunt bandits.
According to a quick scan of search results on Google, hunting bandits in arid hills sounds more like the 19th century.
I am pretty sure that I was a soldier in my mid-19th century life, but could I have been in India during that time as well? That would be two lives, back-to-back, as a British soldier serving in India. I’d had a strong feeling that I had been to India in that life before, but after I discovered Jack’s tour of duty in Secunderabad I had nixed that. I hadn’t considered that I’d been there in two subsequent lives.
That would explain why the flowery trappings of British Victorian orientalism seem so stuck in my head, in some deep place that I can’t quite see. Two lifetimes of that is enough to make a deep impression. Every time I saw some fragment of that cultural phenomenon while I was in England in this life, it gave me weird feelings. The Royal Pavilion at Brighton was downright eerie in that respect, with its orientalist whimsy bordering on madness, stylized banana leaves all around in places where they were really not needed. In some part of my mind, I see flashes of dark, smoke-filled rooms with dim lanterns and brightly-colored fabrics all around. I smell a hit of exotic spice. But this isn’t a place I’ve been necessarily; it’s a cultural construct of a place I thought India might be all those ages ago and it’s still there, in my mind, a dated and ego-dystonic construct born of Imperialist naivete.
I wish I could remember something more, something concrete that I could track down and confirm once and for all. What did I do as a soldier in that earlier life, and what went wrong that saw me drummed out and turning to the seafaring life?
Thinking of doing a past life regression again soon. It seems that earlier life has come through pretty clearly in regressions and dreams, so it’s probably not very deep in my subconscious. Exactly why this life in particular would be so close to the surface is anybody’s guess.