a wedding ceremony

a ceremony but where?

you already know, there was only one place to choose for our wedding and the formalities themselves were completed at the registry office 🙂

no it wasn’t in a glitzy bhavan with hall for reception (means a totally different thing out here – its the photo opportunity and gift giving session with the newlyweds seated on thrones on a stage) and another hall to feed hundreds, nor a band, althoug that would have been nice

instead, we decided on Srirangaptnam island, of course  …… my favourite place. As you may have seen already we chose a tree in a field

once we decorated the tree… all sounds a bit pagan 😉

we made final personal preparations at Satish’s house…

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there were around twenty guests: local friends and members of our team,

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Vasanth’s family (V was ill), Satish (project manager) and his family, Rakesh (mr energy), Lokesh, Babu, Vidya ( a good friend who transcribed Manjula’s recordings) Heechang and her friend and family (husband Justin was away picking Henna), Asha, my yoga teacher, her family and Suresh, (who arrived fashionably late so aren’t n this photo) and the friends from the UK: Mike and Sue, Tom and Amy. We’re sorry to say that Tanu, Vasanth and Vinay were indisposed with a heavy bug so they just had to watch the royal wedding ceremony on the TV (I’m joking, OK) and not together!

the ceremony itself

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we and the children used a traditional Mysorean Tonga (horse drawn taxi) to our next stop

20170304-DSC03432where we visited  one of the wonderful riverside locations on Srirangaptnam for a prayer  beside the Kaveri and to float our flowers

followed by lunch

and finally …. tea and cakes at Satish’s house

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here’s a link to the full set off photos of the wedding ceremony and here for the meal

Despicable

Who makes monsters?

We do, partly, through acceptance, encouragement and reinforcement

It’s also actually how we make nice people.

It’s the process of

Clarifying and confirming what is and isn’t acceptable that helps creates and forms patterns of behaviour that is our culture(S). Evidence of this might be reflected in the whole organisation or society, community or just one of its sub sets.

So what’s brought this on?

Men in India who rape and/or murder because they can.

It’s an expression of power over others, reflects a degraded system, where there are few societal or personal restraints with limited accountability and recourse.

I wouldn’t want to colour a whole nation and it’s culture from individual incidents. After all I love this place and it’s people because it’s so open, friendly, easy-going, accepting contradiction, paradox and incredible diversity BUT there are limits.

This must however be seen, and highlighted as completely unacceptable. If we don’t, we’re also monsters.

We should hang our heads in shame.

Those in power whether politicians, police, whoever they, have a heavy responsibility to ensure their words, actions, inactions do not encourage or condone or create the monsters in our midst. Unfortunately the increase in these actions is also a consequence of political movements.

Here’s a link to the story

getting ready for a wedding

It might not be the big glitzy Indian affair but we still have to prepare…..

step one, decide on a location

an island …… check,

a tree ……. check,

a field …… check

we’ve got it all

erm, there’s a lot of water, a stream and paddy fields to cross requiring some nimble steps over a simple bridge (must remember to build one) and balancing on a mud wall. No one said it was going to be easy! but we will work it out.

step two

do a check list, create a ceremony and find a photographer

Tom and Amy first visited us a few years ago and have now been many times and have become part of our family. Its absolutely wonderful that they are here to be part of our celebrations and have critical roles as celebrant and photographer.

An essential aspect of any wedding is a trip to Vasanth’s house for Sumati to do the Henna designs for the ladies

Mike and Sue, who I know for over thirty years were also visiting from the UK. What a wonderful coincidence, given that there hasn’t been any advance planning and they quickly became part of the growing team. They also have the heavy responsibility of representing the whole of the British Isles, especially my sons who  couldn’t get here, but then we didn’t tell them about it…… Ben and Ol, Alice and Poppy, daughter in law and grandaughter and the other very important people in my life such as Liz, aka BIG X.

we decided to have a ‘dara’ a sort of friendship thread with wooden bead, to recognise our coming together and to provide a souvenir for each of our guests.

and finally on the day itself, we’re out on Srirangapatnam Island …

but we needed to make the place a little bit fancy and solve the ‘how to get there problem’. So in answer to the questions from many guests whove visited the famous market: what do they do with all those flowers?

even a simple little ceremony like ours needs plenty of flowers: for the horse, the auto rickshaws, the car (more on that later!) our little patch of land, (we just decorated the tree,) so imagine how much is required for a puka Indian wedding!

and to resolve the other problem: Satish, project manager extraordinaire, brought some planks from his house to build a bridge so that we could get across the stream (aka an irrigation channel)

perfect!

typical Indian planning, where there doesn’t seem to be any, yet it just comes together, nicely.

A Farrell Footnote

The full set of photos taken mainly by Tom are here

Well I never….

My favourite ‘hotel’ which is an Udupi (meaning pure veg) restaurant cum cafe (without accommodation) is Indra Paras. Just opposite the market it’s been a long term favourite of locals, domestic tourists, and Firangi (foreigners). Great food. Slightly hectic at times.

Well I never. Hang on a minute. What is this?

One of my regular snacks. Sev Dahi Potato puri with a refreshing fresh lime soda, plain (no sugar or salt) but horror of horrors.

There’s a straw!

For the past two seasons we’ve tried to reduce our use of plastic straws wherever we can. Last year we sold bamboo straws for a local charity this year I carry stainless steel straws on the mycycle tours. (Yes, and clean them each eve.)

Well at first I was very disappointed but then discovered they were actually paper ….. wonderful

The very first I’ve seen in Mysore.

Well done boss!

it had to happen

 

so in planning for this project aka getting married, I didn’t use a broker, check her horoscopes, or caste, ask her mum (Dad’s dead), expect her to pay for the happening, confirm her status and job, check the flatness of her foot, ponder on her mum’s occupation, I did find out a lot about her, was impressed with her surviving a difficult childhood, her fortitude and stamina throughout life, her flexibility and adaptability in managing and thriving through uncertain and unexpected situations, her compassion and care after such an astonishing series of difficulties throughout her life, things that I couldn’t have even begun to guess about… I did fall in love with her as a person, her humour, her compassion, her beauty both inside an out, her thought for others. her active seeking to help others out, her tolerance of the stupidity of some around her, i hesitated for years as I was concerned that she was in a vulnerable position as employee, an ethical challenge of the first order, but eventually we did come together and i wonder now what did she check out about me…

 

its been a bit weird as we’re open about our situation with all our guests at Mysore bed and breakfast, many of whom have now become good friends, our establised friends here and abroad knew of our relationship but we have chosen to be discreet here in our own immediate locality and have kept our relationship a secret from her family. Not because of the cross cultural India/British aspects, they’re more easily overcome but because the neighbours, well they might frown upon it because our different societal positions (she’s from a poor background) and because if her family knew we’d never hear the end of it not least, with the constant requests for handouts.

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so this was back home immediately after the ‘registry’ office. A few days later a wonderful team came together to create a most memorable event most unlike anything that the majority of indians would accept as a wedding, but for us it was perfect.

another one of the difficulties

yes, there was a happening a few weeks ago.

as if Manjula hasn’t had enought to deal with in her life…

she decided to ‘tie the knot’ to a man beyond her years (the age gap is NOT that BIG – ed) and she’s chosen a man from Yorkshire, I ask you! What is she thinking of?

Here’s part one, of this bit of our story.

This is India so you’ll appreciate that getting married is organised differently, obviously and it’s like a TV adventure challenge game,  to be able to spot, be ready for and to respond to the unexpected.

There are three types of marriage. Hindu, Muslim and special. So obviously we went for the special one.. of course (aren’t they all?) .. but actually because Manjula is Hindu and I’m ill-defined (in so many ways)  😉 there is no real option. Next decision is, do you have a ceremony and then retrospectively get the Governments approval, certificate thing or do you do the registry thing first with a follow up ceremony sometime later. We decided to do the latter, with an exceedingly loose definition of ‘ceremony’.

First things first… go to the registry office  on 24th Jan, (as you can see its not exactly a marriage place, its where non-movable sales are registered!) … together with your kind, patient witnesses, with many ID photos, properly completed forms, various forms of ID, (you know the pack drill from our earlier escapades) and ‘bang’ you’re off….. the start of the thirty nail-biting days (yeah, really)  with your details posted on the noticeboard, inviting comment or maybe just derision. You’ll understand, its just to anounce your nuptials and check that no one objects to us getting married. so the machinery is well and truly in motion and that was quite easy…. I’m assuming someone actually asked the UK High Commission! I think I read somewhere that as a cost cutting exercise that the UK Government doesn’t now respond to such requests. Well, we’ll have to see.

Nevermind let’s thank the witnesses: Tanu, Vasanth and Sudha, with a well deserved lunch..

So you’ve seen the photos, and that’s just to begin the process, I think you get the gist of what it’d going to be like to actually get married at the registry office… a bit chaotic.

Anyway on the 26th Feb 30 days are up… me being me, I went to the office to speak to the head honcho, to check all was OK.

There had been no objections, phew! Did I need to do or bring anything? (I know my stuff, I’ve lived here eight years and I can get a bit anal when planning things. So I’m double checking.)

No….. no need for anything else…

1st March

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So its the first BIG day…..

remember its in an office where they register land sales, houses, things like that… lets just say its a hectic Indian office. Its not geared up for anything fancy.

So it’s nigh on impossible to pinpoint the exact moment when the actual marriage took place .

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Was it the entry of the data on the computer?

rushing off to get extra photos? (the boss was wrong, we DID need extra ID photos, I should have anticipated that one, could we find a photo shop to do some more? no we bloody couldn’t, so quick nip home),

the colour copying of the photos? (so that the mixed ones all taken at different times that I’d managed to find, looked the same),

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was it the sticking of the photos on the certificate?

was it one of the many documents we signed, or maybe the flitting from one desk, to kiosk and back again, queue here, queue there, stick it in, stick it out, shake it all about..

Bloody chaos? nah, just normal.

sugar… next problem, the registrar isn’t in the office today, what to do?… its just not a problem,  a sidekick signed. its as easy as that. Unexpectedly, I get the feeling that this journey might be marginally easier, here than in the UK.

So when was the actual moment the two were brought together.. who knows?

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This will have to do.

But we all know it’s over and done when Vasanth hands out the sweets! 🙂

Well that was the official thing,

we’d have to do something else, but we need help, so lets drag in the guests to help out……

next installment, the actual ceremony.

Photo credits, shot by Tomy Gunn

Farrell Footnote

there’s a couple of earlier blog entries that provided early clues that this might happen, check this entry and the weird form we were expected to complete, notice from the date, how long this project was in the planning. There is a whole other story about this delay that we can’t quite reveal at this stage….

You might also be interested in this original declaration from the old man, why I’m so happy

Caring

Just a week ago today…

Kamala arrives for the night shift. The system here assumes that someone will stay with you all day to be there for all non-nursing care roles. Whatever that means!

I’ve been at the hospital all day and will return in the morning.

We’re being a bit posh with private room (good decision) which includes a bed for the ‘carer.’ As you can see below.

It reminds me of thirty years ago. I was the manager of services for Disabled people for a UK council: Kirklees. We had a group visiting Greece as one of those exchange visits (up the EU!). One of the disabled people needed to go into hospital and all our available professional carers were required to cover all the non nursing care. The other disabled people had to be supported by other members (non of them being care staff!) of the group. Two of us decided to hire a car and together with another member of the group who needed our support as he had significant care needs (help for bathing, getting in and out of bed, going to the toilet, getting around in his wheelchair.) It was all new to us but an incredibly valuable experience to see things from our colleagues and the disabled persons’ perspective).

Well we don’t have to do all those things For Manj but similarly we have to have someone at hospital all the time. The other similarity is I’ve swopped roles now with Manjula as I’ve had guests at the BnB while the boss was in the hospital.

It’s helped me realise how much Manjula does.

Now she’s back home there’s the whole new experience of being ‘the maid’…. do this, do that, bring the tv downstairs, reorganise the ground floor, cooking (any suggestions gratefully received), set up the machinery and mask her up (much more complex than the one in the pic) for the night then get up to get it off her! …. more and more 😉

Its quite a new valuable experience.