kindness too

two strangers appear at the house with offerings

meet Sahana and Tapan

who brought a wonderful tasty meal

such kind, thoughtful people here in Mysore

and such kind considerate friends Tom and Amy (seen here on the right with Manj and I from the big photo album) who arranged the whole thing from the south coast of England. How lucky am I?

As part of the deal Lucie and I have found two lovely new friends. We’ll be hearing more about Sahana and Tapan…

Absolutely super, thank you Tom and Amy, I look forward to seeing you soon.

are we?

are we inherently mean and selfish?

I don’t believe we are. Its an age old argument reflected in the views of Hobbes and Rousseau.

it goes something like this…

Left to our own devices:

A – humans will be in conflict, a sort of dog-eat-dog approach to life and fight for themselves or me and mine, OR;

B -they will care, show compassion and work cooperatively.

It’s simplified but bear with me … Which do you think is most accurate?

I’m reading humankind – a hopeful history, he challenges the theories that suggest we are individualistic when pushed into a corner and argues that we’re more likely to work together and help each other.

Sound Utopian?

He debunks the dominant stories, the research, established theories and especially what we hear through the media, reinforced through word of mouth that we default to ‘I’. His view is that we default to ‘we.’ ie we care rather than fight.

We follow what we’re told and learned to accept, rather than think for ourselves.

Here’s one example:

William Golding wrote a fictitious story : “Lord of the Flies’ about young boys shipwrecked on a deserted island and how they behaved. What happened? As you might expect, they fought for themselves ganging up against each other. The result was mayhem leading to death.

This has profound implications.

By contrast, Bregman discovered a true story of shipwrecked boys. The result, was the opposite, as they co-operated and worked together to be able to survive.

Which story had you heard?

Most of my day to day experiences in life demonstrate people think about me and mine rather than showing care for another but it doesn’t have to be that way. Manjula (OK, I’m biased) was an exceptional example who throughout her life was faced with tricky uncaring people being selfish and antagonistic but she never let it stop her caring for and loving others. She was inherently kind.

I think much of our problems in society and the damage we do to each other and the planet is because of this mistaken belief and because our systems reinforce particular ways. These allow the powerful to dominate and keep their unfair share. So this way of thinking benefits some people more than others and that’s why it continues. It’s like ‘Lord of the Flies’ and this is maybe why we’re in the mess we’re in.

I believe it was Malcom X that raised the question: What’s the difference between Illness and Wellness?

It’s I and We.

Cool eh?

It’s actually our choice

Happy Diwali

Sowbhagya came on Sunday to prepare the house and draw rangoli

Find more here

This is the first we’ve celebrated since MAnjula escaped.

We had a little rain over night and I love the new version of the Rangoli

Sowbhagya wanted to wash it away but I said leave it, I like the traditional and the modern.
communities celebrate Diwali on different days Saturday was for Jains and those from Tamil Nadu, today, Monday is for locals from Karnataka.

Harder for Lucie

It’s hard for us all

This was relative calm after she’d objected to being prodded, and held on her back with legs in the air. So unladylike.
The foggy scan.

The vet thinks her kidney is smaller and misshapen does potential for renal failure. Poor Lucie.

Next step is special diet and another blood test in two weeks.

None of us are happy.

Too Hard

That didn’t go very well.

Sowbhagya came in one of Manjula’s old dresses. Not the best idea. Lucie followed her into the kitchen thinking it was Manjula, SB hugged Lucie and burst into tears.

I walked Lucie for my own tearful.

Unforeseen and coincidentally photo of MAnjula in the dress recently popped up on Facebook.

Lucie clearly affected. Still missing her in so many ways.

Ayudhapuja!

It’s the one day of the year when we wash our cars, cycles, motorbikes and tools, to then ask the Gods to bless them. Originally a Pooja for our weapons!

Lucie checks they’re doing it properly at the local hotel.

It’s the penultimate day of our big annual festival (Dasra or Dusshera). Commemorating the goddess Chamundeshwari (lives on the hill behind our house), killing the demon, after which Mysore is named.

Sowbhagyhya has already instructed me to wash my Enfield, Ambassador and Specialized. She’s now done the full on Pooja.

Lucie, probably because there’s a sliver of MAnjula in her, has to check things over, again.
The family downstairs doing Puja for their transport. Meanwhile Lucie and the puppy try to co-exist, moderately successfully.
It’s over a year since MAnjula escaped to a new life so we can do Pooja’s.

we say Happy Ayudhapuja!

Anita’s Attic

Sowbhagya arrived with Dosa for her breakfast. The dining table was converted to one of my four workstations but she managed to find space. She was trapped but I blame her. She did show interest. So I launched into the synopsis of Manjula and my story, written for Anita.

SB was immediately engaged and liked it. We both enthusiastically remembered Manjula: her character, her kindness, her fun. SB could see connections with her and other women’s experiences but also how she was especially adventurous, strong and independent in the face of so many challenges.

I’m encouraged.

Last Saturday was the first session of Anita’s Attic. A programme for writers — yes, that’s me, officially a writer, of sorts — over the next twelve weeks.

There’s ten of us in the online group: taught, facilitated and mentored by Anita Nair.

Anita is a famous writer of English novels, here in India. My own favourite is Ladies Coupe and I hope that our story will feature similar expansive characters to help us discover more of India and wonderful people I’ve been fortunate to meet.

Meet We Three….

Hello from Manjula, Lucie and Stephen. Please follow the links below to the videos introducing you to our family.

An introduction from Stephen

A wonderful message from Manjula on what would have been her 47th birthday. Created by Faizan from the many videos she made for Stephen and our worldwide family.

The two lovely videos below are made by Tom and Amy who became so significant in our lives, we ‘adopted’ them.

Manjula preparing a meal and gifting her love.

Stephen guiding a MYcycle tour and providing historical, political and cultural insights in a boring Yorkshire way.

Lucie

the grief gravy group

I have been part of an online therapeutic group with two young women and a therapist, for the past few weekends.

At our final session we were asked to creatively reflect on our journey and how the group has helped. Here’s my feeble effort.

The detail in this rich picture will be shared by the end of our story. Yes, I’m writing and it’s far from complete but it is progressing: at the pace of a snail slithering along on the shell of a tortoise that’s travelling backwards.

Please do feel free to guess what the different images represent. There maybe a prize.

The group been an incredible support and very productive to help me swim along the grief gravy river and keep my head above liquid.

I know you’ve seen it before but I had to post the drawing of Manjula again as today’s attempt is so baaaaad.

Monisha Srichand, the group therapist is a skilled facilitator. She got the balance just right, providing enough structure, guidance and professional input so everyone felt comfortable and confident to share their own challenges whilst enabling us to provide insightful support to other members of the group. Highly recommended.

I’ve also posted details of the empty chair technique used in one of the sessions where you will also find contact details for Monashi and a network of therapists.

A great representation of the group by one of its members. Spot the dog!

If you or anyone you know is dealing with grief and need help. I can recommend books, have a chat or recommend the therapist who facilitated our group.


“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.”
― Elizabeth Kubler-Ross