I’m called to the door by an Amazon delivery. There are no guests so it’s been an opportunity for a lie in. Now cut short.
Manjula has not been well for weeks stretching into months. Most of the day she’s in bed but with significant wobble will stumble gracefully to the outside sit-out and sometimes a walk in our park.
She excitedly tells me of hearing the birds visiting her window towards the back of the house. It’s her first experience of the morning.
Today, for some reason, I can hear them clearly. The whole air is full of joyous birdsong. Our house outside at the front, in the drive, hanging from the car port, on the mezzanine, the balcony and the sun terrace is bursting with life. Our greenery welcomes, as you arrive.
Now the presence of the wonderful birds brings a whole new dimension.
This to a house already marked by its openess. We’re far from but also reflect a traditional Indian home. The matriarch, the Amma, is Manjula, formerly the maid. Her husband who she declares: ‘the maid’ now provides her necessary support. As with established typical local homes. It’s a vibrant active place. Ordinarily there is a constant flow of people. Our cleaners, gardener and that husband-assistant feverishly ensuring it’s prepared for our paying guests at the Mysore Bed and Breakfast. It’s inward flow of guests, a mix of generations, the conversations mingling from the different lounges, with their languages from around the world, in a very Indian way creates a mish mash, a melange of jeek by jowl. A pick-a-mix of rich experiences.
The smells, noises, colours, the feel and texture of India is enhanced by the beautiful bird song. Less than an hour ago it was full flow. It added a perceptible glow to the already shining house. The bird song is more than the icing on the cake its part of our whole.
It helps at this very difficult time of Manjula’s constant challenges to bring a natural soundful beauty.
This house, our home and the memories it creates are a natural consequence of my Manjula. Her smile that radiates is for our many guests, the first and last experience and a remaining mark of their visit.
The presence that is at its heart, the source of our life here, the link to all those who shared our place. This woman from a poor background, with little formal education who has a kindness reflected in those of the stories she shares of her father, a delightful beautiful woman who has made so many people happy by opening her home as the soft, gentle caring golden thread, linking it all. She, my very own Maharani, has…. no surprise here…. gone and stolen my heart, completely bowled me over… leaving me a marked man.
All this helps remind us of how lucky we are, here in our Indian home in a world of infinite beauty. Where things continue to amaze, draw us out of our sadness and bring a smile on our face.