Today we take her ashes to Paschimavahini at Srirangapatna
Today we take her ashes to Paschimavahini at Srirangapatna
It is with untold sadness we celebrate my beautiful Manjula. She came into my life just nine years ago…..Worried that there was no electric mixer/grinder in the kitchen.
You might never imagine from meeting and experiencing her and the spark she created the trail of positiveness she left, how difficult her life had been from the very first second after birth.
Not only has she been able to blossom and grow she has had an impressive lasting impact on all she met and especially on the gruff Yorkshireman.
Manjula’s spark, her warm and welcoming personality, her openess, the richness that she brought to her relationships with everyone, the connectedness she created with people around the world is of course one part of this rich picture.
She transformed my life and now I have an immeasurable gap.
It’s not that I haven’t known this was coming, we’ve known for years that it might be touch and go and her life might be tragically cut short.
She would often joke that nine years ago she came as my maid and now I’m her maid, so true in so many ways. In particular in these last few months when she lost so much weight and had to deal with one problem after another.
She’s not only learned English, non of it from me, she’d hasten to add, she also took on her own brand of English humour. A joker yes, quick witted but warm caringly connecting.
Good things don’t always last but me and the many many people here and around the world we’re touched by this extraordinary woman and celebrate her intensity.
For that I’m blessed I will forever cherish the time, our experiences, the lessons I’ve learned and the love we shared.
Thank you my darling, my precious, my love.
Your husband Stephen
I relayed this during Pooja at our house with Manjula resting outside. Immediately afterwards Manjula was taken to the crematorium.
It was an important statement to celebrate Manjula and our relationship.
I have been so lucky in my life. I am eternally grateful for so much. Not least meeting by beautiful Manjula. We have been fortunate to spend over nine years together having created a wonderful partnership first in creating a warm open home, second in establishing Mysore Bed and Breakfast and the family it was at the centre of and third and most importantly a caring, exciting, humour filled beautiful relationship. Thank you my gorgeous Manjula.
It is the most heart breaking experience to lose Manjula. She died this morning in Mysore.
As per usual. The girls are completely ignoring me. I’ve offered Manjula a new job and here’s the detail of the tasks and targets!
Ok so I’m not the worlds best artist 🙃 it’s how I communicated her job when she first came to work for me….
yes, there was a day when Manjula actually worked for me. Now we know that the tables have turned.
This is just my way to help support her and to focus on what’s important such as eating well, putting on weight, exercising, not being in bed too long, welcoming and chatting with guests, taking meds on time. Above all fun things and seeing the world through a glass half full
Here’s Manjula summarising how her jobs changed over time. A week or so before she died.
Friends in Sri Lanka
The geezer kept following me around, he’s known in both India and Sri Lanka. The local storyteller in Galle Fort told me he was Makara. Check him out here
I’ve made some other cool friends on this latest trip to Sri Lanka. Here’s the youngest sharing my breakfast and.,,,
Nicking my shoes and socks. In conversations with her mum I realised that Sri Lankan’s are more than happy with the standard of the govt schools where I believe most children are sent and taught in local language. So not like India, except perhaps in Kerala.
My good driver friend, Nandan
Tom and Amy of lovely couple fame have been testing out a few new ideas for our guests. More and more people are now coming for longer. Some even stay with us for the whole of their holiday, using our home as a base and reaching out to other places for day trips or even further a field.
Here’s an update on my visa situation. Be prepared it’s a long one!
I’ve been based here for nine years. I’ve set up a tourism business for Manjula to ensure she has a secure income.
The first mention of a little local difficulty was Here where I give credit where it’s due
The story starts when entering Bangalore Airport in August (after five weeks in U.K.) I was questioned by FRRO/immigration. They let me in but insisted I register with the FRRO on arrival in Mysore. I did. I’m a bit confused as to why.
Anyway, I registered.
So in October, I get a phone call from Anant, one of the original Directors of the company. He’d been contacted by the FRRO (police/immigration) in Bangalore with a whole series of questions. They were investigating me.
Subsequently they wrote to the very local police station asking them to contact me and get documents and a statement. They were focusing on the fact that I’d ‘wilfully’ not registered at the mysore FRRO each time I’d come back into the country.
I wrote a statement saying that if I had to register and hadn’t it was purely a mistake. I also explained Manjula and I had got married earlier this year, the company was set up for her, I wasn’t employed by the company and received no remuneration. They subsequently asked for my tax returns which I couldn’t supply as there were none as I wasn’t employed and had no income. Get it? 🙃
So as of last week.
I was due to fly to Sri Lanka for my first ever visa run. The time between my arrival in August and the next time in the U.K. was over 180 days so I had to leave the country by the end of Jan.
So what could go wrong?
The day before I was due to leave the Mysore FRRO telephoned and asked me to come in. It was the same helpful chap featured here
Bangalore had informed him, they had decided that I was on the wrong visa.
It was presumably because of the low level of investment/turnover in the business. It’s a small business predominantly for Manjula so doesn’t earn much money and doesn’t require much investment, just some furniture and cycles.
Sugar, this is a real problem. If I leave the country as planned they will not let me back in……
This is a critical time for us.
It’s our busiest time with just a few days with hardly any guests so my plan has been to nip out and rush straight back. Also Manjula had not been well, because of a recurring problem (more later) so I was essentially holding it all together (that’s juggling all the stuff, preparing rooms, making breakfast, leading cycle tours. ( I know, I know violins are playing, but I’m a man, multi tasking is NOT easy) thankfully there was the help of our two cleaners and a Special mention for Tom, Amy, Anne and Dave and of course the forbearance of my panicking – will he get back in- wife.
I’ve just got to go. It’s now or never but it can’t drag on.
What to do?
I feel like I’m appearing in Fawlty Towers and Keystone cops! here I come 🙃
The great guy at the police commissioners gave me an option. Apply for an x (aka entry) visa as a spouse. Great idea. I wonder how long would this take? I just can’t be away from home and Manjula for more than a few days. It doesn’t seem feasible.
I’d planned to fly out of Mysore to Chennai, then onto Colombo on the friday (next day) and back on Sunday. Tickets were bought, small bag packed. Eek.
Tom had a solution: Get a tourist e visa to get back in. I applied on the Thursday, it would take 72 hours to be processed, I flew out on the Friday due back on the Sunday but wouldn’t expect to get the visa until Monday so would forego the flights and dash back as soon as I got the visa. Then I would fly in to Chennai where I’d hope they’d let me in.
Phew. Sounds like a good idea. An Indian solution.
I apply and I’m off….
So it’s Saturday and this trip has proven to be one mishap after another. More details here.
After a day walking aimlessly in Colombo I had supper ( no micro breweries) and headed back to the hotel with my sea view from the balcony.
You know, sometimes things just work out. It’s a hallmark of India. On getting back I get an email confirming my e tourist visa. Wonderful! Not only has it arrived it’s in time for me to go back as planned on the Sunday using the tickets I’d bought!
So what was Sri Lanka like? Loved it. As they say it’s India lite. More later.
Back in our piddling little airport. Yes we walk from the plane.
I go and get an x visa in March in Sri Lanka when we’re not busy and hopefully Manj is feeling better.
Oh no I won’t.
It’s now March and I’m just heading back to Sri Lanka for a few days. I have a second e tourist visa that will see me through to May when I return to the U.K. and I’ll get an X visa.
I just wonder what form the U.K. itself will take in May.
Will Donald win again? No the election is in India not the USA but you’d be forgiven for thinking that politicians are much the same the world over. No not because of corruption, that’s true, or supporting their mates in business, that’s also true or being primarily focused on self interest rather than the good of the community, tick tick tick. All probably true. . It’s also about how they choose to focus on often non-issues to polarise the community, exaggerate them to create even more divisions of us and them and shift us even more to the right.
Well we’ve known an election is on the cards here because…
The local paper for weeks on end has had a headline complete with the PM’s photo , no wait a minute it’s an ad paid for by the govt to tell us how successful they are. Now the date has been set, the model code of conduct is in place and such crafty practices are not allowed.
We in Mysore also have the honour of supplying indelible ink for the elections. Once painted on someone’s finger it stops them biting a second time!
This is all getting exciting!
So what’s your job?
And what’s it now?
It’s always good to find similarities and differences, the places where we Bridge and others where the paths fork…..
We’ve discussed a few times about how important it’s been for Manjula to keep the place going even while she’s not been so well these past few months.
It’s been the right decision when she’s out and about or amongst our visitors she’s enlivened by being connected.
We see it when chatting to guests, at the hospital, or coordinating her network of help, from her good friend who brings home cooked for her each day, the boys at the veg shop and our own team of drivers, cleaners and gardener.
As with me, she’s clearly energised by connecting and engaging with people.