All these arrival are especially important as we’re missing real life people coming to stay with us.
In the early 90s I was a senior manager in local government in England.
We had a reputation for innovation in trying to respond to community needs. I sometimes sailed ‘close to the wind and on one of these occasions I was disciplined for breaking the rules.
Towards the end of the financial year I realised there was money underspent in one of our budgets that would be lost.
Rather than lose the money as it couldn’t be carried over the year end, I identified computer equipment we could buy for a new project we were setting up to promote access to computers and training for disabled people.
I quickly contacted three companies that could supply the equipment to get verbal quotes . Chose the best price and company got a formal written quote and agreed, we could go ahead.
In my rush, the mistake I made was not to get formal written quotes from all the companies.
I was investigated and at ‘the hearing’ I was put on ‘final warning.’I completely accepted I’d broken the rules and should have been punished. As public servants, responsible for significant budgets, providing quality services and the health and safety of our service users and teams we are and should be fully accountable.
Why do I share this with you now?
I can see political personal and institutional corruption at the highest level in the U.K. and I wonder how the guilty will be held accountable.
Just look at this.
weeeeeeee, screeeeee, grrrrrrrrrr, waaaaaaaa….
This is the grinding, cutting screeching of the little mesters, the small independent traditional workshops making knives in my home city of Sheffield the cutlery capital of England.
Except it isn’t.
It feels like they’ve followed me all the way to where I live now in the genteel middle-class Siddarthanagar in Mysore.
It’s the third night of this infernal racket going on past 9 in the evening and comes from the construction site behind — making it almost impossible to have evening (international time difference) important zoom calls — so, I complain to the workers. They are cutting and grinding marble, tiles, steel and concrete. The noise should stop at the very latest at 7.00, (the actual rule is they should stop earlier) one of the workers seems to understand. That’s good, message received and understood.
But it’s not so straightforward. Is anything in India?
The construction site belongs to the next door downstairs neighbour (Jain), and he discussed this with his upstairs neighbour (who’s Brahmin) who raises it with his neighbour (Lingayat), who I cycle with most mornings, who talks to me (the Firangi aka foreigner). I might be joking but these labels of religion and community are very significant. So a simple matter of neighbourliness, and sound sensitivity becomes a big issue at the corner. They, that’s the Jain with the support of the Brahmin decide to allow the workers to continue making the noise into the evening and ignore me. The Lingayat is just the messenger 🙂
Once I realise the molehill is becoming a foot hill, I go to speak directly to the site owner, my neighbour of some years. He refuses to speak, looks down, can’t catch me in the eye and does some rude brushing away movement with his hands. Blimey.
There’s more to being kind than feeding the cows
Frankly, in my view, it should be obvious that such noise in the evening isn’t on, regardless that it’s against the regulations. Rules, what are they? Various friends agree. But lack of awareness, indifference, who knows what has stopped the bleeding obvious being well, obvious. Now they know but don’t care, they stick the proverbial finger up.
To make sure I understand, I’m cold-shouldered by the Jains and the Brahmins.
The foothill becomes a mountain. This is quite unbelievable.
The fool of the father (Jain) even instructs his young daughters to have nothing to do with the foreigner.
On a normal day and time, Lucie and I are constantly greeted, by the local children, as we walk down the street with smiles, hellos and waves but not by his two, not anymore. Hence I refer to the infantile behaviour of the kindergarten. The poor girls stick out like a sore thumb not greeting the foreigner, because of the childishness of their father.
I now realise its a common unsophisticated way of communication. For example: there’s three parts of a family live a few hundred yards away from each other who have not communicated for decades. I hear of families not talking because of perceived snubs at a wedding and how the invites had been issued.
I’ve discussed with people that I know from the Jain community who are embarrassed and apologetic and Brahmin friends, who are politically liberal anti-elitist, just shrug their shoulders and ask why I’m surprised. People talk about bad karma for the house and how they shouldn’t treat ‘guests’ like this. Me, I’ve given up.
Jain friends in England point out, that there’s more to being kind than feeding cows by the roadside.
Come on guys, get a grip. Life is too short. So I have to take the high road and provide a different example.
So Let’s be positive.
following the path of Manjula the muse, the moose, my guru
I therefore haven’t pursued this, previously I might have, mercilessly. Now I’ve adjusted, live and let live.
I don’t want the poor innocent girls affected anymore, or their new house to have a bad vibe, our respective rewards will arrive.
I hope Manjula will be contentedly happy with my approach.
Here’s more information about the little mesters.
as we approached the second anniversary of losing Manjula I took myself on one side and had a chat.
I will always have grief gravy to deal with, hopefully the flood that’s now a river, becomes a stream and in time a puddle. As part of that there is a shift towards pushing aside more of the upset and blame, allowing more space to remember the positives and her joyfulness.
The latest sign in response to that positiveness was three examples of people contacting me who might help create the garden, do interviews for ‘our story’ and help reach our story to more people. How cool is that? It’s another sign.
Another is our flag.
Out the front of our house its flapping to show, the Union Jack representing me, with the sun rising to provide a beacon of kindness, that’s Manjula and a crown because she’s a queen.
Here’s this weeks postings, if you missed them:
In planning for this anniversary we sponsor meals at the old people’s home
Manjula’s Anniversary Continuing, lunch and pooja to celebrate and help her soul find its new home, if she’s not already there, who else gets fed?
There was an earlier sign
The anniversary reminded me of facing one of the most difficult decisions in my life which should not have arisen. Another example of me stumbling through life
Where do the elderly cows go? and the bulls no one wants?
Out cycling today Veerendra and were invited into the local Pinjrapole society to see their work.
Imagine an old people’s home for cows.
I’ve visited many times over the years, we even used to visit as part of a cycle tour for veterinarians. They were ‘vets beyond borders’ volunteers working on a dog project in the Tibetan settlement in Bylakuppe the vets would often stay with us at Mysore Bed and Breakfast.
It’s a great place.
We’re bursting at the seams. Wherever you turn there’s evidence.
We now have plants in the drive out the front, inside and outside the gate, down both sides of the house, in the back yard and on the mid level roof. There’s hundreds of them. We plan to create a small garden in the park this year so that will use half the plants. Let’s hope the mosquitoes will go with them.
Most Indian houses have little if any art. It’s an unnecessary (not) expense and very middle class. As I arrived with the latest offering MAnjula would complain that there was too much art and not room for anymore. Wrong!
Our latest addition
An earlier addition was this beautiful portrait.
There’s always room for art.
Next Manjula would joke about there being too many books, and how we should open a library.
So here it is…. Manjula’s library… available for local friends and our guests. (Yes they’re also friends.)
and that’s carefully avoiding mentioning anyone who’s bursting at the seams.
The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, …The opposite of life
My good friend Brian, who has a cameo appearance in my short story ‘looking for a home’ also sent a kind thoughtful poem on Manjula’s second death anniversary.
step by step
the world you showed me
and remember my hand
is in your hand still
and remember my body
is the hammock of your presence
think of this—love ends
where the void begins
and we pierce the void together.”
From the poem A Fernando
On this second anniversary of Manjula slipping away to continue her journey, friends have continued their Kind support.
This from a thoughtful friend in Mumbai
Through the doors in your eyes
I formed my sweet little home
When you left
This life became homeless
The shade of your tresses
Is now not in my destiny
The melody of your dainty feet
Is now not in my destiny
The echo of your laughter
Is no longer here
The fragrance of your aura
Is no longer here
When I think about you
Your thoughts are all that remain in this life
Your memory is what makes me complete the cycle of
Each breath. Each moment. Each day.
You just floated away
Leaving me at the crossroads of life
I remain there stranded
Longing for your return
Neither did you know
Nor did I
That this was all the time that we could get together
In this lifetime
May you be happy in your new world
That is my only wish
With the hope that one day
I will join you once again
In your loving embrace
With you, hand in hand
In that new world.
Thank you, Stephen
and in its original form in Hindi
तेरे नैनों के द्वार से
मुझे एक आशियाना मिला था
तू जब चली गयी
ये ज़िंदगानी बेगानी सी हो गयी
तेरे झुल्फों की चाऊँ
मेरे नसीब में अब नहीं
तेरे चंचल पाऊँ की आहट
अब मेरे नसीब में नहीं
तेरे हँसी की छाया
अब इधर तोह नहीं
तेरे पवन की ख़ुश्बू
अब इधर तो नहीं
तेरी जब याद आये
इस बाकि के ज़िंदगानी में
बस याद तेरी मुझे पार कराये
हर पल। हर सांस। हर दिन
तू जो चल पड़ी
चौराहे पे मुझ को छोड़ कर
मैं बस खड़ा रह गया
तेरी राह देख कर
ना तूने जाना ना मैंने
बस इतना ही साथ था हमारा
इस संसार में
तू खुश रहे अपनी नयी दुनिया में
मेरी बस ये एक तमन्ना है
पर आशा यह है की
मैं फिर से सेहलाऊँगा
तुम्हारी बाहों में
तुम्हारे साथ, हाथ में हाथ
उस नयी दुनिया में
Sowbaghya did a wonderful job helping us remember MAnjula with assistance from Satish and Tanuja and guests, all friends of MAnjula.
Finally providing food on the roof for the crows who just might be Manjula’s soul looking for food on her journey to finding a new body.
We need to cover all bases, in case she hadn’t found a new home, as yet.