Happy Ugadi

Sowbhagya prepares the house, the Pooja room
And finally all the Gods and Goddesses including MAnjula get a turn with a agarbati and flaming camphor
Lucie is sad, as she probably misses MAnjula doing the puja rituals.

It’s times like this we miss our closest. It’s also why they also remember us and send a love message.

This time the messenger came to my bedroom window.
It’s probably why I felt out of sorts this morning.

Manjula’s Kind

MAnjula embraced everything and everyone.

She experienced unkindness throughout her life, yet always and especially in the last nine years was the most kind.

MAnjula continues to give

Kulfi for the cleaners. They used to work on our street, knew us and would stop for water, chai and chat (that’s talking not snacks).

Our fine house was a place of support and conversation for women and not just our guests. Manjula’s networks. We’ve continued to support our drivers and they’ve joined the Manjula Mask Movement.

Vasanth and Satish modelling our mycycle masks but the big favourite is …
the one where Manjula seems to be sniggering and who years before the pandemic was telling us to mask-up, modelled by Rakesh aka Peter Pan
And masks have been donated for the vaccinators for when they finish work.
Many cycles have been gifted here for Sowbhaghya’s son Naveen.

I still am

relying on and remembering Manjula’s kindness

Outcast

Yesterday at a village Temple close to here one group of people had to sit outside and were not allowed to enter or fully participate in the puja.

Why?

Here’s a clue

The people were from what’s called a scheduled caste and who were the superior one’s allowed inside?

This is 2021.

What a mess

That’s been with us for a thousand years.

I’m from the U.K./Britain/England/the North/Yorkshire… We often joke about the north/south divide, I mention how the British pronounce words oddly, sometimes (?) to hide their French origin, I’ll explain how my accent and the words I use enables others to place me geographically and allocate the class I was born into and then of course there’s Brexit.

The U.K. becomes more the disunited kingdom by the day, has a rich pedigree and mongrel history. There’s the rub, the divisions we recognise are far more ingrained than we realise and have been established over a thousand years.

The divisions we see, the power games and the ascendancy of certain groups, represented by ‘The Tories’ now seems to be breaking it apart.

I recommend this book . It reveals, in surprising ways, how the established patterns of behaviour are difficult to break, we continue to adapt our national house, following the foundations and seem unable to create any real and lasting change.

Manjula’s kind

more on kindness

I hope I’m getting there.

KINDNESS 
by Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

This is another direct lift, aka homage to the great gathering work of Maria Popova and her brain pickings, clearly hers are not slim pickings!

Lucie’s Liver 2

We went to the vets again today as Lucie was sick a few times last week.

She loves her trips out in auto and ambassador.

She has problems with her liver and kidneys maybe due to Tick Fever she caught a year ago.

It’s a chronic condition, just medication to help her organs function but not cure.

It’s very serious.

We stocked up on specialist renal diet from Austria (!) and now two drugs, probiotics and two vitamins. It’s not cheap but who cares? I’ve been here before.

It’s been a difficult few years.

The ox fell off and lost his horns.
But let’s no loose sight of the positive.
The Bul Bul returns. This is the fourth time a Bul Bul has nested here. First on the roof, next on the middle level, then in the drive and now in our back yard. This made MAnjula so happy.

New arrivals

A MAnjula print — as we clearly don’t have enough already — from our first holiday in Hampi, the year we got engaged.
Catherine has kindly donated a wonderful cabinet for Manjula’s library. Those with eagle eyes will have spotted one of our awards from Trip Advisor. We’ve been number one in Mysore, because of great guest reviews, since our first year.
One of Manjula’s ‘I love you’ messengers never left. It was S/he’s last journey.

We keep getting them.

Families enjoying Manjula’s bench.

All these arrival are especially important as we’re missing real life people coming to stay with us.

Public accountability.

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.