Magical Thinking

Thank you for comments and emails already received in response to my ‘off the wall’ tale: ‘Magic Roundabout’ Do please send more as its a real help.

I’m currently reading; ‘The year of Magical Thinking‘ by Joan Didion, one of the things that have helped at this enormously difficult time.

Here’s a quote to help put my story in context:

“I was in myself no way prepared to accept this news as final: there was a level which i believed that what had happened remained reversible.” 

The magic roundabout

a factly fiction tall tale….

The first thing to hit us were the smells. The burning of fuel to create the steam that drove the machines. Next, as we turned a corner, we saw the blur of lights like snakes curving through the air,  the sounds quickly followed, the clanking, ch ch ch chuffing, and what sounded like church organ pipes playing, the screaming, bodies rushing in an out, up and down, turning all around, the laughter, jolly music, a breathless stomach churning cacophony.

Carter’s fair was in town.

A traditional fair of rides and entertainments from maybe a hundred years before. The imagined town was a temporary set-up on a country estate in Wiltshire as part of a weekend music festival.

We’d attended this world music fandango for over ten years as a group of twenty or more, our extended family. A misshapen circle of tents was our home for the weekend. An event shelter acting as our dining room and lounge and another tent as our kitchen. We followed a rota to take it in turns to cater for the whole group and that with occasional guests, often previous visitors to Mysore Bed and Breakfast, completed our little communal village. The cluster of tents, since we first arrived to open fields, had been overtaken by the expansion of a quickly growing metropolis. We were in the midst of an incredible mishmash of temporary homes. Ranging from the very basic young persons festival tents that would be lucky to see a second outing, to the grown ups frame tents and the trendy bells. Nearby in their gated community were the glampers.

It provided a respite from our hectic urban lives and a golden opportunity to catch up and connect. We were excitedly looking forward to our weekend fillip.

Gina, aka the ultimate networking organiser, our captain, had helped pull the group together, an extended family of comfort, an incredibly rich mix with her husband, Angus, from the Caribbean, together with Sharon, Claire, Ruth, Mags, Alice, Ben, Poppy, Liz, Grant, Jenny, Peter, Jane, Barbara, Megan, Dave, Ann, Dean, Manjula, Stephen, Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert Dibble and Grubb.

It’s the first full day of the festival and time to explore. One small group ventured off to find the steam fair.

Poppy, the youngest, was the star of the group. Age five and three quarters, she was, of course, mature beyond her years. It was her very first music festival. She’d heard and seen evidence of them in Finsbury Park, close to her home in north London but this was her own opportunity to see, hear and smell it for herself, first hand. She secretly hoped it would rain, just a little bit mind, so there would be the funny mud she’d heard so much about. Maybe some slip sloppy falling people. Her full time assistants were in tow, namely Ben, the chef entrepreneur, her dad, hailing from the alternative town of Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire and Alice, her mum, the creative jewel, originally from Poland but settled for years in London. This small group out following the trail to the fairground included Manjula and I. We’d married the year before having set up and run a Tourism business together over seven years in South India.

Manjula, from Mysore in South India, and I had opened a Bed and Breakfast business as an open house that welcomed thousands of guests from around the world. Since the very beginning it was number one in our city. My bit of the business was guided cycle tours. I’d belatedly realised how well told stories could provide valuable insights. How history was so precarious and could easily have taken an alternative route. Close to our home was a place that presented an incredible cluster of potential historical turning points. With the slightest change of circumstances it could have resulted in dramatic changes of history for India, Britain and continental Europe. In the midst of all this we’d created a great lifestyle, jealously admired.

I’m Stephen, from North England, Ben’s dad and officially known as Grandee poo by the energetic articulate granddaughter. I was on cloud nine as we were altogether for the weekend and had earlier in the year, visited my youngest son Oliver in Canada. I’d missed them all as we were all living in such disparate places. My previous partner and Ben’s mum, Liz was also here that weekend. We had been together over twenty years and retained a supportive relationship. In fact Manjula and Liz has become close. Liz a strong woman, caring mother another key connector, remained back at the encampment hanging out with others in the group.

I’d moved to Mysore in South India nine years before. Manjula was introduced to me and came to clean and cook pretty much immediately. Over the years we fell in love, carefully reconnoitred the employer/employee relationship minefield with a wedding in a field. This followed a ‘formal’ marriage process, in which we couldn’t quite figure out when we’d actually ‘tied the knot’ in the official office where ninety-nine percent of the activity were the exchange of land and building contracts!

The only cloud on the horizon, let’s call it cloud number ten, was Manjula’s ill health. A few years ago she’d been diagnosed with a chronic lung condition but other than a very serious time in hospital a year ago from which she recovered, she seemed to be strong and thriving. It was predicted however to ultimately seriously affect her life chances and mobility. Manjula was from a very poor background, worked in service as a maid, had faced many challenges including a previous abusive husband and had lost a baby through illness. This had helped create a strong confident woman who had a great ability to empathise and connect with others.

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The group arrived at the fairground to the usual mix of rides, stalls and entertainments, including Manjula’s two favourites. Poppy and Manjula were ecstatic, it’s not the sort of thing we’d see in South India. The absolute favourite was the carousel. The girls mounted their steeds, held on tight, clearly worried yet unused to the gentle riding of the horse, as it sedately circled. Manjula beaming her usual radiant smile was especially bright. The ride came to an end. I helped Manjula down from the horse.

“Can I go on again?” She squealed.

“Ok Madam, of course” I saluted!

Manjula and I walked further round the carousel to find a vacant horse each and ride again. Up she got, smiling insanely. Madam (she was known as Madam English, amongst our neighbours and local shopkeepers since our first visit to the UK ) held on just as tight. I thought this was supposed to be easy going. I felt as though I’d been on a bucking bronco. I felt a bit sick, this will not do!

As the carousel came to a stop we alighted and walked round to find the rest of the group. We couldn’t find them anywhere. They’d walked off.

I still felt under-weather, a bit weird, still sort of sickly but told myself to man-up, it was a carousel for God’s sake.

I looked at my watch. It was 1.30 but I remember it being that time when we first got on the carousel with Ben and his family. We seemed to have gained more than twenty minutes. Odd. Or old age… I’ll have mis-read my watch.

No problem, Manjula had one more favourite place to visit. The slot machines.

In an amusement arcade in Dorset she’d become addicted to a particular machine. You’ll know it. It eats two pences (next to the smallest value English coin). The point is to knock coins off the edge, then they become yours.

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You put a two pence in the slot at eye level. The coins zig zagged their way down, hitting alternate pins, until landing at the very bottom. If you were lucky the coin lay flat and was then pushed into the pile of coins which just might tip them over the edge, down the chute and ultimately into your sticky mits. A completely random-luck-filled-game but the excitable giggly girlish Manjula loved it!

Pennies were lost and won, I’m sure we’ll be back.

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Ben, Alice and Poppy arriving at the Carousel. They got on it…. again! We went over and were reunited once they’d finished their ride, only to be asked why we hadn’t joined them on the carousel, when we had maybe forty minutes earlier. Strange? What’s that all about? It’s as if we were in a bubble of lost time, as if things had not happened. It was completely incomprehensible. I can assure you we had had no wacky baccy.

Manjula and I wandered off, utterly confused and arranged to see them back at camp. Manjula, the mature, strong, calm who was by the turn of a coin, an excitable little girl, was having an absolutely wonderful time and had no idea what time it was anyway. What does it matter?

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We had a couple more things to do, such as visit the Ferris wheel and check out some shops. We’d ridden the Ferris wheel during Manjula’s previous visit to the U.K. at this very festival. It wasn’t your traditional wheel, it was much bigger, slow, sophisticated. It afforded a wonderful view over the country estate in which the festival was based. In the distance we could see the country house, the fields of tents at least three hundred and sixty degrees, around us.

“Look, look, see our flags” exclaimed Manj.

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Next to our tent, we had a flag pole and flags of Grenada and India to help people spot and return to our camp in the midst of hundreds maybe thousands of tents. We could even see them from all the way up here.

On the other side we could see stalls and vehicles selling food, clothes, furniture even. At times, it felt like home as there was such a lot from India. The woodland area gave healthy lifestyle, including: yoga (laughing and otherwise), massage, carving wooden spoons (I’d carved one for Manjula), a children’s play area and then throughout the site were music stages of different sizes, some acoustic, others electronic, tents for dancing and DJs, where world music could be found every day over the weekend.

Waaaaah, this was wonderful. I could feel the beaming heat from Manjula’s smile, her joy, and still there was no rain. Great! I suddenly, felt sick again, maybe it was all too much excitement and action for the old man!

After we’d left the Ferris wheel, we wandered sort of aimlessly along the grassy routes that passed between the stalls. The crowds were getting larger, it was the first full day and the place was filling up.

The usual stalls, that we’d seen over the years, were here; mostly selling Indian or African products and every type of international food you could imagine.

Manjula was drawn to a particular stall, she is an intrepid traveller with an open mind, she always finds endless things to attract and entertain.

All I could see at this stall was an Indian guy sitting cross-legged on a rug, the sort of Persian style, with hanging colourful reminders of home. His wife sitting behind in the inner recesses beckoned Manjula to join them and spoke to her in Hindi.

There was the liberal sharing of Namaste. It all felt a bit mysterious. To me they looked like northerners. There didn’t seem to be anything for sale. For those of you who haven’t visited India, it’s worth pointing out that it isn’t at all unusual to find fortune tellers (palm, star or card readers, parrots, anything is possible) or an incredible usual mix of spiritual types: Swamys, poojaris, offering hugs, insights, predictions, everywhere and anywhere in India. I think these people were mystics of some sort.

Hindu’s are open to finding God via any of the multiple paths that exist in life. Me I’m also open to the varieties of India but I’m also from Yorkshire (north England) so retain a ‘healthy’ cynicism in life. So the three of them are speaking Hindi (it’s not the local language where we live but Manjula knows it and at least three other Indian languages). She’s also learned English since we met but always insists that she learned from the guests and not me! Me, I only have a few words of our local language known as Kannada so I’m completely lost. Manjula has proven to be my key to Indian life in so many ways and not just languages. She has astonishing insights.

Well the Hindi conversation goes on and on. That is also not unusual in India. It’s a right old mix, of intensity, exclamations, even laughter, the look of shock, I worry that there seems to be the odd tinge of anger or is it disbelief? I’m completely lost, but absolutely trust Manjula. She seems Ok with it all. So after what seems an age we leave, we all stand and there are the usual Indian gestures of farewell. Manjula looks both pleased and confused. We venture on and find a place to get a chai, sitting on one of our collapsible camping chairs (I had been in trouble during our last visit to the festival two years ago, for not carrying chairs so that Madam could sit as and when needed, I’d learned my lesson).

Manjula was very pleased, I was receiving the full force of her inner sun beaming through her golden smile.

Now, I’m intrigued. That’s not particularly unusual as India never ceases to amaze and surprise.

So this is what, I think, they’d discussed.

Manjula was astonished, bowled over, that the two people knew her story. Her poor background and the many challenges she’d experienced, a dysfunctional family, life as a maid, her first husband, her baby that had died, our meeting almost ten years ago, the business, her chronic lung illness, our life together. Wow, even the cynic was surprised.

How was this possible? Life in India teaches you to ‘go with it’, you have to deal with paradox and uncertainty and not always question too much.

Now you also need to understand. Manjula’s English was really good but we’d sometimes lose things in translation so here’s what I think was said.

As I predicted it’s unexpected and mystical.

The couple also knew how much the challenges in her life had helped create a strong personality with an open caring attitude that brought people together. I’d seen this in so many ways, not least how she related to our guests and our staff. They also confirmed her own wishes for reincarnation, to come back as a tree!

I know I know, this is so beyond a westerners experience and understanding.

Well anyway to cut a lifelong story shorter, the bottom line is, Manjula’s life had been given a whole new direction. A sort of half reincarnation without having to die. She’d arrived at a turning point in life. Maybe the rides on the magic roundabouts… the carousel and Ferris wheel had changed something, who knows? or is that my own fantastical imagination?. It’s almost as if we arrived at a crossroads and something happened to switch her onto a different track, an altered state or parallel reality.

So what’s the result and why did it happen?

Well we’re still here at the Music festival, obviously. It seems that some of her previous experiences didn’t happen. There was no previous marriage or child that died, and most wonderful of all her chronic illness has been expunged. It’s gone totally. She doesn’t feel any strain on breathing at all, she has a new strength. I’m tearful, overjoyed, this is so wonderful. We both have a new life. How lucky are we?

And why?

So remember there maybe some misunderstanding given I don’t speak Kannada and English isn’t her first language.

It’s a sort of mystical reward. In her life she has had to endure a seemingly endless series of challenges any one of which could have broken her. Instead she not only emerged strengthened she has developed a warm openness that bridges to others and creates bonds of care and compassion. So it seems that as a reward for her goodness and the extremes she’s faced there has been an expected a sort of half reincarnation, a twisted surreal karma, a crossing over to a parallel reality.

Well of course it’s unbelievable, but eh, as I’ve said in India we learn to be adaptable, not question too much and suck the best out of whatever happens. In this case, it means Manjula has a new lease of life, we ain’t going to complain.

So I create my own narrative, to try and understand what’s happened.

For what it’s worth, my limited understanding (apologies to my Hindu friends for this distorted understanding) in the midst of multiple explanations of Karma. It seems to me, (bear of small brain, poo again) that Karma is a bit like a bank. Good deeds, lead to deposits in the bank that are subsequently cashed in when determining your next life at reincarnation. In this case Manjula has used some Karma cash mid life to create a new path and delete some of her previous life and current problems.

So we must have crossed a historical turning point during our rides on the magic roundabouts, landed in a parallel universe and have super new opportunities, ostensibly as a reward for Manjula being such a star.

I turned to Manjula lifted her high (she’s small and light), hugged her until breathless… and kissed passionately. We wouldn’t of course do that publicly in India but hey we’re in a brave new world.

“I love you Manjula”

‘I love you three”

We return to our sort of Trumptown camp where we find Liz and Gina who’ve been caring for little Manj, our unexpected daughter and share our amazing story

Note

This is a reimagined story, written by Stephen. It’s his second so clearly, as you now realise, he has a lot to learn.

Manjula died of a heart attack in March 2019 and so was unable to visit the U.K. for a planned third visit. Her daughter from her first husband had died just a few months old fifteen years earlier. She leaves her husband Stephen and their dog Lucie at the Bed and Breakfast she helped create and that together with MYCycle tours, continues.

Manjula’s story, the real one, not an imagined one, will be posted in instalments at http://www.meandmycycle.com over the next few months.

Follow up

Feedback and further comments, check here

Watch this space…

For a short fictional story featuring Manjula

As posted on Facebook.

In my view Manjula had what would seem to be, incredibly bad luck throughout her short life, she had taken control with good karma (actions) to the extent that she was positive, cared for others and would always look to help wherever she could. Sadhguru states that it isn’t a reward based system but I’m not so sure. I wonder where she is now and hope she has a great time I just wish I could be with her. Fond thoughts.

Can there be too much?

As if we don’t have enough already! That was Manjula’s general attitude when I brought new things home, especially new art. She’d usually complain that there was NO MORE ROOM. There always is of course.

Well she also used to comment that there were too many pictures of herself, Madam English being a bit of a Madam. Nothing could be further from the truth, of course. I can’t get enough of them, whatever she’s doing. 🙂

So I’m very pleased that even though she’s moved on, severed her links with her last body and is now well and truly making a massive impact wherever she is now….. I have the consolation…… of sorts, of wonderful memories, cool shared friends, super videos and still shots, tattoos and look at this

……. just like buses, some things come in twos. And these are the things that at this difficult time, are aspects of Manjula that can actually grow 🙃 what superb painted portraits of my beautiful wife. They really do her justice. How grand are these? I hope she’s looking now

You’ve already seen this one that was waiting at home when I returned, it’s from Johanna in Switzerland who visited us late last year, quickly followed by her mum and dad.

And this painting arrived a day after I returned home ….

It’s from Janie (Amy’s auntie, Amy is one half of the lovely couple and was our celebrant at our wedding in 2018) in New Zealand who visited us early last year, who’s already immortalised Manjula in black and white. See below.

Thankyou to J and J, you’ve made a sad man very happy. How amazing to come home to be greeted like this? Thankyooooooooou both so much.

Back home

India never ceases to amaze.

On the plane before we landed I’m watching an episode of Fleabag. A hit TV comedy in the U.K. that’s managed to pass me by, until now. In this episode, the family are at dinner and after a fight, almost all of them have bloody and bleeding noses. At exactly the same time the traveller in the next seat starts to have a nose bleed. I’m not making it up.

Off the plane and immigration are their useful helpful best and the finger print machine isn’t working so I have to wander off to find a different desk. That one isn’t working either. The Babu squeezes and rubs my fingers, squirts hand hand cleaner on my hands and manages to get it in my eye, gets me to rub them (the fingers that is) and try each finger one by one while chuntering on about how dry my hands were! He gives in.

This is all pretty irrelevant, I’m avoiding thinking about returning to an empty home without Manjula. I need to be tender and tough at the same time.

Shafi is waiting for me to drive me home. It takes ages as the Jains have got a big three day event that’s blocking the main highway between Bangalore and Mysore. Lots of people in white with their masks on to stop inhaling and killing living things, thousands of others venerating them.

I explain that over the years I’ve probably arrived in India over forty times. All bar one feeling very happy to be back. This time I have mixed feelings of being both sad and happy. We’ll have to see how it goes.

The place seems pretty messy. Rubbish everywhere. It doesn’t compare well with the three countries I’ve visited. I think it’s the longest time I’ve been away from India since moving here nine years ago.

Shafi kindly points out that Manjula was very lucky to meet me and especially as she had two trips to the U.K. and her medicines paid for. I point out that I was also very lucky to have met Manjula, to be looked after by her and had such happy times together. We buy some flowers for Manjula’s portrait, just like the ones on my tattoo. Their aroma now fills the house.

The other flowers also featured on my tattoo have already bloomed and died as they last just one night. We used to have bets on which night they would come out.

Lucie is not here. I whistle manically and eventually find her at someone’s house and we go for a walk. I keep catching Manjula out of the corner of my eye. No one is like Manjula of course, but just with a glimpse, the colourful saris can easily confuse.

I wonder what Mangla the cleaner has been doing while I’ve been away. The place is the dirtiest and dustiest I’ve ever seen it.

We have a parcel on the sideboard, from a lovely young couple, Johanna and Piero, who visited us last year from Switzerland. Johanna has painted and sent a beautiful picture of Manjula. How cool is that?

Doddery

I’m stepping over stones into my new world.

As I prepare to return to Mysore after almost two months away it seems daunting.

I’m tired and it’s exhausting dealing with the turmoil of my emotions.

I really don’t know if I’m ready to go back. I need to but I worry what it will be like. Maybe I should have planned to be away longer but that would mean putting off the inevitable. I need to follow my own insights and advice and remember our wonderful time together over nine years, our fun growing together and creating something special.

Wherever I am whatever I do, I carry Manjula with me. I’m always bumping into memories of Manjula. I miss her so much. I wonder if I will ever move on from all this and if I really want to. Am I going about it the best way? Am I expecting too much too soon? I just don’t know. For much of the time I’m not really motivated to do anything. I think about her constantly, miss her terribly, I have lovely memories and overwhelming sadnesss. It’s a friggin nightmare.

But it’s not the total picture.

It’s as if……

I’m crossing a river.

I step gingerly, stone by stone, crossing the unwelcoming swirling white water. I step on a wobbly stone that pushes my heart into my mouth and brings tears to my eyes, others are unpredictable being partially immersed, others shift erratically with a manic intent to topple me into the churning waves. If I was to fall in at this depth it would be of little consequence but in this current state it’s maybe a challenge for which I’m not equipped.

My muse, Manjula continues to stimulate, encouraging me to act and move forward. I find a firmer footing. I feel her support, her arms hugging me, she whispers her love. I realise that we choose the routes we take.

I can look back and can see that there might have been different approaches to the challenges we faced. An alternative might have rescued my darling from this untimely death but we just don’t know and have to go with what we did choose and hold our wonderful memories close.

I know she forgives me and will always be with me.

Missing Manjula 2

It’s fifteen weeks now.

There have been so many goodwill messages I’m stuck for how to share them all…

Here are a selection from friends around the world.

“To live in other’s hearts is not to die”

Isn’t that wonderful?

a Fante Ghanaian quote

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Hi Stephen

In the very brief time I knew Manjula she made an impact on me with her kind nature and cheeky sense of humour.

I saw how much she was loved by people within the community.

While going through her serious health problems she still went out of her way to see if I was ok and enjoying my trip.

I was so saddened to hear of her passing and my condolences and warmest wishes are with you

Lawrence

x

Such sad news Stephen. We loved our time with you both at the BnB. Manjula was a beautiful person…. she will be missed by many.

Sending you lots of love Ruth & Alan xx

such a beautiful funny lady so very sad ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️xxxxx

So sorry for your loss, Stephen. Manjula was an angel and is shining her light and love over you, always.

So so sorry to hear of your loss. Have followed your beautiful journey thru FB…She spread her radiant smile far and beyond….Even to the unknown. Wish you all the strength.

Farewell Manjula.

You always had a smile and an impish laugh, for everyone.

Will miss you, as will everyone you touched.

Steven Robert Heath

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I’m so sorry Stephen. Manjula bought such a ray of sunshine to all she met.

Her beauty was both outside and within.

Her killer humour, her untold skills and cleverness.

You had the enormous joy to share this.

Your memories of her trip to UK.

Everyone who met her loved her.

She will always be in our hearts and yours.

With such sadness. Libby and Andrea Smith.

Manjula, dear, funny, clever, beautiful inside and out. You are in my heart forever 💕💕💕

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A truly inspiring couple… And am gald to have met an amazing and radiant soul in Manjula…

Prayers for her sadhgathi…

And your feelings and thoughts are so well penned down Stephen…

Prayers n much luv…

Guru Dutt Bharadwaj

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Some people come into our lives very briefly but leave a lasting impression ; Manjula Vellada was one such person #flyhighlovelylady

Mo Willot Hunstone

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I’m sure the house is feeling very lonely without her warmth! You two inspired a lot of people around the world … me included! You are loved by so many people … please hang in there! So many in life never get to experience the kind of special connection you two shared – feel blessed for that! Hugging my hubby a little tighter tonight … and sending you all my love! 🤗 😢

Emily

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Love is Sweet! and life changing, Noah Jamilu

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This is such a heart touching tribute to an extraordinary woman. Manjula will always be synonymous with Mysore and the beautiful memories we made there. Her dry humour and hospitality will live on… Ankara Anson

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Manjula was that little spark of surprise in the day, her food was delicious her face could light up a room, I am so sorry for your loss Stephen. Love and kind wishes Vicki and Ron

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One moment at a time.

One hour at a time.

One day at a time.

You will get there.

I feel blessed for having met you both.

Love and Hugs.

Chris

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Dear Steve

Please accept my sincere condolences for your deep loss, and indeed the world’s loss. I can’t imagine your pain but I can feel your love for Manjula. According to a fante (Ghanaian language)saying, ‘to live in other’s hearts is not to die’. I know this to be true Steve, and I hope will bring you some comfort. I am sure your Manjula is smiling and watching over you, with endless love.

Sue

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I stumbled upon your BnB when looking for some experiences around Mysore. Never happened to visit you guys but have followed you ever since. Feel like I have known Manjula and her inspiring life over the years through your posts; thanks for sharing your journey Akshay Surve

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My dear Stephen

I am so sorry to hear this. I hope you are bearing up well. It sounds like you were expecting this.

I only met you and Manjula over a couple of days whilst staying in your home but I feel we have continued the friendship by the power of the Internet. You have kept in touch with your blogs and posts and I am sure I am not the only one who feels your loss.

Not much I can say but if you’re ever in my neck of the world you have a friend and a bed available.

With kind regards and sadness.

Stuart

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I am so very sorry for your loss. I followed your page with the hope of coming to Mysore one day. Manjula has been a luminous presence in your posts: such warmth in her smile. She was beautiful in so many ways. My deepest condolences sulwen

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Stephen I always harbored this small hope that Manjula (with you of course) would some day make it to my part of the world. Alas that will not happen but that sweet, dear face will always be a part of me.Diane

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Steve This is a very beautiful tribute to a very beautiful woman. You were both so lucky to find one another and have those years together. What a unique and special relationship it was and what a huge loss for you and the hundreds of people who met her and through you and your love of her grew to know and love her too. May she be sitting peacefully somewhere watching over you and feeling proud to have been your wife. Emma

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You were both so lucky to find each other and share those years even though they were surely not enough. They love you shared shone out so bright and clear and was wonderful to be around.

I can’t imagine your home without her spreading her warmth and I send you strength to move through the days. We send our love to you.

Your friends in Oregon.

Abby and Dean

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Farewell Manjula.

You always had a smile and an impish laugh, for everyone.

Will miss you, as will everyone you touched.

Stephen Robert Heath

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Our thoughts are with you; we had the chance to meet both of you last December and we will cherish this memory of you and her together in your beautiful garden. She had such a warm smile and a gracious presence.

Marie Andree Dubrule

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I’m filled with such sadness of the passing of Manjula. However whenever I think of her I do so with remembrance of her positive spirit, her wonderful smile and her sense of humour. She has left an indelible mark of joy in all of us. — with Manjula Vellada.

Thank you Stephen for sharing! I‘ve met Manjula and you only once a time in my life but I still feel really in a relationship with both of you. I have a lot of tears in my eyes, believe me … Again a lot of power for you! Be grateful that you find each other 🐝

Sabine Willers

I am so sorry Stephen both Lorna and I have happy memories of staying with you both some years ago. The laughter and happiness in the house created such a wonderful atmosphere. Our thoughts are with you David Cross

Stephen how lucky you are to have found each other. My heart goes out to you. xxxxx Libby Sandbrook

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Dearest Stephen

Yesterday Varis and I did a puja for Manjula with a Baba in a temple at the foothills of the Himalayas. I picked some wildflowers and threw them in the waterfall coming down from the mountains and prayed for Manjula’s soul to fly free. We prayed for you too, to find the strength you need to help you through your loss and heartache. They call this place the Land of the Gods. If we couldn’t be with you in Mysore, I’m glad we were here in this special place to pray for Manjula’s soul. Sending you love and healing light 🙏🏻 — at Palampur Catherine Cullen

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A star on earth is now a star in heaven

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Dear Stepen, we are very sorry to hear about the death of Manjula. We remember Manjula (and you) with great love. We stayed at your BnB for 3 night almost 5 years ago, and for us, this is one of very few places in the world which made us feel like home. We wish you all the best and may you find some comfort by knowing she made an impact on people all over the world. Take care, Oren and Ofra from Israel

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Stephen Farrell these photos came up on my memories today from 2 years ago. Just check out Manjula’s cheeky smile!! I know you probably have the originals as you took the photos but wanted to share them again with you. I’m so glad we had the chance to meet her (and experience her wonderful cooking!!) Hope you’re coping okay, be strong my dear. Sending you big hugs and love. X — with Manjula Vellada and Paula Calder.

Kerry Hague