Satish

Satish became such a close friend (or brother) to Manjula she would telephone him most days to bend his ear and share her stories. He was a source of invaluable support, especially in her last few months.

He’s one of our main drivers and been an incredible help in so many ways. We spent days hunting down our Ambassador car (which he hopes to get in due course) and his project management skills came in handy to prepare for our wedding ceremony.

Tanu and Satish have joined me as Directors of the business in Manjula’s place.

Today Ina and I were invited to his home for lunch as it’s Mahalakshmi’s big day (more info here).

Delicious!!

We’re working on a new project….. more later.

Faizan

Faizan, aka Fez, first came into our lives through his work with Royal Mysore Walks.

He has many talents and way up the list is his creative eye. The videos and still shots he takes and crafts are wonderful.

A few days after Manjula and I got married he arrived on the doorstep with a lovely wedding present.

It’s inlay work for which Mysore is rightly famous. He’s just got married himself to the lovely Abida and here we are together at their celebration.

I met his mum and three sisters, there, yes, he comes from a female household. I was struck by their open, friendly approach which of course is not uncommon in India. But there was something else. They were all enthusiastic, dynamic souls, very engaging, great connectors and clearly with a strong social conscience. A real credit to their mum. They also remind me of someone else who was similarly very special.

Faizan is working on a video project for me but look at this one he made earlier. Sad but Grand!

I was away earlier this year for a couple of months and Faizan kindly looked after Lucie and the house while I was away. They are now the best of buddies.

He’s on Instagram as Faizanbaksh and facethingy.

Great response!

Our following increases with more people checking out our postings.

This is a new one however.

Ina the perpetual guest really liked a recent one.

It made her think of a Robbie Burns poem….

She asked why wedding rings are made of gold;

I ventured this to instruct her;

Why, madam, love and lightning are the same,

On earth they glance, from Heaven they came.

Love is the soul’s electric flame,

And gold its best conductor

And then she had this dream….

She entered a jewellery shop,

In the centre of the floor was a wooden chair.

It was covered in carvings of people’s initials.

The jeweller explained that it came from a school where it had been carved by young lovers.

It was symbolic of first love and that was the role of a jeweller recognising and celebrating love.

Ina blames my story for her dream….

Phew

What a week its been.

Detailed negotiations, with from the left Little mummy (Chicamma), lucky luck (sowbaghya) and Tanuja (can’t remember what it means).

With the help of Ina (aka mirror)

Job well done. Thank you for your help Tanu. Chic and Baghya are the new house team for cleaning and cooking.

It’s been a unhappy history trying to sort out help over the past year.

looking for a home

everyone wants a home and needs to feel wanted

a short factly fiction tale, a monologue, written by Stephen, but its NOT him speaking…

………..

Isn’t she lovely…isn’t she wonderful, isn’t she precious’…… 

“Stevie Wonder, really got it right…. I feel good.” 

[Stevie Wonder’s ‘isn’t she lovely’ is playing in the background. Our own Stephen is out looking for something, but what?]

“It’s so crowded here and a bit too bright for my liking. It seems very orderly but I reckon that we’re held in a bit too tightly. How am I supposed to get noticed in the midst of all this? How can anyone see me, let alone pick me?

Here, what about me? Hello, Hello……, yes, me! Look here!

What’s your problem? I’m beautiful – obviously, bright – yes, I could just about be a star… reach for me!”

Isn’t she lovely, made from love….life and love are the same’, 

“yes Stevie, take it away. 

Hang on, Who’s this? He looks well meaning, clearly got purpose, we could make it work.

What is he doing? He’s got it completely wrong. No, not her, put her down, what about me? Come on get a grip.

I’m yours for the taking.

Hang on a minute, I’m getting attention from him. Yes, that’s it, pick me up, look me over, no no , you’re tickling. Oh no, now he’s putting me back. What an idiot!

Hey, he’s coming back, let’s look extra special, maybe if I send positive waves, he’ll appreciate my OBVIOUS charms. Yes, He’s looking my way again, picked me up, stroking me, yes, yes, you’re getting it. Now he’s talking to the nice lady, getting out his wallet, yes we’ve got a RESULT…. wonders never cease.

He hands a card over, payment is made, I’m nicely prepared and we’re off. 

Yipeeeeeee.

This is sooooooo exciting.”

I can’t believe what God has done’, 

“back to Stevie Wonder, this is so my song.

I’m with the guy who picked me and I really think I’m about to meet my life’s purpose.

But now I wonder, what will it really be like? I don’t really know this character, can he be trusted? Where does he live? He’s white skinned is that good or bad? Calm down. Peace man. Give him a chance. Less of the anxiety. It’ll be OK, remember those positive waves.

Hang on. there’s another man with him who I hadn’t noticed. I can just about make him out. He looks like Father Christmas, big white beard and belly. Now this is a bit weird. Does that mean, you know, that they’re together? an item? Oh no, that’s not my idea of bliss. I’m not judging others, you’ll understand, it’s each to their own but if I’m moving into their place I need to know the set up. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m modern, I’m fresh, I’m new, I know that gay marriages, partnerships, people living together without getting married are all the rage but I just need time to adjust. 

It’s not what I’d expected. I’d wanted a more traditional thing, I ooze tradition, obviously. OK, OK, Don’t prejudge, let’s calm down and see.

So, where are we now. Back home, I expect. It looks big, difficult to tell as I’m so small. There’s plenty of space, loads of plants, we could make this work even if its not what I expected when I was brought into this world.

Hang on. What do I see, through a crack? There is a woman, Now as Stevie Wonder says I’m lovely but hey this woman is something else, she’s absolutely beautiful. A gorgeous tasty chocolate colour, unlike the pasty white guy. The other guy I now realise, was just a friend. Pheeeew…

Isn’t she lovely…isn’t she wonderful, isn’t she precious’  Stevie Wonder, I imagine, would sing and now there’s two of us!’

I get it now. The first guy who picked me up, and bought me and the woman are clearly together, there is a soft warm vibe that I feel. I’ve always been complemented, by the others, of being ‘in tune’ and understanding the humans.

Yes its happening, he doesn’t hang around. Non of this waiting for the best time, he’s straight at it.

‘Manjula’… he says, then I can’t quite catch the rest…. blah blah blah….get on with it man. blah blah… Wow what a smile she’s got, I’ve got a full view of her now. Now she really is a star. I could get to like her. What did she say? I didn’t quite catch it.

She’s acting very shy, coy even, which is probably not surprising in the circumstances.  

So what was that I heard? 

Yes! 

Spot on, wonderful that’s made my day…  no, my year, my whole life… I hope this means happily ever after. 

…. she’s beaming at me and him, I suppose, and let light into the whole room, Ok I admit, probably accentuated by the fact that my box is now fully open. Whatever, its love all around, I’ve come to a wonderful home. Yeeeeees!

She takes me out of the box, Strokes me. She’s radiant, I really really love this, and her, I’m going to be so happy.

He slips me on her finger. She had said yes, I’m over the moon.

This is absolutely wonderful. I have my very own family.

Life settles down to a sort of normality, a routine. I’ve been her engagement ring now for over two years. I’ve travelled to England (where he is from), been photographed so many times, shown to what seems to be absolutely everyone, mainly foreigners admittedly. I’m not always on her finger, only on special occasions and when she has on her ‘sunday best.’ But it’s then I’m at my best. We were made for each other.

Otherwise I’m placed back in the box or wrapped in a tissue, and tucked away in a warm place in her bra, under her mattress, in the midst of her many many saris or bedside drawer. 

Since that very first day it’s been an absolute joy. This is a very happy house with many people from Mysore and around and from all over the world (whatever that is) constantly coming and going and I’ve even got used to the big black dog.

I had expected a companion, yes a wedding ring but it seems like its not their thing. There was however the crowning glory and yes, eventually TWO YEARS LATER they did get married (twice), so we all had our day of celebrating their love.

Manjula was at her most beautiful, whether at the registry office, in the field, on the Tonga, by the river or for lunch hotel, she beamed like a constant smiling beacon, a lighthouse lighting the way for us all.”

Epilogue

“So what’s happening today? It’s almost four years since their engagement and over a year since they married.  Everything is out of sorts. Manjula’s husband who I now realise is called Stephen or maybe Stevie, but he’s not a wonder! As you will soon see.

Manjula left the house yesterday in the Ambassador car with Stephen her driver. She left me at home so I thought it was maybe one of her regular trips to a clinic or hospital. Its unusual as she’s pretty much been been here constantly for most of the last year and she hasn’t taken me!

So what’s he doing now? Stephen has come back on his own. Well he’s clearly sad and his eyes are wet.

I’m wrapped in tissue paper, I think I’m under the mattress, which he’s lifted.

Hey! I’m here, be careful! Stop whatever you’re doing. Woooooooaah I’m sent flying through the air, roll along the floor and come to rest in the corner of the room. 

The mattress followed by the cot, the bed itself are taken out of the room and outside, what is going on?

Whatever, I’m in the corner of the room and he has no idea that I’m here.

Hey You? Steeeephen,  your klutz.. I’m here. Here in the dark in the corner, under something. Come and pick me up. Please.

I give up. It’s been hours or maybe days I have no way of telling. How will he ever find me?

Hang on someone is coming. It’s not him, Stephen the careless. It’s a woman, not my Manjula.

Here, look this way!

She is scanning and has eagle eyes, finds me, picks me up, I’m up up and away… and puts me in a warm place.

Whatever next?”

Factly Note

My friend Brian, from the UK, and I bought Manjula’s engagement ring at a jewellers in Mysore. On that very day I asked Manjula to marry me. Thankfully she said yes. That was four years ago. We’d been together in one way and another for nine years until she died earlier this year. On the day she died, as part of the Hindu rituals, she was brought home and laid on her bed, that I’d placed outside the house for people to visit, show their love and do the necessary pooja.     

I have no idea if rings can appreciate whats happening to them.

The ring is now lost. I have no idea what happened to it. Maybe it was tucked away under the mattress and I lost it when I lifted the mattress then someone else found it, maybe it was taken in the chaos of that day when people were in and out of our house, I just don’t know. It’s not important now.

I’ll be posting ‘creative’ fiction and Manjula’s own actual story, a memoir, over the next few months on http://www.meandmycycle.com

Stephen

Mysore, July 2019

stephen.Farrell@flourish.co.uk 

 

 

 

Tanu

Tanu, no let’s get it right her full name is Tanuja Dasharath Haunsbhavi So what does that all mean? D…..is her fathers name and . H…… is their village name.

Here she’s with her husband Keerthi, who’s a film maker. They’ve just called round to pick up a Divan (single bed) for the accommodation she’s just opened for the yoga students that visit Mysore.

So who’s that cheekily, peeking out between them?

I first met Tanu when she was running the Green shop here in Mysore and sold me tea, juice, jams and wonderful elephant cups none of which I’m able to get anymore. I wonder why!? That’s also where Tanu and Manjula first met and which was to grow into a very significant relationship. So who is Tanu and what’s important to her in life?

Tanu reminds me of friends back in England. She has a strong and clear moral direction, is committed to changing society for the better and is a wonderful supportive insightful friend. Some mornings you’ll find her leading groups on nature trails at one of our main lakes here in Mysore. She seems to have fingers into many things. I’ll bump into her at the literary festival, see her selling products at pop-up shops, promoting organic, generally being a connector in our community.

Tanu became a sister to Manjula. Someone she’d call to get things off her chest, probably often about me…. often when I was away, Tanu would be a significant support to Manjula, at the end of the phone and often calling round. Tanu was there straight away to help me when Manjula died.

Now she is one of my most important supports as I deal with the grief and mourning from losing Manjula. She’s been fantastic. Recently becoming involved in our business together with our good friend Satish to take Manjula’s place as director.

A little bird told me of a recent conversation.

A group of Indian wives were discussing the belief amongst some that partners would be reunited when reincarnated. In Kannada it’s: Eelu Eelu janamaku neene nana Ganda/hendati yagabeeku OR for the next seven lives I want you to be my husband/wife

When one of them asked if Tanu would be happy be reunited with her husband she declared:

“Yes, of course but would he be happy to be reunited with me?”

I like this..

I’m up for it and look forward to meeting up with Manjula again, I just need to work out if there’s anything to do, to help it happen.