Simple ritual

I ordered a chai on Lucie and my first walk of the day.

The guy put sugar in the glass, carefully pouring onto it, hot milk. Then hot water in a steel ‘glass’

How’s that my chai?

He promptly threw the milk onto the ground followed by the water and thankfully just about missing Lucie.

I’m guessing it’s a first thing in the morning ritual. I can find out no more, at this stage, given my sophisticated knowledge (don’t ask) of the local Kannada language and the hotel owners grunts.

I did get my chai.

Another connection with the caribbean. In their case before you take a sip of your rum give a little to the ground.

It’s now back home to finish preparing breakfast for todays lovely guests Eli and James from England

The origin of origins

E P Thompson (English social historian) reckoned you could find examples of any thoughts, philosophies, beliefs, ways of organising that exists, here in India. It’s like it represents an open book on the world I agree and so much more is true.

Where do you think monty pythons ground breaking comedy came from? I’m forever re-visiting their skits…. nudge-nudge, wink-wink, (meeting with the FRRO), bicycle repair man by the roadside, haggling and ‘look on the bright side’ in ‘Life of Brian’ there is so much that

Manana, think it’s from Spain, south or Central America, then think again.

Catch 22, novel about Vietnam, or maybe the vagaries of Kafkaesque bureaucracy. It’s all here.

They all resonate with, yes you’ve guessed it. The consistently inconsistent mish mash, the wonderful yet infuriating India.

Should I be Retracing steps?

After meeting up with our mysore BnB family at WOMAD and knocking on a few of their doors I went camping.

I was apprehensive about revisiting the same places in Dorset where we’d had a family camp to celebrate Alice and Ben’s (eldest son) wedding and my 60th birthday during Manjula’s second U.K. holiday

I shouldn’t have been.

It proved to be a tonic.

I like Weymouth
Rachel and Simon of the lovely ‘hive’ cafe even remembered our visit five years ago.
Catching a ferry
Making new friends from Yorkshire
Who’s that bearded idiot?
Then back to Ruth’s in Bristol,

over to bee-man Stephen to drop our beautiful tent, return the fancy hire car and prepare to return home

In my experience, when grieving, we regularly get ambushed by memories of magical times together. They make me both happy and sad. I’ve learned not to run away but to face them, even create them, so it was ok to retrace my steps.

Thank you for joining my journey and your support.

Making different connections

Great things happen unexpectedly, just when you need them.

I’d just finished packing my bags, here in Vancouver, ready for the flight back to London, when Sharon — a friend of my son Oliver — came calling to say farewell.

What a wonderful surprise.

To be able to have an open conversation of the trials and tribulations of dealing with our lifelong unwanted friend yes….. grief

No one can ever know what it’s like for another but we’ve come pretty close.

It isn’t about ‘getting over it’ … both of us remember and celebrate — not only in our hearts — but also the physical reminders, the photos, the wonderfulness and the flotsam of souls grown together. We have both kept our original house and are surrounded by the loved one we fondly remember, deal with the difficult times, but also continue to laugh together.

A sustaining gift for my journey.

Thank you Sharon, a great new friend

It’s good to share, as I have done personally and online. As reflected in this article.

Canada Cares

Rubbish/litter bins with a shelf for recycling items which poor people collect and sell.

Drivers keep to the lane and stop for pedestrians at zebra crossings and side roads.

Saying sorry and carrying cycles on the front of buses.
Guests of Mysore Bed and Breakfast that welcome you into their home…. even after getting to know me.

Considerate Canadians helping out.

That’s nice.

Postscript

While I was out and preparing this posting someone came round (or maybe overnight) and stole Trixie, my new friend. So not all Canadians are good apples.

Trixie, and I’ve only just met her.

It’s a joke….

And the one’s I like are also serious.

A very good friend — who will remain nameless, until I get his permission — is responsible for this.

We met during the initial lockdown. We were still allowed to cycle, as I did most mornings. We had great conversations as we cycled together.

I joked that he was receiving a degree in critical thinking, in return I was losing years by the day, sharing insights and learning from someone over forty years younger.

At first he didn’t admit to his parents that he was cycling with a Firangi, a foreigner.

There were some sensitivities in the community as they were confused about where the virus might be caught. Obviously, Foreigners might have brought it into the country.

When he did tell his parents, I became known as Tata or grandfather.

Some weeks later we cycled on my favourite place srirangapatnam and met up with his extended family for breakfast. Great!

His mum declared later that I wasn’t a Tata, more an uncle.

Thanks Amma, I appreciate that, for me it is acceptance and that I’m younger than expected.

Later nameless reflected and decided that godfather was more appropriate. I like that too.

As I’ve now turned 65 — he says with a wobbly voice, while leaning on his stick — and finding new things to do in the community that commemorate MAnjula, it seems to fit.

Over the past few months you might have noticed a little girl. I’m trying to get her mum to let me to finance her education. Now that really is being a Godfather.

So I’ve used one of Kaveri’s paintings of me and created a card.

Nameless and Kaveri will be the first to get one of my super new jokey-serious cards to remind them I’m here for you.

On the back are details of how to make contact whenever you wish for whatever reason.

Yes I’ve obliterated some of the details. It’s not for everyone 🤭

Footnote: the term Godfather is not intended to reflect any diety or relate to any Christian rituals nor resemble anyone living, dead or in the afterlife.

Mysore traffic mayhem

It gets worse every day

The bad behaviour becomes more apparent as the traffic increases., that will get worse as we become more ‘developed’.

Why?

Where to start…

The chaos at junctions when the lights turn green, as many are in the wrong lanes and there are more lanes than the markings indicate. The erratic driving which is not always because they’ve poor driving skills, most drivers are on the phone, but it’s not smart….

The lack of awareness and perennial indifference carry some of the blame, but it begins early on at the driving school and how people get their licence is a wonder to behold.

Many driving schools bring their learners through Siddarthanagar, our layout, for lessons, it’s unbelievable. I couldn’t even begin to tell you and I’ll leave my grumbles about what they’re taught to do with the horn, to the next posting.

Here’s examples that friends have told me about their tests.

An American friend had both a two wheeler (motorbike) and four wheeler (car) test on different days.

The examiner instructed him to drive up the road, round the roundabout and back to the start. He passed.

Next the examiner got in the car. Already an improvement. “Drive ahead, turn left , straight, turn right, stop.” My friend thought this was serious. “Stop here” The examiner got out of the car and entered a hotel (restaurant) leaving a few minutes later with ‘a parcel’ (takeaways) for the office. “Drive back to the RTO (office). You’ve passed.”

A neighbour’s daughter just paid the bribe, probably through a middle-man I’m not sure whether she’s actually driven to this day.

Another friend went to the new ‘automated’ track designed to put you through a series of situations and manoeuvres. The examiner gets in the car, you move forward, pay your bribe and you’re off. The examiner uses the (dual drive) pedals to ensure you brake properly and even helps you steer by lightly holding the steering wheel. Once again, it’s a pass.

If that wasn’t bad enough one proposal is to delegate the issuing of driving licences to the instructors. Really?

This Facebook posting following a column in the ‘Star of Mysore’ is what got me going. I’ve cycled, and ridden scooters, Enfield, van, Jeep and Manjula’s beautiful Ambassador on local roads.

The biggest challenge?

It’s a toss up between the ‘rash’ driving and constant pot holes, even on newly repaired roads it sometimes feels like you’re driving sideways.

Disintegrating Britain

One of Margaret Thatcher’s preferred tools was to scare us shitless by revealing a terrible plan. This enabled her to more easily get agreement to do something that seemed only half as bad.

Johnson has another favourite, from the Tory tool box.

He creates a cloud of confusion, like the airforce plane that throws out flack so the missile misses its target, he launches dead cats and kittens, custard pie distractions to keep the pressure up and to help him get through inane policies that help the very few that already ‘have’. The opposition misses its target and the general population is worn down, losing the will to live.

The so-called ‘culture wars’ is part of this, the latest being the decimation of the Civil Service and destruction of effective governance.

What are they doing? Taking the piss. They (the govt/ruling party/oligarchy/elite) — delete as appropriate— seem to have become so comfortable and confident in their domination of the masses that they can’t be bothered to hide how they use their power with complete disregard for the impact on what in India they call the ‘common man.’ We get what we deserve and of course none of it is anything to do with Brexit, that con to help them keep their millions.. Thanks Marina for the entertainment as the titanic sinks.

Who’s taken them?

We have a pomegranate thief.

Just as they ripen on the branch someone comes and steals them.

We don’t believe anyone is taking them from our side of the wall or that it’s anyone that works here or relatives of the owner that live on the roof.

No strangers have entered our property. We do have CCTV.

They are however easily reachable from the neighbours path.

It’s a recurring theme. People help themselves to flowers from the public parks. We’ve challenged people with their discreet plastic bags filling them not least from Manjula’s memorial garden.

This morning, Sowbhaghya came across one of the workers in the park who accosted a little girl who was collecting flowers for Pooja. she shouldn’t.

A lesson for Kaveri to learn.