getting back into the vibe

today was a day of contrasts

I’d gone into the city for one of the endless visits to the city corporation (more of that later) then diverted to buy flowers in the Market. These will traditionally float in water in the brass Urli bowl beneath Madam’s photo and garland to go the photos themselves in each of our two halls (aka lounge or living room).

In the city were so many local women in sari’s going about their business, it reminded me of Manjula and how she connected me to so many aspects of life here. It brought a tear to my eye, not that that’s unusual.

I’d passed the iconic Lansdown building that has now been waiting years for a decision of whether they will renovate or demolish and rebuild. There’s no prize for guessing which the politicians in cahoots with the developers would prefer and why.

Lansdown Building

Then the day began to turn.

Not the hotel, it’s another angle of the Lansdown building.

I went to a favourite ‘hotel’ (aka cafe) the Indra Paras, the owners son, manning the cash desk and the waiters all recognised and acknowledged me, creating a good feeling as I ate my Masala Dosa and Sev Dahi Potato Puri (crispy hollow puri balls, filled with a mix of crunchy, yoghurt, potato and a tinge of sweet) another favourite.

Then I squeezed past the guys selling clothing and material on the pavement and round the corner to the fruit salad, ice cream and traditional juices shop for my regular sarsaparilla and soda. Again the guys at the shop all asked how I’d been and wondered if I’d just come back. No I’ve been at home here in Mysore for two years, gifting me another warm vibe.

Then the usual, trying to find an auto with a working meter, after rejecting one and hanging about aimlessly by the roadside a guy hailed my as his friend stepped out from sharing the front bench seat. 

The driver knew me, and Vasanth, and had taken many of our guests back home to the BnB. He’s friend couldn’t quite place me.

“It’s the cycle man”

I’m nothing to do with this which, just happened to be there, and represents the usual Indian randomness

So I pulled down my mask and he remembered me from nine years before when Vinay and I had started the cycle tours and he knew of our base at the Palace Plaza Hotel. 

So a bittersweet mix, of missing Manjula and realising how she critically helped me adjust to my adopted city through re-connecting with people and sharing memories.

Next: More drinks to try are here

Manjula’s Messengers

Last night I completed chapter eight of our story Full Full (working title), of draft three (with many more to come) it was particularly difficult to work on, as it related the story of her last year. In some ways it also helped.

This morning I was outside our house, sitting on a stone slab bench, beneath our wonderful strong shading tree. I was waiting for my neighbour, for our morning cycle.

A friend came along

It was a messenger from Manjula to reveal she knew what I was doing, supported me and sent her love.

It’s a red eye butterfly.
It continued with me for over six kilometres, as I cycled
Another messenger from MAnjula

With critical timing.

On Facebook this MAnjula Memory popped up from our last visit to England four years ago.

I’ve had a few messengers now.

Equally impressive was the circling dragonfly and even pretty moths get in on the act.

Snakes and termites

On our MYcycle tour of srirangapatnam guests are intrigued by the termite hills converted into desirable ac accommodation.

There’s always signs of Pooja around the main hill we pass near the site of the fourth war of mysore.

This column from the ‘Star of Mysore’ explains more

Dogs looking like their owner!

I beg to differ.

Behaving like them now that’s another matter.

Lucie is increasingly impatient and frustrated while waiting for me to find my specs, mask, hat, her lead and then all jobs that meed to be done before we get out of the door onto a walk….. four times a day. I can feel her telepathic shouting AT LAST when we do eventually: ‘leave the premises.’

But I noticed today it’s catching. She stopped at the top of the stairs and before descending looked through the doorway into the library and then to me as if to say ‘have you checked the balcony door is closed?’

Just as Manjula would insist to stop the monkeys getting in.

More messages.

As we went for this afternoons walk a giant butterfly buzzed me the moment I left the main door.

I discretely followed it to try and take a photo but I could only get this silhouette before it flew away.

An hour later Lucie and returned home to it resting on the door knob. only to surprise me again and land on one of our windows.

From outside.

It has the scary images of two reflective eyes on its wings, it’s wing span is seven inches or more and now it’s gone.

It arrived a day after I had, once again, in exasperation called out to Manjula complaining that I couldn’t feel her presence or hear a message.

From inside

I’m happier now.

Tanuja tells me it’s a moth. So now we know messages come via Dragonflies, Butterflies and Moths.

We’ll keep you posted as more messengers are added to the list. 🙂🙃🤭😉🌞

Is there a problem?

Is there ever not a problem? But they’re always solvable in India.

This is the corporation office of the non removable assets, meaning where they exchange contracts for land, buildings etc.

In our case, we’re the immovable objects getting married.

These photos have just been found and shared by our good friend Tanuja.

I can’t remember what this was about probably just checking details before the critical point where we sign and are officially joined in matrimony.

The whole set up was confusing and it was difficult to know at what precise moment we actually got married. Maybe this was it.

Look out for the full story next year.

Coppafeel

Coppafeel

Manjula and I discovered this charity, that Kris set up, at WOMAD music festival, feeling one’s breast and checking for lumps wasn’t something she’d ever heard about.

To be truthful I was to discover that basic knowledge about healthy lifestyles and prevention was and is quite limited especially amongst the poorer communities.

I’ve just recalled a great example of this from one of Manjula’s tales l’ll include it in our story due out next year.

The sticker, all those years later is still at our front door for visitors to read.

we thought it was safe

Where’s it gone?

We were last here three weeks ago and now its completely disappeared.

The f**king house has gone?

What must the parents think?

It’s all my fault.

I’m gutted. 

I wonder if a Bul Bul wonders and imagines.

Whatever I’m sorry.

For some ridiculous reason I thought once they’d used it and as the fledgling had fledged that was it, so I cleared the nest away, to help the gardener access the palm.

But no, Tanuja tells me they might have a second family in the same season and its true.

They’ve now had to build another and this time there are two eggs.

It is a safe place, I promise and I am so pleased that they’ve now returned, Manjula loved it each time they reappeared.

Sorry guys, it was the idiot Englishman. 

the guard dog will stop it happening again

the last time, just a few weeks ago, just one egg

last update

Sharing Shrines

our Hindu house has a Pooja room, set up by MAnjula it’s still used for certain festivals. Other households would use it everyday. Our next festival is likely to be for the big rotund guy, my favourite: Ganesh.

No two houses are the same which might be due to the specific Gods, they worship, their caste or maybe just because India is incredibly consistently inconsistent.

In memory of MAnjula as with many households a photo, is placed in the hall (lounge/living room) when people die. For the first year we’d place flowers around her every month, with a special Pooja on her annual death anniversary. This all part of a series of rituals to help her soul spirit find another body and be reincarnated into her next life.

Tanuja at Manjula’s second death anniversary.

In our house there’s a main photo of MAnjula in each of our two lounges. Fact is there are photos of her everywhere. My son thinks The whole house is becoming a shrine.

Sowbaghya who did all the preparation, cooking, decoration for each of Manjula’s death anniversaries.

Now after two years I’ve decorated her like a Christmas tree with lights all around her.

Sometimes she’ll get a little extra treatment with red or yellow dots and we’ll do a little Pooja. It’s essentially a prayer with a request to god.

We’re flexi here.

Her pic is also found on the tree out the front of our house, T-shirt’s and masks her no 1 place is in my heart.

For me it’s especially important to acknowledge our being together and celebrate Manjula as many didn’t know about our relationship.

Why?

That will feature in our story.