What helps

It’s so easy to fall into the quagmire pit of negativeness. Dwelling on the sadness of her last few weeks,the whipping stick of blame or the grief of how much I miss her. She is of course happily still with us in so many ways. I am so fortunate to have fond memories that I cherish and as the brain gets more befuddled I have lovely videos of Manjula talking to me and you. I came across one yesterday on a posting about us both coming to terms with the changes. You can find it here with her lovely humour even at the most difficult of times. I love you Manjula

Who’s Tipu?

Tipu is of course the Sultan who’s capital was at Srirangipatnam, featured on our most popular cycle tour, our cycle tour guests know much of him and the links back to Europe and the USA. He’s a great example of how military leaders have a mixed reputation. He did some great things and some not so great.

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But how cool is this?

Jim and Riki, recent guests were at a presentation in Cambridge, UK recently by Ursula Sims-Williams (Lead Curator, Persian Collections, British Library). Check her blog for more info about Tipu… here and here

 

lethargy no more

I’ve committed to writing our story but it’s not quite happening. I live in India where nothing goes to plan and I’m English so used to orderliness and predictability; that combination alone, can be a mountain to climb. In my careers, I’ve been: initiator of projects, corporate trainer and now cycle tour guide. I sell ideas, pass on the passion, create change. I’m a storyteller in so many ways, so how hard can it be? Surely, it’s just an extension of what I already do?

 

Yet, I’ve hit the writer’s fortified wall surrounded by an impassable moat. In the mix of emotions and challenges is the usual insecurity; the lack of direction; uncertainty about my ability to write the story; the grief itself and my remorse from a whole series of what-ifs leading to a mountain of regret.

 

I’ve read novels, guides about writing, famous memoirs which seem to go through the eyes, get mashed in the brain and somehow leave my body with only the slightest lasting impression. As part of this learning and the need for tangible experience, I’ve written a handful of short fictional stories and then invited what feels like a mangling through the raw roasting of an editor.That may have set me back.

 

As a consequence, the outlook for our story does not look good. 

 

I’ve now joined Skillshare for online training to help provide insights, direction and instil routine. I’m living in hope.

 

Since her unaccepted death I know I spend too much time fretting on what went wrong and the mistakes I’ve made.

 

To help create the story there is material from Manjula’s audio recordings in her own language, video recordings in English and interviews with friends. It’s now all down to me, the failing husband.

 

I feel I’ve let her down yet she always lifts me up. There’s a clue to what will get me out of the self-pitying, self-imposed, lethargic doldrums. 

 

The answer is my muse, my Manjula. 

 

Manjula over ten years has been our energiser. Everything was for her. Together we created a successful tourism business, a wonderful life, the envy of many of our guests. Manjula is the lettering through the English seaside rock. She is in anything and is everything; her pictures fill the house, the logo, the web site, our blog, every single aspect of my life in India is Manjula, her presence is within and around me. Her memory, my beautiful Manjula – will never be lost. I’ve found joy, wit, love and happiness and it continues. It’s Manjula who will help me to reach through the dirty, dusty, murky curtain, past the most difficult times, to that whole collection of memories that make up our life and that will lift me from the pits and motivate the telling of our story. 

 

Happy Diwali Manjula, I love you.

My beautiful star, ruled my world.

……

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there’s nothing more to tell you

You light the skies, up above me

A star, so bright, you blind me, yeah

Don’t close your eyes

Don’t fade away, don’t fade away, oh

Yeah, you and me, we can ride on a star

If you stay with me, girl

We can rule the world

Yeah, you and me, we can light up the sky

If you stay by my side

We can rule the world

If walls break down, I will comfort you

If angels cry, oh I’ll be there for you

You’ve saved my soul

Don’t leave me now, don’t leave me now, oh

Yeah, you and me, we can ride on a star

If you stay with me, girl

We can rule the world

Yeah, you and me, we can light up the sky

If you stay by my side

We can rule the world

Oh, all the stars are coming out tonight

They’re lighting up the sky tonight

For you, for you

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Manjula’s even got me into ‘Take That’ from the Stardust Movie.

months pass

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Manjula peeking, its been seven months now.

Why are my videos upside down? Is somebody trying to tell me something?

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at least the photos are the right way up

more for our story

 

The day could have started better. Gathering extra information for our story is not proving easy

Sumukh and I had gone to see Lakshmi to interview her for more insights into Manjula’s life around the time she first came to work for me. We found out some stuff but she could have been more cooperative. There seems to be some block which I don’t understand. Maybe it becomes part of the story.

In the past week Sumukh was due to meet Manjula’s brother for an interview and that was called off. It might be the usual Mysore experience where nothing quite goes to plan or are there other reasons.

I’ll bring Indian team members together to get a perspective on this.

 

The other neighbours seems more friendly and were engrossed with our photo albums. I wonder what do they really think about poor Manjula marrying what they will see as a the rich foreigner.

Next, was much better

A social occasion with an added purpose, to meet Vidya and her new baby Vishnu. The Grandmother: Sudha is probably Manjula’s closest friend, a witness at our wedding and hopefully a great source of information for our story.  We brought sweets, crunchy snack things and silver bangles for Vishnu. Satish and I had a wonderful lunch.

Sumukh, will hopefully interview her, in the next few days.