Old times

“Returned to the creek, and life became busy and expectant, and the valley echoed with the sounds of bridge-building and a young woman’s laughter, and Marvellous was suddenly wrenched out of old age like a seed potato wrenched out of the familiar comfort of dark.  ….. And Marvellous blossomed, having quite forgotten what an exciting and necessary jolt being needed gave.”

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from a Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman. What a wonderful way with words she has.
It resonates.

A woman’s lot in life

I’m at an international airport to check in for a flight, I then go to passport control and finally through security. ALL the employees are women and all the security staff are muslim women.

At a different airport almost all the employees are men.

There’s quite a different atmosphere and vibe between the two.

The former was Phuket Airport in Thailand, the latter Bangalore in South India.

This difference was also reflected in my day to day experiences: most of the people serving in shops, at restaurants, hotels and their local equivalent of the auto rickshaw (a two wheeler with a walk-in side car for passengers) in Thailand were women.

I most often meet working women in Mysore in India in the banks and my accountants office, otherwise it’s almost exclusively men. Women’s presence is at home, in the office and behind the scenes.

While I’ve been away there’s been another shocking rape in India. But this is not the way to deal with it……

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as summarised in this article

It will not solve the problem and exacerbate the situation with more macho male culture…

this will also NOT solve the problem

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The attitude and dominance of men and their way of doing things, society’s patriarchy and women’s inequality is at the core of this. Equality and acceptance of diversity in terms of gender, race, religion, sexuality, class and caste is the only way forward.

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.