Manjula gives masks

mask mask mask mask no shortage of them at Mysore Bed and Breakfast

As part of remembering Manjula: Vasanth and Satish distributes mycycle masks and small monetary gift to each of our team of drivers.
Our big thanks to Ina seen here on the right at Manjula’s birthday party. Ina sent money to help drivers.
Babu
We love logo as it’s part of celebrating Manjula.
Anjum
Lokesh
Non branded supplies from Vasanth.
Shafi
Akram

Feeding Manjula

First…. A little faffing, as we prepare to remember her preciousness.
Sowbaghya has prepared a full on meal for Manjula.
Some of her old and new clothing is laid out, in case she needs it, I forgot to ask what the money is for.
The chain around her neck and gold ‘coins’ form the Mangal Sutra which she wears to show she’s married
There’s always flowers and now my and Punith’s drawing of Manjula is also found everywhere.
We forgot the lamps, Manjula wouldn’t be at all surprised. Too many men involved and that useless Yindian. Thankfully SB quickly rescued the situation.
Sensible woman with fire.
Insensible Yindian playing with fire 1
Playing with fire 2
It’s the time of year when we especially connect to those like Manjula who slipped through our fingers. we do Pooja at home and some at the Kaveri riverside where I immersed Manjula’s ashes.
We stepped outside while Manjula came to get her fill. Then washed our hands and knocked on the door to warn her we were coming back inside.
Only then were we allowed to eat.

This annual Hindu event known in Mexico as the ‘day of the dead’ but of course, quite different, is known as Mahalaya Amavasya. We remember our loved ones and provide help and support for their journey to the next place. In our case to Manjula’s reincarnation.

Thank you to Sowbaghya, Satish and Vasanth for your loving kindness to Manjula. You made it very special.

Manjula and her good friend Ina have shared gifts of money and mycycle masks with each of our eight drivers who are finding it hard with very little business in these virus times.

The big guy

Each year we’d buy a terracotta Ganesh, place him in our Pooja room with the appropriate rituals with lots of food (he’s a hungry god).

Sowbhaghya after preparing himself. The small Ganesh in the middle of the yellow flowers is the one we’ll take to the river.
Typical Indian male with giant belly. Says the Yindian breathing in!
The bigger version of Lord Ganesh lives here. I bought him cheap as a left over from the festival years ago.
We’d usually buy him from the potter’s street

After the stipulated number of days he’d be taken and immersed in the Kaveri river near Srirangaptnam.

Last year there was no ceremony as it was within the first year since madam departed. This year it was more subdued.
Satish did the honours.
While they attempted to drown a girl next door.
And I finished the job, immersing him three times and releasing him into the river.
Manjula was with us and
Lucie was tolerant
The remaining gods were driven back home.

Expect the unexpected

Nothing ever seems to go to plan in India……

to help commemorate Manjulasness on her birthday we’d invited a few friends to celebrate in the park opposite where we’ve placed three benches.

But two days before, this happened…..

There’s now the beginnings of a new path. We’ll just about manage if it doesn’t rain and create a river of mud.

when we meet

When we dogs meet each other for the first time, with a sniff in the air (or if daring, up the bum) a wave of the tail a look in the eye we quickly decide: is the newcomer above, below or equal to me?

We signal by the tail. If they are lower in status the tail tucks in between the legs and they physically cower.

People often, psychologically and socially do the same.

After an initial look, a few questions, key words they evaluate the other.

Are they on the same level? If so, they’ll behave adult to adult,

Or are they so different in terms of age, caste, colour, race or religion? If they perceive one above the other they’ll behave like parent and child. If they’re uncertain there maybe a tussle to work out their relative positions.

People do this, often and everywhere.

It may help them feel superior or inferior uncomfortable or comfortable, accepted, rejected. It helps define who we think we are and how we relate to others. It’s common and often involves games to clarify, communicate and impose. I’ve adapted this from transactional analysis as featured in the book: “Games People Play’.

Yes, some dogs can read, but don’t tell anyone.

All societies do it, to varying degrees but ultimately in my view can often reinforce status, encourage elitism and highlight difference. It leads to unacceptable behaviours, social distance and it’s not very nice.

from Lucie’s soap box

Otherwise

Other and wise

There’s so many examples of the negativeness of the ‘other’ in society and politics.

Before the time of virus, people would cross the road to avoid walking by my black dog Lucie. It’s a cross-cultural fear.

Now in the time of virus they’re as likely to walk across the road because of me.

Recently, I was cycling on a local road busy with people doing their early morning exercise walk. A woman on the opposite side of the wide road lifts her Sari to cover her mouth on seeing me, a white foreigner. The Indians walking next to her had not been seen as a risk.

She didn’t know better but at the very least, it’s annoying.

The negative other.

Later that day three young children, sitting astride a wall laughing, smiling giggling, waving to me, a wonderful hello.

Shortly afterwards a man pushing a cycle gave a smile and wave.

The positive other

This took me back fifteen years to my first visit.

I came to India and christened it the land of a billion smiles and then I fell in love with and married Manjula, a woman with a billion smiles.

We find what we look for….

Now Manjula is my guru

I spread her smile with a friendly wave.

We might however at this ‘time of virus’ need to look a little closer to spot the smiling eyes shining above the face mask .

This was my story at today’s meeting of the Mysore Storytelling Network. A great new group for me of mostly young things. 🙂🙃😉