Manjula’s Kind

MAnjula embraced everything and everyone.

She experienced unkindness throughout her life, yet always and especially in the last nine years was the most kind.

MAnjula continues to give

Kulfi for the cleaners. They used to work on our street, knew us and would stop for water, chai and chat (that’s talking not snacks).

Our fine house was a place of support and conversation for women and not just our guests. Manjula’s networks. We’ve continued to support our drivers and they’ve joined the Manjula Mask Movement.

Vasanth and Satish modelling our mycycle masks but the big favourite is …
the one where Manjula seems to be sniggering and who years before the pandemic was telling us to mask-up, modelled by Rakesh aka Peter Pan
And masks have been donated for the vaccinators for when they finish work.
Many cycles have been gifted here for Sowbhaghya’s son Naveen.

I still am

relying on and remembering Manjula’s kindness

Another poem

My good friend Brian, who has a cameo appearance in my short story ‘looking for a home’ also sent a kind thoughtful poem on Manjula’s second death anniversary.

“remember

we rediscover

step by step

the world you showed me

and remember my hand

is in your hand still

and remember my body

is the hammock of your presence

think of this—love ends 

where the void begins

and we pierce the void together.”

Michele Najlis

From the poem A Fernando

Manjula Memory

On this second anniversary of Manjula slipping away to continue her journey, friends have continued their Kind support.

This from a thoughtful friend in Mumbai 

Through the doors in your eyes

I formed my sweet little home

When you left

This life became homeless

The shade of your tresses

Is now not in my destiny

The melody of your dainty feet

Is now not in my destiny

The echo of your laughter

Is no longer here

The fragrance of your aura

Is no longer here

When I think about you

Your thoughts are all that remain in this life

Your memory is what makes me complete the cycle of

Each breath. Each moment. Each day.

You just floated away

Leaving me at the crossroads of life

I remain there stranded

Longing for your return

Neither did you know

Nor did I

That this was all the time that we could get together

In this lifetime

May you be happy in your new world

That is my only wish

With the hope that one day

I will join you once again

In your loving embrace

With you, hand in hand

In that new world.

from Amargani

Thank you, Stephen

and in its original form in Hindi

तेरे नैनों के द्वार से

मुझे एक आशियाना मिला था

तू जब चली गयी

ये ज़िंदगानी बेगानी सी हो गयी

तेरे झुल्फों की चाऊँ

मेरे नसीब में अब नहीं

तेरे चंचल पाऊँ की आहट

अब मेरे नसीब में नहीं

तेरे हँसी की छाया

अब इधर तोह नहीं

तेरे पवन की ख़ुश्बू

अब इधर तो नहीं

तेरी जब याद आये

इस बाकि के ज़िंदगानी में

बस याद तेरी मुझे पार कराये

हर पल। हर सांस। हर दिन

तू जो चल पड़ी

चौराहे पे मुझ को छोड़ कर

मैं बस खड़ा रह गया

तेरी राह देख कर

ना तूने जाना ना मैंने

बस इतना ही साथ था हमारा

इस संसार में

तू खुश रहे अपनी नयी दुनिया में

मेरी बस ये एक तमन्ना है

पर आशा यह है की

मैं फिर से सेहलाऊँगा

तुम्हारी बाहों में

तुम्हारे साथ, हाथ में हाथ

उस नयी दुनिया में

MAnjula anniversary continuing

Sowbaghya did a wonderful job helping us remember MAnjula with assistance from Satish and Tanuja and guests, all friends of MAnjula.

Finally providing food on the roof for the crows who just might be Manjula’s soul looking for food on her journey to finding a new body.

We need to cover all bases, in case she hadn’t found a new home, as yet.

Anniversary

Remembering MAnjula who continues giving.

Sowbaghya and I visited the home for elders to sponsor their meals on the 23rd March on the anniversary of Manjula’s soul flying away.

It was a hoot. SB and I misplaced each other before arriving. Then there was the checking Aadhaar (ID) cards, completing the receipt, and at the last moment remembering to write to confirm it was in Manjula’s remembrance.

The guys remembered and others joined in recalling me cycling in the grounds with the giant picture of MAnjula, a year ago on the anniversary of her death.

I promised to return for her birthday in August. We all laughed and joked, very entertaining but I wonder what they really think.

Sowbaghya is preparing for today’s memories of Manjula.

writing our story

is proving to be quite a challenge, partly as there is a

“paradox at the heart of the enterprise, the inevitable tension between the distance required for apprehension — for a perspective to emerge in which events can find their proper place — and the pressured immediacy of vivid narrative.” from The Art of Time in Memoir by Sven Birkets.

It’s telling a story when the trauma, the wound of: Manjula’s death, the circumstances leading up to it, the wider context and my powerlessness to act on what was happening is still very much with me and therefore makes it harsh and tender by turns. It’s necessary but hard, so the telling of the tale doesn’t progress at a speed or in ways that I’d like..

It’s about knowing when to focus-in the lens and when to pull back, with both “experience tasted and experience digested.”

In addition, I’m having to write in proper English with the handicap that I’m from Yorkshire.

Manjula, still with me, gently sighs, as she’s seen it all before.