a new leaf

as we approached the second anniversary of losing Manjula I took myself on one side and had a chat.

I will always have grief gravy to deal with, hopefully the flood that’s now a river, becomes a stream and in time a puddle. As part of that there is a shift towards pushing aside more of the upset and blame, allowing more space to remember the positives and her joyfulness.

The latest sign in response to that positiveness was three examples of people contacting me who might help create the garden, do interviews for ‘our story’ and help reach our story to more people. How cool is that? It’s another sign.

Another is our flag.

Out the front of our house its flapping to show, the Union Jack representing me, with the sun rising to provide a beacon of kindness, that’s Manjula and a crown because she’s a queen.

Here’s this weeks postings, if you missed them:

In planning for this anniversary we sponsor meals at the old people’s home

Manjula’s Anniversary Continuing, lunch and pooja to celebrate and help her soul find its new home, if she’s not already there, who else gets fed?

Kind friends sent messages, called round and shared poems here and here

There was an earlier sign

The anniversary reminded me of facing one of the most difficult decisions in my life which should not have arisen. Another example of me stumbling through life

happier times

Bursting

We’re bursting at the seams. Wherever you turn there’s evidence.

We now have plants in the drive out the front, inside and outside the gate, down both sides of the house, in the back yard and on the mid level roof. There’s hundreds of them. We plan to create a small garden in the park this year so that will use half the plants. Let’s hope the mosquitoes will go with them.

Most Indian houses have little if any art. It’s an unnecessary (not) expense and very middle class. As I arrived with the latest offering MAnjula would complain that there was too much art and not room for anymore. Wrong!

Our latest addition

An appliqué banner, created by the multi-talented Jacqui using Manjula’s clothing has just arrived from England and is now by our main door.

An earlier addition was this beautiful portrait.

There’s always room for art.

Next Manjula would joke about there being too many books, and how we should open a library.

So here it is…. Manjula’s library… available for local friends and our guests. (Yes they’re also friends.)

and that’s carefully avoiding mentioning anyone who’s bursting at the seams.

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.

Implant

I had my vaccination a week ago and my fauci mycrosoft implant doesn’t seem to be working.

As I get older and more confused I’ve decided I need one so my sons in London and Vancouver can keep track.

Had it inserted into my bone today and the false tooth will be in place soon. This African model includes a microphone as well as the tracking device.

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.