Little rituals

For almost 2 1/2 years I’ve received daily iPhone notifications —like the one below —reminding me to switch the water on and off. This is to pump water from the sump to the header tank and for the house to not run dry (a common system where we live). The messages were set up by Tom after we realised I needed a reminder. Without Manjula’s physical presence in the house it wouldn’t get done.

MAnjula collected coins in a make up bag. Each morning I take out ten rupees for my morning tea break while walking with Lucie. Thanks Manj.

Lucie waits patiently at the top of the stairs for me to go backwards and forwards getting ready to walk. At the last moment she peers in manjulas library as a reminder to check that I’ve bolted the balcony door.

I look in and smile at two of the many portraits of Manjula that fill the house.

Occasionally placing a T light in this wonderful engagement present brought all the way from Australia

A favourite photo, emergency escape and engagement present.

All pieces of the jigsaw of our life. The missing pieces’ essence is present in every one of them.

I’ve chosen to deal with my grief companion head-on. Others will do it differently. Who knows what’s the best way, our experiences are completely individual. The pain is there, whatever but I try to minimise the suffering.

Daily bittersweet tears

I share Manjula’s story wherever and whenever I can. In the dentists waiting room, even the treatment chair, during the morning tea break, handing out cards inviting people to appreciate our garden.

It’s important to me.

She probably thinks I’m ridiculous. 🤭

Last night was my second appearance at an open mic. MAnjula did get a mention (that’s the point) it was three intertwined love stories. But I ran out of time. The story of my life. If reincarnation and reconnecting souls is true, maybe I’ll have more time with Manjula’s sweet kind soul.

Three Princesses

and a Sun with a beard

Ritu brought her lovely painting of Manjula’s and Stephen’s home

with thanks to Desai Somesh, Rita’s dad who took the photographs.

Celebrating Manjula

With friends (where are the women?) photo album, portrait, garden and cut out board.

Thank you to Karan, Anjali and with help from Aaditya and other students at CAVA Art College.

Did you spot the two women? Our commemoration will continue and more will visit this week.

Happy Birthday Manjula

Today Manjula would have been 48 and it’s yet another reason to celebrate and thank her for the time we were together (we still are).

Manjula sent messages with her love and for me to know all is well on her soul’s journey to her new life. She’s most definitely not a ‘hungry ghost’.

Here’s a video message from my love. Previously we’ve also heard from her via messengers

Manjula captured my heart

We’ve done a few things that Manjula would like and maybe make her giggle. Like the remembering garden. we’ve just planted in the park opposite our house.

She’s left audio and video recordings which I’m using to help write our story. We’ll release some of the videos in 2022

So what’s a hungry ghost? One of the tales that will be featured in our story, to be published before we reach what would have been her 50th birthday.

How long will I love you?

My friend Zetta posted about a funeral today Where they played: How long will I love you? Sung by Ellie Goulding. So I listened to it

Today, before a small piano concert at a friends house here in Mysore I was introducing Manjula to a few more people.

Yes, I’ll introduce Manjula anywhere and everywhere. I was talking about the new garden we were creating to help celebrate her.

I explained that it’s over two years ago that she died, sometimes that feels a long time ago, others as if it was yesterday.

I know there is no limit to my unconditional everlasting love and liked the song.

How long will I love you?
As long as stars are above you
And longer if I can
How long will I need you?
As long as the seasons need to
Follow their plan

How long will I be with you?
As long as the sea is bound to
Wash up on the sand

How long will I want you?
As long as you want me to
And longer by far
How long will I hold you?
As long as your father told you
As long as you can

How long will I give to you?
As long as I live through you
However long you say

How long will I love you?
As long as stars are above you
And longer if I may

How long will I love you?
As long as stars are above you

Yes, it’s forever, in this life and any others. 🌞

I found her

Exactly two years ago I appealed for Cinderella.

Manjula had some beautiful shoes but her feet were so tiny finding someone they would fit was a real challenge.

Well I’ve found another Cinderella, or at least a lovely young woman who also has teeny feet.

It’s so fitting (ha ha) that the artist who has connected so well with MAnjula and now painted two beautiful portraits should be the one to take her shoes.

I’m so pleased to find this happy solution.

Farrell Factoid

It’s taken two years as most Indian women don’t have such teeny feet.

My feet are also quite small at six and a half, not that anyone has ever offered me small shoes. 🤭

one wasn’t enough

At Christmas I gave myself a wonderful gift

It was such a characterful portrait of beautiful Manjula. The enigmatic artist knows MAnjula, connected and found her spirit.

I just had to have another.

I may seem greedy but I just can’t get enough of MAnjula (you may have worked that out) and especially how Priyanka brings out many facets of my beautiful wife.

There’s even more significant detail to explore in this one.

P was guided by a photograph from shortly after we were engaged in 2015

Now where can I hang her?

getting back into the vibe

today was a day of contrasts

I’d gone into the city for one of the endless visits to the city corporation (more of that later) then diverted to buy flowers in the Market. These will traditionally float in water in the brass Urli bowl beneath Madam’s photo and garland to go the photos themselves in each of our two halls (aka lounge or living room).

In the city were so many local women in sari’s going about their business, it reminded me of Manjula and how she connected me to so many aspects of life here. It brought a tear to my eye, not that that’s unusual.

I’d passed the iconic Lansdown building that has now been waiting years for a decision of whether they will renovate or demolish and rebuild. There’s no prize for guessing which the politicians in cahoots with the developers would prefer and why.

Lansdown Building

Then the day began to turn.

Not the hotel, it’s another angle of the Lansdown building.

I went to a favourite ‘hotel’ (aka cafe) the Indra Paras, the owners son, manning the cash desk and the waiters all recognised and acknowledged me, creating a good feeling as I ate my Masala Dosa and Sev Dahi Potato Puri (crispy hollow puri balls, filled with a mix of crunchy, yoghurt, potato and a tinge of sweet) another favourite.

Then I squeezed past the guys selling clothing and material on the pavement and round the corner to the fruit salad, ice cream and traditional juices shop for my regular sarsaparilla and soda. Again the guys at the shop all asked how I’d been and wondered if I’d just come back. No I’ve been at home here in Mysore for two years, gifting me another warm vibe.

Then the usual, trying to find an auto with a working meter, after rejecting one and hanging about aimlessly by the roadside a guy hailed my as his friend stepped out from sharing the front bench seat. 

The driver knew me, and Vasanth, and had taken many of our guests back home to the BnB. He’s friend couldn’t quite place me.

“It’s the cycle man”

I’m nothing to do with this which, just happened to be there, and represents the usual Indian randomness

So I pulled down my mask and he remembered me from nine years before when Vinay and I had started the cycle tours and he knew of our base at the Palace Plaza Hotel. 

So a bittersweet mix, of missing Manjula and realising how she critically helped me adjust to my adopted city through re-connecting with people and sharing memories.

Next: More drinks to try are here