Ina

Ina leaves … The premises and now I’m sad.

Ina from Adelaide was Manjula’s closest friend., amongst our guests

It was as if there was an essence of MAnjula wafting back here with me, as she regaled me with the stories of the times they’d spent together. More dimensions of my wonderful were revealed.

They’d sometimes, maybe usually arrange for Ina to visit when I was away.

I can’t think why.

After first visiting in 2014 she was back in 2015, shortly after we got engaged and then each year with breaks solely due to the pandemic.

In 2018 we had a great time (yes I was allowed to be here) celebrating Manjula’s 45th birthday, also hosting our first ‘ workawayer ‘ Willian from Brazil.

During this visit which lasted two months! The longest ever. 👍🏽🤔🤭🙂

We went to a traditional dance to share with MAnjula. Then made a special celebration of Manjula’s Birthday as Ina had missed our big event in August on her birthday itself.

Helped out with the kittens

Led Lucie astray.

… revisited places on Srirangaptnam close to MAnjula and I, that had featured in our wedding.

Ina together with reading ‘a pocketful of happiness’ by Richard E Grant has helped me realise — as oddball in Kelly’s Heroes would say: “less of those negative waves man,” —- that I’ve allowed the grief gravy to engulf me leaving angry bitter negativeness in its forever trail.

So I’m going to sort it and get myself back on track to rewrite our story with one or two innovative tweaks.

Ina’s farewell note:

Stephen having Manjula in my life was one of the best things that happened to me, I still think of her a lot and she continues to be a great inspiration.

Tears again

Thoughtful as ever. She even finds time to wash and leave behind clothes as bedding for the kits.

It’s that day of the year …

… when the warriors ask the gods to bless their weapons

In our case the scooter, Enfield and Ambassador

Carefully washed beforehand, so that’s at least once a year.

Sb came in to work so we had a professional on the job.
Lucie couldn’t see what all the fuss was about.
Lovely guests left, to return to Bangalore

In the midst of the puja, horned beasts invaded, we have no weapons and in any case they are goddesses . So we peacefully asked them to move along.

On completing the puja, my role was to ride each vehicle to squash the limes, the goddesses returned to eat the offerings.

All the local traders (Hindus anyway) and neighbours got in on the act.

All under the watchful eye of Manjula’s representative.
And a wonky Ganesha

Feeding her spirit

On Manjula’s death anniversary in March and at this time of year we especially remember MAnjula and feed her spirit. Others will remember their own relatives.

It’s the equivalent of All Hallows’ or the Mexican Day of the Dead. Here’s a bit about the Hindu version.

Close friends who could fit it in amongst their own rituals helped by preparing food and joining the puja.

Vasanth and his family and Satish together with Sowbaghya made all the preparations: the food and puja.

We were also entertained by Manjula’s videos.

Then waited outside to give her time and space to enter the house and feed.

Making plenty of noise as we re-entered so she could quietly retreat.

Only then could we eat with our Special guests Ina, Rhadika and Kaveri.

Then it was time to relax and remember, sharing Manjula’s trademark happiness.

Why I’m so lucky

I first shared ‘why?, in a posting in 2015

I’ve just rediscovered and want to share a recording that Manjula made that year. It’s quite long but you’ll get the gist pretty quickly.

I’ve had difficulties uploading it so please follow the link to see the video, it’s one of the best

I share this gift from Manjula — as a follow up to Why? — as we approach what would have been her 49th birthday. On her birthday itself we hope to make a few other friends. Please check back to find out what happens.

In the meantime, if you’re interested, there’s more of our story here.

Should I be Retracing steps?

After meeting up with our mysore BnB family at WOMAD and knocking on a few of their doors I went camping.

I was apprehensive about revisiting the same places in Dorset where we’d had a family camp to celebrate Alice and Ben’s (eldest son) wedding and my 60th birthday during Manjula’s second U.K. holiday

I shouldn’t have been.

It proved to be a tonic.

I like Weymouth
Rachel and Simon of the lovely ‘hive’ cafe even remembered our visit five years ago.
Catching a ferry
Making new friends from Yorkshire
Who’s that bearded idiot?
Then back to Ruth’s in Bristol,

over to bee-man Stephen to drop our beautiful tent, return the fancy hire car and prepare to return home

In my experience, when grieving, we regularly get ambushed by memories of magical times together. They make me both happy and sad. I’ve learned not to run away but to face them, even create them, so it was ok to retrace my steps.

Thank you for joining my journey and your support.

Durdle Dor in Dorset England

A wonderful place to visit in south of England.

I’ve been here before with ‘you know who’.

This time it’s not raining

There are always one or two other people but not on the scale of India

While sitting in a cave reminding me of my teenage trip Crete and Joni Mitchell but it’s the family camping visit here to commemorate my eldest son’s wedding and my 60th birthday and with my beautiful wife-to-be makes me happiest.

It was our second big trip together in the U.K.

Baby Dor

above all adding to my magical memories of time spent with my MAnjula

How lucky am I?

Obviously, I am so grateful because MAnjula and I found each other,.

But as highlighted in one of Oliver Jeffers wonderful books a little girl, in my case two help bring light and joy.

It’s my granddaughter Poppy who lives in London and my ‘adopted’ granddaughter Kaveri who lives in Mysore.

and how fab, that they are both into cycling.

Not forgetting my Lucie

Eleven plus an Englishman and a dog go mad in Kerala

On MAnjula’s death anniversary, we came up with a great idea to celebrate her— even more — by going on holiday to one of her favourite places.

It may provide material for an Enid Blyton story

Kannur is where Manjula and I first went on holiday together after our engagement in 2015.

Maybe we’ll find treasure, or at least get wet.

It’ll be a great adventure with MAnjula giggling from the antics of the loosely formed team.

It’s a challenge, anywhere, to bring together fragments of four families with two additions of an Englishman and his dog but this is India. It’ll be OK.

Thankfully we’ll not be cycling.

It’s a great way to thank Sowbaghya, Tanuja and Satish for the help they’ve been in so many ways, including setting up the new business.

It’s also an opportunity to spend fun time with Kaveri and her young auntie Rhadika.

That’s Rhadika dressed up for ethnic day in the midst of her exams.

We’ve got the go ahead from Kaveri’s mum, Satish has worked it out with the school and Jo will definitely have completed her term.

So we’re good to go…

Wonderful

So which amazing place is going to host this motley crew?