Virus 3

Curfew

we had one for a day yesterday then made some noise to recognise the people who are invaluable in providing support

we’re now entering a proper period of isolation

gora (aka whitey)

I’ve now had one or two incidents of looks, avoidance and neighbour calling the kids in as Lucie and I walked past. We’ll give the benefit of the doubt and assume they were worried by the dog. They’ve known us over nine years. Another example of how easy it is to polarise and create distance from the ‘other.’

of course the fact is that the risk of getting the virus here is mainly from returning Indians, the holidaying foreigners have mostly gone. A whiteness label helps feed prejudice

Manjula’s death anniversary  

most ideas have been deferred to August when we’ll celebrate her birth and life

today I’m cycling around Mysore with her and keeping a safe distance from anyone

being careful 

I’m  washing my hands carefully. This is according to Manjula’s high standards: lather the soap, Thoroughtly wash backs, fronts, between fingers, nails, wrists, up arms. A MAnjula finishing touch was to rinse the tap Before turning it off. She did this religiously over our nine years together  

My problem is, first thing after my hand wash I write my daily pages my creative journal thing but I get the pages wet and the ink runs.

Why?

My bracelets are wet through.

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What should I do?

stop being a wus

i think we can see that on the scale of things (fingers crossed) that I’m managing this virus thing quite easily. Not that it hasn’t been an awful year because of losing my love and if MAnjula was here with her condition I’d be the proverbial Panicking worrying headless chicken.

It brings home to me how fortunate I am and how people around the world living from hand to mouth already have such hard times which are exacerbated in these terrible circumstances.

Manjula

we remember our majesty, her specialness, her smile, her love, her everthingness on this the anniversary of her death.

we love you Manjula and feel your warmth as you’re always with us.

Stephen and Lucie

later …… I’m back home now. That wonderful woman has followed me all over Mysore including visiting the ashram where we regularly sponsor the meals. We’ve kept our Distance so as not to put ourselves or anyone else at risk. Manjula was introduced to neighbours she already knew and many more during our journey. There’s no doubt they all know we were married. We creating many smiles and we’re applauded everywhere we went. I’ve lost count of the thumbs up. Today her anniversary, was the day after the curfew and tomorrow there’s a full on lock-down, seems appropriate some how. Thanks for your thoughts and support.
Stephen 

Bushwacked

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Lucie let out an almighty sigh as I was writing this.. maybe she also gets bushwhacked.

Joan Didion, in her wonderful book: ‘The Year of Magical Thinking’ about her husband’s death would talk about entering the vortex. The unexpected ambush when reliving a previous moment from your life with your loved one.

I think of it as a bushwhack. Mostly unexpected, a memory resurfaces often with a visual trigger. Today it was seeing this…

Manjula’s signature on an application for a PAN (taxation) card from 2015. Shortly after her diagnosis and our engagement.

It happens all the time and often with bubbling tears.

Its also significant as it’s all she could write. 

Remembering.

 

It’s an important day as the Poojari  has read the stars, consulted who knows who and what to issue a hand written decree that today (12th March)  is actually Manjula’s death anniversary and not the 23rd as we mere mortals might have assumed. I was on duty this morning making breakfast for two sets of guests one from Belgium and the other from Canada had gelled wonderfully on yesterday’s cycle tours.
After breakfast the real work began preparing lunch for our immediate team and special guest Kanchana.

A BIG thank you to SB for everything, Satish was project manager and his wife on cooking duty. Good to see Vasanth and his wife

Pooja for Manjula was completed by one o’clock then we all went outside and closed the door for Manjula to come and tuck in.

should we allow five or ten minutes? I reckoned ten as she was a slow eater. We then knocked on the door to warn her and reentered. One more turn with flames. I’d forgotten to count and so might have done extra. MAnjula wouldn’t have expected anything different.

then we were allowed to eat. Quite unusually in our house. Men first on the floor, women, the sophisticates, at the table. They clearly had planned to feed the five thousand so a fair amount was distributed to the poor. Of course we’d also sponsored food at the ashram for the elderly residents as we, Tom and Amy have done numerous times.


To engage the neighbours I placed little signs by the benches and a life size photo of MAnjula out the front of the house.

Lucie got tired just being Lucie. It’s fair to say she was overcome by the emotion of it all. She’s clearly in tune.

as are the water Lilly and today’s innovation the memory tree.

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Manjula, our star, we miss and love you, sometimes it’s too much to bear but we have lots of wonderful memories to help us through.

roaring mouse

 

There was a quiet mouse who came to check whether it was worth the risk working for a strange foreign man. Thankfully she agreed to give me a chance. That was ten years ago. It’s not always been easy partly because of her illness and dealing with life in India but this small bundle of beauty, of strength, of fun…. changed my life. For that I’m eternally grateful. We had a wonderful life together.

Today is the anniversary of celebrating our weddings two years ago, in a field on Srirangaptnam Island. Please follow the links to find out more.

getting ready

our real wedding

the other one

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Get off me……..

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As we approach the anniversary of Manjula slipping through my fingers and leaving for her next life, I’ll post a mix or memories and reminiscences and continue to share with you what a wonderful strong, caring woman we’ve lost.