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?

The days after, three years ago

Doing my duty…

When one suffers such loss that forms a trauma and it’s aftermath, it’s an extra challenge to focus on the positive.

It’s especially difficult at anniversary time. There’s a preoccupation with the loss, the guilt, a blaming.

In this month there’s also helpful reminders of good, our wedding ceremonies.

Some might wonder why I follow so ‘religiously’ the traditions. It’s simply my love and devotion for MAnjula.

I always tried my best to do what she wanted
And she was bossy

The day afterwards brings out memories of when she was laid to rest on her bed, outside our house with the tell tale symbols of the smouldering wood informing the neighbourhood what was happening. Next we’d go to the industrial shed-oven aka crematorium and before that a puja by the side led by Manjula’s brother.

A kindly neighbour brought Bhagavad Gita to help emphasise our duty not to become too attached to our loved ones and to help their soul spirit move onto another body.

Here’s me doing precisely that…..

Do follow the link and check the video at the end where I’m at one of the most significant places on Srirangaptnam; visited on every cycle tour over the past ten years.

I was so lucky

The evening before

Smileys appear on our street.

I’m reminded of how I’d felt the need to protect my broken heart — like this one in a bottle — while looking around me at the images of my beautiful MAnjula which trigger happy joyful memories of our wonderful but short time together.

Tomorrow we’ll share a meal with MAnjula and a few close friends.

This week

March is a month of significant memories.

It began with our wedding at the city corporation, followed a few days later with a celebration on Srirangaptnam.

Two years running she was admitted to intensive care and sadly and devastatingly died three years ago on the 23rd.

We do Pooja on that anniversary, help her on her way and remember fantastic times with a wonderful woman.

Here’s a video memory created by our good friend Tom, Manjula showing one of her many skills and most importantly her kindness of giving.