Rebellious

meet Kaveri

over the next few weeks I’ll post an evolving introduction to one of our new friends.

I can hear her now. Her bossy tone wafting over — from her grandmother’s home — on the other side of the park outside our house .

She’s already featured on a few entries on meandmycycle, most notably this month when she joined the ‘Manjula’s Mysore” outing to Kerala. Check here

We began making connections some time ago

So come and say hello to Kaveri…

Rebel Number One, ….an earlier posting saw Kaveri :

⁃ stuffing herself (under her grandmother’s encouragement we’re trying to feed her up, she is very skinny),

⁃ completing her “How to draw almost Everything for Kids’ sourcebook

⁃ playing in the park

and of course she was part of the Madness in Kerala

So why am I introducing you to Kaveri? …. bear with me, you’ll see.

The famous five have expanded and are in Kerala.

Three separate vehicles travelled from in and around Mysore to Kannur

Our roles began to evolve within the first few hours.

Shafi drove our group.

We’re at Chera Rocks, a great venue so let’s discover the sea.

Summer arrives early in Mysore

For the first time in twelve years I’ve spent part of the winter in the U.K. yes it is different from the summer. 🤭

It’s quite a contrast from the cold wet misery alternating with the pure gray ness to be back in Mysore where yet again the Summer arrives early.

The tree outside our house has already lost it leaves and they’ve returned within the week. But that’s all happened at the end of January instead of March/April.

But the plants around the house are good and Manjula’s garden, less than a year since we planted it, in the park opposite, is looking wonderful with her granite benches standing guard.

It’s in the shape of a ‘m’ or om but you can’t see that without climbing a tree or using a drone.

Here’s a short video to show you more.

Manjula’s library grows

The number of books

The number and range of readers.

We’ve negotiated the loan of ‘we’re going on a bear hunt’, ‘the hungry caterpillar’ and ‘stuck’

She might be young but negotiated an extension of a seven day loan to ten days. 🙂🙃😉 our very first children to borrow books from Manjula’s library.

‘Beloved’
A portrait of Manjula, step-by-step

We have had great feedback about Aadirika’s painting of our beautiful Manjula with requests to see the step-by-step process in one post. Here it is….

Aadirika was absolutely dedicated to doing justice to Manjula’s memory.
Manjula was with her every step of the way
Lucie posed, not.
this has taken astonishing commitment and skill
Stephen’s love for Manjula .
Weaves a bridge,
between our worlds.
A bridge made of heart strings,
a bridge of exploration to the multi dimensional.
Manjula’s love for Stephen.
Pierces through the veil,
as a warm ray on a chilly day. 
by Aadirika Kawa
on the day following the unveiling of the painting a dragonfly flew into the house, circled me and landed on Manjula’s pennant.
It’s a sign, it’s a sign. A message of love.
Manjula and I, was and are very happy

‘Beloved’
A portrait of Manjula
by Aadirika Kawa

With me

I’ve reached out to Manjula and I’m disappointed that she’s not appeared, or maybe she has. I know she’s with me. I am surrounded by her image but is that any reason not to commission another?

MAnjula is even on my mask and T shirt on this morning’s Lucie walk. .
A ghostly apparition?

She once told me a story about hungry ghosts which will feature in our story. I hope she’s not one as we’ve completed the rituals to help her her soul find it’s way to a new home.

I’ve commissioned a painting, of MAnjula and posted for you some of the early stages and a ‘teeny’ example where Lucie appears.

Previous postings of the painting one and two.

There will be more on the 24th and the painting arrives on the 25th. Look out for the star.

Otherwise

Other and wise

There’s so many examples of the negativeness of the ‘other’ in society and politics.

Before the time of virus, people would cross the road to avoid walking by my black dog Lucie. It’s a cross-cultural fear.

Now in the time of virus they’re as likely to walk across the road because of me.

Recently, I was cycling on a local road busy with people doing their early morning exercise walk. A woman on the opposite side of the wide road lifts her Sari to cover her mouth on seeing me, a white foreigner. The Indians walking next to her had not been seen as a risk.

She didn’t know better but at the very least, it’s annoying.

The negative other.

Later that day three young children, sitting astride a wall laughing, smiling giggling, waving to me, a wonderful hello.

Shortly afterwards a man pushing a cycle gave a smile and wave.

The positive other

This took me back fifteen years to my first visit.

I came to India and christened it the land of a billion smiles and then I fell in love with and married Manjula, a woman with a billion smiles.

We find what we look for….

Now Manjula is my guru

I spread her smile with a friendly wave.

We might however at this ‘time of virus’ need to look a little closer to spot the smiling eyes shining above the face mask .

This was my story at today’s meeting of the Mysore Storytelling Network. A great new group for me of mostly young things. 🙂🙃😉

Manjula’s kind

Brain pickings on kindness and grief, because like everything in the world they’re connected.

KINDNESS

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

If you haven’t yet discovered brain pickings do pay it a visit and consider joining its mailing list and offering support.

“Those who experience, not the arts, but nature, may have a similar response, and also those who experience another human being. Do we not know the feeling that overtakes us when we are in the presence of a particular person and, roughly translates as, The fact that this person exists in the world at all, this alone makes this world, and a life in it, meaningful.” Viktor Frankl also from Brain Pickings

Or more on grieving

Grief… happens upon you, it’s bigger than you. There is a humility that you have to step into, where you surrender to being moved through the landscape of grief by grief itself. And it has its own timeframe, it has its own itinerary with you, it has its own power over you, and it will come when it comes. And when it comes, it’s a bow-down. It’s a carve-out. And it comes when it wants to, and it carves you out — it comes in the middle of the night, comes in the middle of the day, comes in the middle of a meeting, comes in the middle of a meal. It arrives — it’s this tremendously forceful arrival and it cannot be resisted without you suffering more… The posture that you take is you hit your knees in absolute humility and you let it rock you until it is done with you. And it will be done with you, eventually. And when it is done, it will leave. But to stiffen, to resist, and to fight it is to hurt yourself. Elizabeth Gilbert

Manjula has the sweetest smile

Looking on the bright side.

Manjula is my smiling kindness guru.

This morning I waved and gave a free smile to every cyclist. It’s a happy thing to do and helps connect us at this distant time.

I follow her and try spread her smile

and obviously need to do better.

……

At times I’ve slipped and realise I’ve adopted a local approach of: ‘It’s good enough’ and ‘it’ll do’, but it wasn’t and it didn’t do. That’s when the dark cloud engulfs me with sadness instead of just following me around. But this morning I was in the positive happy frame of mind.

What we give out is returned we just don’t know when, where and how.

My guru expects me to see and be the positive. I’m slowly learning.

Ripple effect

Sowbhagya (SB) has had a lot to deal with because of the situation at our house and been in quarantine with a big fat sticker on her door announcing to the world. Her neighbours have been ugly and unsupportive. She challenged her neighbours when they were claiming she was positive and announcing it on a Facebook page. A policeman was a great help.. The bright side is that she now feels strengthened and some of it comes from working here. Manjula’s kind, positive and continues to give.

Unfortunately it has also affected her father whose roadside food business has suffered.

It brings it home to me, how much we need to be aware of how our actions affect others, try on their ‘coat’ to better understand things from their point of view. Unfortunately, too often we don’t try or care.

Look on the bright side of life is a wonderful song from this film.

Monty Python’s Life of Brian