A beautiful world

I’m called to the door by an Amazon delivery. There are no guests so it’s been an opportunity for a lie in. Now cut short.

Manjula has not been well for weeks stretching into months. Most of the day she’s in bed but with significant wobble will stumble gracefully to the outside sit-out and sometimes a walk in our park.

She excitedly tells me of hearing the birds visiting her window towards the back of the house. It’s her first experience of the morning.

Today, for some reason, I can hear them clearly. The whole air is full of joyous birdsong. Our house outside at the front, in the drive, hanging from the car port, on the mezzanine, the balcony and the sun terrace is bursting with life. Our greenery welcomes, as you arrive.

Now the presence of the wonderful birds brings a whole new dimension.

This to a house already marked by its openess. We’re far from but also reflect a traditional Indian home. The matriarch, the Amma, is Manjula, formerly the maid. Her husband who she declares: ‘the maid’ now provides her necessary support. As with established typical local homes. It’s a vibrant active place. Ordinarily there is a constant flow of people. Our cleaners, gardener and that husband-assistant feverishly ensuring it’s prepared for our paying guests at the Mysore Bed and Breakfast. It’s inward flow of guests, a mix of generations, the conversations mingling from the different lounges,  with their languages from around the world, in a very Indian way creates a mish mash, a melange of jeek by jowl. A pick-a-mix of rich experiences.

The smells, noises, colours, the feel and texture of India is enhanced by the beautiful bird song. Less than an hour ago it was full flow. It added a perceptible glow to the already shining house. The bird song is more than the icing on the cake its part of our whole.

It helps at this very difficult time of Manjula’s constant challenges to bring a natural soundful beauty.

This house, our home and the memories it creates are a natural consequence of my Manjula. Her smile that radiates is for our many guests, the first and last experience and a remaining mark of their visit.

img_5525The presence that is at its heart, the source of our life here, the link to all those who shared our place. This woman from a poor background, with little formal education who has a kindness reflected in those of the stories she shares of her father, a delightful beautiful woman who has made so many people happy by opening her home as the soft, gentle caring golden thread, linking it all. She, my very own Maharani, has…. no surprise here…. gone and stolen my heart, completely bowled me over… leaving me a marked man.

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All this helps remind us of how lucky we are, here in our Indian home in a world of infinite beauty. Where things continue to amaze, draw us out of our sadness and bring a smile on our face.

Mother Hen

Update 17 Nov 2018

We’re getting so many requests about Manjula’s health. So we’re providing occasional updates.

She’s lost so much weight, I asked the local diagnostic lab to send someone round for an impromptu blood test to check haemoglobin levels.

It checks out ok at 13.1 reference range 11.5 – 14.5 in India with an ill wife one gets used to diagnostic centres, reading results, drugs, records, co-ordinating between different docs, trying to keep track and paying!

Cost was 50 rupees, so that’s great, this time!

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Connections

Remember that song?

The this bone connected to the that bone. Well it’s connections and especially medical or body ones that are the subject of today’s missive.

We’re visiting the umpteenth medical centre.

Manjula has been losing weight having gone from a Telly Tubby (Ok I exaggerate) to being thin as a rake at 35 kg in just a few months.

so very worrying.

Well her usual doc tested liver, kidney, thyroid all ok so he’s sent us to Dr Darla who tested and found her deficient in vitamin D.

Well we hope that’s it and the treatment works.

The connection?

Since being ill earlier this year and as a result she’s been home based hence there’s been a lack of sunlight. One problem, response, leads to another, a vicious circle of happenings let alone connected bones.

It occurs to me (and I’ve checked it’s OK with the Maharani) that as we’ve had so many friends ask about her health it’s about time we brought you up to date, so watch this space.

Manjula

I’ve been toying with the idea of having a portrait painted of the beautiful Manjula. Fact is I’m trying to work out if I can afford it. As part of the process I’ve pulled together a few of the photos taken of Manjula over the years, they’re mainly my photos but there are some crackers taken by friends.

 

Occasionally someone or something else gets a look in…..

 

 

and there’s even more here

Manjula caught me doing this earlier and has no idea about the portrait. it occured to us that she’s had hundreds of photos tasken in the nine years that we’ve known each other and to her knowledge just a handful in the thrity six years beforehand.

If I decide to go ahead with the portrait, I’ll send the link to the photos to the artist (my daughter-in-laws sister) who will use them, not to copy but to help her create something that reflects the real person but also emerges from her artistic insights!

Caring

Just a week ago today…

Kamala arrives for the night shift. The system here assumes that someone will stay with you all day to be there for all non-nursing care roles. Whatever that means!

I’ve been at the hospital all day and will return in the morning.

We’re being a bit posh with private room (good decision) which includes a bed for the ‘carer.’ As you can see below.

It reminds me of thirty years ago. I was the manager of services for Disabled people for a UK council: Kirklees. We had a group visiting Greece as one of those exchange visits (up the EU!). One of the disabled people needed to go into hospital and all our available professional carers were required to cover all the non nursing care. The other disabled people had to be supported by other members (non of them being care staff!) of the group. Two of us decided to hire a car and together with another member of the group who needed our support as he had significant care needs (help for bathing, getting in and out of bed, going to the toilet, getting around in his wheelchair.) It was all new to us but an incredibly valuable experience to see things from our colleagues and the disabled persons’ perspective).

Well we don’t have to do all those things For Manj but similarly we have to have someone at hospital all the time. The other similarity is I’ve swopped roles now with Manjula as I’ve had guests at the BnB while the boss was in the hospital.

It’s helped me realise how much Manjula does.

Now she’s back home there’s the whole new experience of being ‘the maid’…. do this, do that, bring the tv downstairs, reorganise the ground floor, cooking (any suggestions gratefully received), set up the machinery and mask her up (much more complex than the one in the pic) for the night then get up to get it off her! …. more and more 😉

Its quite a new valuable experience.

Manjula’s

 

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Its been a very difficult few months for Manjula culminating in a week in hospital and most of that in intensive care. The immediate infection has been eliminated but her chronic condition, her chest complaint is COPD and it will not go away. We have to be vigilant about possible infections and work out what implications this has for her and our life style.

 

 

 

 

DSC02627She’s such a hero, deals with new and challenging things, like BnB guests 😉 her illnesses and that awkward man from Yorkshire with gentle gusto, her usual happy go lucky energy, incredible fortitude and all whilst creating an open, friendly wonderful home.

That will not change.

She’s’s supposed to be resting now and spending time on her oxygen machine but she’s hanging out the back door supervising the guys cleaning out our sump tank!

DSC02632     Manjula wishes me to thank you for all you kind thoughts and insisted  that I bring you up to date with her current situation. She sends her radiant smile to you….

Update

We’re nowhere near back to normal. Fact is, I’ve yet to find normal in India. Maybe it’s one of those contradictory statements I like which reflects that it’s ‘organised differently’ hereabouts… or my fave ‘consistently inconsistent’ it’s abnormally normal…

Anyway, enough of my rambles. We have four lovely guests at breakfast this morning. Two newbies from Switzerland and two from UK who are going for gold resident status. It being their fourth visit all adding up to a few weeks.

Manjula had a good sleep and with the help of her technology has good oxygen levels this morning. Great stuff, Manj