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.
She’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!
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….
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
We’ve set up Manjula in the NQAR (not-quite-a-room) we use it for children, grand parents, Liz and Tibetan Buddhist nun from Oregon. (Get your head around that one) sorry Ani
We’re getting into a bit of a routine. Eight tabs after breakfast alone, sixteen in a full day, not to mention syrup and the tss tss. Nightmare getting the drugs today. pharmacists had no stock of a v important one. Mask and ventilator overnight , oxygen concentrator during day (hip new oxygen bar to be opened next week in Garage).
Doing her lung exercises, as demonstrated earlier in hospital. Maybe one of Manjula’s biggest challenges came next….. My cooking. 😉
Manjula says: ‘ nice veg pasta, very light not spicy, very very good’
Often when I relate our story, Manjula interjects to declare: ‘you’re my maid.’ Well she might be right. Tools of my trade this morning are: hard box (Thali thing for serving breakfast), handle to adjust bed recliner, hands for holding (when having umpteen blood tests) and destroying mosquitoes, remote for TV, motorbike for fetching things…. I now have my role in life 😉
well and truly out of mine….. on the other hand its one of the many, some quite, unbelievable challenges Manjula has faced in her life. As usual, she manages this one with her usual, formidable, tenacious, but always gentle strength…..one helluva strong woman.
She jokingly calls it her honeymoon now she’s out of intensive care wolfing down her food and in a room ‘with a view.’
It wasn’t exactly unexpected as she has a serious lung condition that can’t improve. She will stay in hospital a few more days to observe and see what’s required when she gets home.
It’s a bloody relief.
Lucie says: “it’s about time we told Manjula’s and our story”
“My hometown is Mysore. I was born and raised in Mysore. I have struggled a lot as a young girl. My father sent me to school, but education wasn’t something that came easily to me. I attended school till 5th standard. As I wasn’t good at studies my father stopped me from going to school. After leaving school, I started doing household chores, tying flower strands and other things. As a small girl, I learned many household works. As I grew up, as I started to acquire some knowledge I started to make money by tying flower strands and selling.”
“My mom left us when we were still young. She had a quarrel and disagreement with my father and left us all and went to her father’s house. Later, my father raised us all even with some difficulties. My mother came back after a while, but my father didn’t let her in. My father married another woman, she didn’t look after us very well, and she didn’t give us enough food. Later my younger brother started working at a hotel; he would bring us food for the nights.
As we grew up and started to learn things, I joined as a housemaid to a family in Bangalore. The family for whom I worked wanted a housekeeper for their younger brother’s house in Bombay. They took me to Bombay and I worked there for 10 years. Even there, I looked after a baby for 3 years and the household works for the rest of the years. I never came back to Mysore. After 10 years, the family shifted to Singapore, they offered me to continue the same job with more pay. I didn’t go as my family was here in India and it would be difficult for me to come back from Singapore. I came back to my hometown, Mysore.”
I’m not altogether sure what happened at school. One of the stories she tell me is she would ask the teacher if she could leave the classroom to go for a number one (pee). Then legging it, with her brother left in the classroom having to carry her bags home. What a naughty girl! I don’t think she was there very often. There was a big bust up with her father and it led to her being taken out of school. This was the very school featured in our tortuous journey to get her transfer certificate (TC), to get a PAN (tax) card to get a passport as the TC was the only evidence she had of her birthdate. check here
There are so many things to unpick here: starting work from a very early age, her mother abandoning her and then returning ( a pattern she repeats to this day), relations with her various ‘step-parents’ (their favouritism and neglect) and the fluid marital relationships in some communities in India, the multiple jobs to earn a crust, life as a maid travelling across India to work with an unknown family in a completely alien city or even travelling internationally into what can be quite stark and challenging circumstances (more of that one later). Which seems to be a pretty standard thing for ‘children’ from poor families..
One of the obvious observations is that its a pretty hard life if you’re poor in India (and no doubt elsewhere). Here in India, have been incredibly stoic, dealing well with life’s paradoxes, whilst necessarily being resilient, adaptable and creative. It’s one of the first things we notice as first time visitors and as we get to know the country and it’s people better, we notice how wonderful they are and how mean some can be.