Sowbhagya arrived with Dosa for her breakfast. The dining table was converted to one of my four workstations but she managed to find space. She was trapped but I blame her. She did show interest. So I launched into the synopsis of Manjula and my story, written for Anita.
SB was immediately engaged and liked it. We both enthusiastically remembered Manjula: her character, her kindness, her fun. SB could see connections with her and other women’s experiences but also how she was especially adventurous, strong and independent in the face of so many challenges.
Last Saturday was the first session of Anita’s Attic. A programme for writers — yes, that’s me, officially a writer, of sorts — over the next twelve weeks.
There’s ten of us in the online group: taught, facilitated and mentored by Anita Nair.
Anita is a famous writer of English novels, here in India. My own favourite is Ladies Coupe and I hope that our story will feature similar expansive characters to help us discover more of India and wonderful people I’ve been fortunate to meet.
A little bird told us that we might get a children’s and gym play area. To replace this mess. My initial thoughts are shock horror and against losing our quiet, relaxing natural park. I’ll be waiting a long time for the corporation’s consultation. Ha ha.
This annual Hindu event known in Mexico as the ‘day of the dead’ but of course, quite different, is known as Mahalaya Amavasya. We remember our loved ones and provide help and support for their journey to the next place. In our case to Manjula’s reincarnation.
Thank you to Sowbaghya, Satish and Vasanth for your loving kindness to Manjula. You made it very special.
Manjula wished to be reincarnated as a tree. She wanted to provide cover and and support to people. To me it reflected her strength and gentleness.
I was reminded of this after reading a recent brain picking, with reference to a letter from D H Lawrence reflecting his love for trees.
“To walk among trees is to be reminded that although relationships weave the fabric of life, one can only be in relationship — in a forest or a family or a friendship — when firmly planted in the sovereignty of one’s own being, when resolutely reaching for one’s own light.”
That’s so my Manjula. It’s a lesson she leaves me with. As she now waits for me to lift myself from my bed of lethargy and act.
“A century ago, Hermann Hesse contemplated how trees model for us this foundation of integrity in his staggeringly beautiful love letter to trees — how they stand lonesome-looking even in a forest, yet “not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche.” Celebrating them as “the most penetrating preachers,” he reverenced the silent fortitude with which “they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves.”
again I’m so reminded of MAnjula, her own strength, independence and gentle kindness.
“A supreme challenge of human life is reconciling the longing to fulfill ourselves in union, in partnership, in love, with the urgency of fulfilling ourselves according to our own solitary and sovereign laws. Writing at the same time as Hesse, living in exile in the mountains, having barely survived an attack of the deadly Spanish Flu that claimed tens of millions of lives, the polymathic creative force D.H. Lawrence (September 11, 1885–March 2, 1930) took up the question of this divergent longing with great subtlety and splendor of insight in his autobiographically tinted novel Aaron’s Rod (free ebook | public library), rooting the plot’s climactic relationship resolution in a stunning passage about trees.”
The fact is I’m able to find references to Manjula anywhere and everywhere. “A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.”
Sowbhagyhya aka SB aka lucky lucky (I’m not passing comment on her good fortune in finding a job here, it’s what her name means) has now been at Mysore Bed and Breakfast almost nine months. SB’s responsible for cleaning, preparing rooms and tolerating the English guy and has now realised that her job grows and becomes more interesting.
SB has watched Manjula’s cooking videos (check here and here) and made a great meal last night. She’s realised one of the ways Manjula made wonderful tasty food is to not cook too much. We look forward to reintroducing Evening meals over the next season. That’s October through to March, assuming we get any guests in these uncertain times.
Thank you SB for doing a great job. I know you’re happy to be here and I’m happy we found you.
As you’ve found out today, with your role in managing the gardener, your role, your tasks, your appreciation and fun will change.