Ayudhapuja!

It’s the one day of the year when we wash our cars, cycles, motorbikes and tools, to then ask the Gods to bless them. Originally a Pooja for our weapons!

Lucie checks they’re doing it properly at the local hotel.

It’s the penultimate day of our big annual festival (Dasra or Dusshera). Commemorating the goddess Chamundeshwari (lives on the hill behind our house), killing the demon, after which Mysore is named.

Sowbhagyhya has already instructed me to wash my Enfield, Ambassador and Specialized. She’s now done the full on Pooja.

Lucie, probably because there’s a sliver of MAnjula in her, has to check things over, again.
The family downstairs doing Puja for their transport. Meanwhile Lucie and the puppy try to co-exist, moderately successfully.
It’s over a year since MAnjula escaped to a new life so we can do Pooja’s.

we say Happy Ayudhapuja!

Anita’s Attic

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.

I’m encouraged.

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.

September randomness

Walking Lucie.
Chai stop
Farmers Market stop
Workers stop
Messing up our park
Will we get a play area like this? and some grass?
It’s all too much.

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.

Feeding Manjula

First…. A little faffing, as we prepare to remember her preciousness.
Sowbaghya has prepared a full on meal for Manjula.
Some of her old and new clothing is laid out, in case she needs it, I forgot to ask what the money is for.
The chain around her neck and gold ‘coins’ form the Mangal Sutra which she wears to show she’s married
There’s always flowers and now my and Punith’s drawing of Manjula is also found everywhere.
We forgot the lamps, Manjula wouldn’t be at all surprised. Too many men involved and that useless Yindian. Thankfully SB quickly rescued the situation.
Sensible woman with fire.
Insensible Yindian playing with fire 1
Playing with fire 2
It’s the time of year when we especially connect to those like Manjula who slipped through our fingers. we do Pooja at home and some at the Kaveri riverside where I immersed Manjula’s ashes.
We stepped outside while Manjula came to get her fill. Then washed our hands and knocked on the door to warn her we were coming back inside.
Only then were we allowed to eat.

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 and her good friend Ina have shared gifts of money and mycycle masks with each of our eight drivers who are finding it hard with very little business in these virus times.

Trees

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.

The Pongamia tree that Manjula wanted to be, as is the one outside our house.

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 Manjula plaque fixed to our tree on her birthday.

“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.”

– Amelia Earhart

All Change

Part One

Our Garden has been a wonderful addition to the home we share through Mysore Bed and Breakfast. It’s been a memorable part of our life.

todays team shifted the plants to the ground floor

the owner of the house has arranged to resurface the roof as after nearly forty years and a garden for ten it’s letting water in.

He’s understandably nervous of the plants going back on the roof. It took six of us around four hours to shift them. So we have a new arrangement.

I can feel the nervous worry of guests around the world.

Don’t worry, we’ll have it ready soon and Madam is keeping an eye on things.

The work continues

over the next few months we’ll have three smaller more intimate super gardens and Manjula’s stone benches in the park opposite.

Meet SB

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.