It’s not Irish…

We’re famous for our coffee here in South India.

As someone who is neither a coffee or whisky drinker I was intrigued to discover Classic’s Whisky barrel-aged Coffee from Harley’s Coffee Estate.

What an interesting idea. I needn’t have worried. It’s an intriguing taste and aroma which I immediately liked.

Once we’ve reopened Mysore Bed and Breakfast after the pandemic we’ll introduce this great innovation to our guests from around the world.

We know they’ll love it combined with our range of teas and coffees to enhance our reputation for great breakfasts.

Sharing Shrines

our Hindu house has a Pooja room, set up by MAnjula it’s still used for certain festivals. Other households would use it everyday. Our next festival is likely to be for the big rotund guy, my favourite: Ganesh.

No two houses are the same which might be due to the specific Gods, they worship, their caste or maybe just because India is incredibly consistently inconsistent.

In memory of MAnjula as with many households a photo, is placed in the hall (lounge/living room) when people die. For the first year we’d place flowers around her every month, with a special Pooja on her annual death anniversary. This all part of a series of rituals to help her soul spirit find another body and be reincarnated into her next life.

Tanuja at Manjula’s second death anniversary.

In our house there’s a main photo of MAnjula in each of our two lounges. Fact is there are photos of her everywhere. My son thinks The whole house is becoming a shrine.

Sowbaghya who did all the preparation, cooking, decoration for each of Manjula’s death anniversaries.

Now after two years I’ve decorated her like a Christmas tree with lights all around her.

Sometimes she’ll get a little extra treatment with red or yellow dots and we’ll do a little Pooja. It’s essentially a prayer with a request to god.

We’re flexi here.

Her pic is also found on the tree out the front of our house, T-shirt’s and masks her no 1 place is in my heart.

For me it’s especially important to acknowledge our being together and celebrate Manjula as many didn’t know about our relationship.

Why?

That will feature in our story.

kindness too

two strangers appear at the house with offerings

meet Sahana and Tapan

who brought a wonderful tasty meal

such kind, thoughtful people here in Mysore

and such kind considerate friends Tom and Amy (seen here on the right with Manj and I from the big photo album) who arranged the whole thing from the south coast of England. How lucky am I?

As part of the deal Lucie and I have found two lovely new friends. We’ll be hearing more about Sahana and Tapan…

Absolutely super, thank you Tom and Amy, I look forward to seeing you soon.

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!

Meet We Three….

Hello from Manjula, Lucie and Stephen. Please follow the links below to the videos introducing you to our family.

An introduction from Stephen

A wonderful message from Manjula on what would have been her 47th birthday. Created by Faizan from the many videos she made for Stephen and our worldwide family.

The two lovely videos below are made by Tom and Amy who became so significant in our lives, we ‘adopted’ them.

Manjula preparing a meal and gifting her love.

Stephen guiding a MYcycle tour and providing historical, political and cultural insights in a boring Yorkshire way.

Lucie

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.

Sally

Sally is one of those guests that you’ve no idea when they first arrived and keep popping up so much you wonder if they ever leave. She’s clearly become besotted by India.

Sally is a creative who works in broadcast media in the UK on one of the most iconic soaps as Costume Designer. But can turn her hand to many things: design, textiles, writing, costume making, continuity, tours, and her beautiful home and garden, all while supporting her mum.

I’ve lost count how many times she’s been to visit and has now set up her own business providing carefully curated textile travels in south India. She’s also on Facebook and as Textile Travels

On Manjula’s first holiday to the U.K. we had an amazing adventure with Sally and her partner Mike in a narrowboat adding travel along the canal to Manjula’s list of great experiences in our all too short time together.

We have a lot in common, not least that we both recently lost our loved ones. Recently she’s taken the lead in helping us design a patchwork quilt and appliqué banner from Manjula’s clothes that will soon appear at Mysore Bed and Breakfast.

I look forward to her return and the way she’s going think she’ll spend more and more of her year in India.

Sally is a diamond gal (what does that mean Stephen? Your writing is supposed to be improving – the gentler Ed) officially now ‘family’ and has joined those who’ve returned here to provide incredible support over the most difficult time in my life.

Thank you Sally

guests become friends

……. become family

Meet Jean-Yves and Nathalie from Paris came to share our home, meet Manjula, me and Lucie. It was our first season after Manjula in her strong independent way slipped through my clumsy fingers but we all felt her presence.

Jean-Yves is a nurse and works in an ‘addictology’ department in a hospital. Previously a psychiatric nurse, he likes and is very committed to his job. He always raises questions about society, inequalities and he is waiting for the Grand Soir for more social justice.

Nathalie, is passionate about human relations, also has a strong conscience and ethics who is responsible for social action for the archaeologists department. She likes to participates in and creates actions for the climate and social justice.

They live in a small apartment in the XIVth district of Paris, in a charming little cobbled street. They like to walk together for hours in Paris and enjoy travelling to countries like India. Together they are looking to broaden their insights and gain a more accurate view of the world.

It was fun and a real pleasure getting to know Jean-Yves and Nathalie while welcoming them to our home. They are an interesting, thoughtful and caring couple. We had a great adventure together on a mycycle tour but I’ll let them tell you themselves about their visit through their wonderful online presence. There are two entries here:

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.