I like

“A pair of silver anklets poured out. He lifted them against the cheek of the evening sky and he shook them to unspool their rhythmic zhan-zhan-zhan. ‘Take them with you,’ was all she said. Years later he realised what she had really given him. The sound of her feet. The preface to her movements.

As I’m now officially a writer. Ha ha. Well I have pen and a blank sheet of paper.

I spend time reading with two perspectives: firstly as the reader, I always was, appreciating the journey I’m being taken on and secondly realising more about how the writer has created and revealed their story.

I quote another book to help reveal why I like the one above.

“This feeling resonated in me. It was the resonance that had lingered on, exactly as it does when the last page is turned of a book which reaches the heart.”

I want Manjula and my story to reach the heart as it did for me.

It’s three years today….

Manjula and I had our first wedding, the official one in the government office where they exchange contracts on immovable objects. We are undoubtedly immovable objects.

I was age 60 before I got married so there was a big build up and it took some time to move in that direction.

Manjula signed so many documents after we met: applications for passport, visas, accounts, tax returns, becoming a Director of the company, but this was the most important.
I’ve got the photo albums out, here at home.

three days later we celebrated and married again in a field

Can we have a garden please?

Superintending Engineer Rangaswamy SE Biligiri receives my proposal.
Phone call to his colleague Arshaya who heads development for zone 9 and asks her to give permission
Who arranges for Sanjay to meet me in the park and will provide letter of approval next week. A total of 53 minutes from beginning to end.

I now have to find help to create the bed and plant the plants.

Manjula’s garden will be between the two stone benches at the top end of our park.

A red bicycle

We’re reaching out to a whole new generation

Ritu
Ritu’s picture of our house.

Her mother asked why is there a cycle on the roof? She explained that this is Stephens house.

Ritu’s father Somesh visited with Aadirika to take photos of her wonderful portrait of Manjula and Lucie.

Aadirika is hiding

We’re going to find ways for Manjula to continue to reach out to young people.

Anita’s Attic

Anita Nair a renowned author here in India has an annual programme ‘Anita’s Attic’ to help up and coming writers.

It’s my new thing, writing. Ha ha says the Yorkshireman, who can’t even speak English.

Our group of ten have just finished the latest programme with each of us reading a short creative piece that we’ve written.

Here’s mine. You can’t escape so easily. 🤭

Do provide critical feedback.

My not work station

It’s a sign

As they would say in Monty Python’s ‘Life of Brian’

Well I’ve had a few after complaining to Manjula that I’d failed to notice any.

The first major happening was the message delivered by the Dragonfly. I’d hinted enough, not least by having one tattooed onto my shoulder.

She came through, on that one.

Today a brick fell off the wall. This thick one knocked it onto the ground and it broke.

It’s a sign.

So what’s the meaning of this sign? erm…..

Manjula is pissed off with me for not sending a Valentine’s Day message. So she threw the brick at me.

She’s actually gone. As we approach our third wedding anniversary and shortly afterwards the date she slipped through my stubby fingers two sorrowful years ago. Maybe it’s a sign that her soul spirit has found a new home and been reincarnated. It’s a realisation that our attempts to help her move on have worked.

Helping her soul on the way on the anniversary of her death.

And maybe it’s a crumbling of the wall that’s hemming me in.

Whatever I’ll look on the bright side as this is part of my journey to learn from life’s challenges and realise something or other.

and of course, no matter what she’s still with me….

For at least seven lives.

Manjula’s Messengers

Today’s messenger rest on a branch of the tree across from my balcony, repeatedly flies away and returns. Sometimes it’s still, at others its chuntering or maybe chewing.

The dragonfly arrives as I’m writing about how we first met to be submitted for a literary competition. I’m happy that this messenger is a reminder that she’s still with me and loves me. It’s taken up residence on the branch. Lucie’s walk will have to wait.

The dragonfly leaves to be replaced by a butterfly flying to me on the balcony.

A few weeks ago, I complained to Manjula that I’d not heard from her. Within days a dragonfly maybe ten times bigger flew into the downstairs hall, circled me three times and landed on Manjula’s pennant.

Butterflies have often visited, since my appeal.
They also feature on a banner that Jacquie is creating in the U.K.

They get everywhere. Thank you Manjula

HELP WANTED

Do you speak and write good English and Kannada?

Confident with all sorts of people and good at building relationships?

Experience of social media?

Can bring the woman’s perspective?

Able to challenge and change?

Willing to learn?

This role is open to women, of any age residing in or near Mysore. The successful candidate will be familiar with computers, using social media, writing content and confident with people from different backgrounds with an open attitude and interest in meeting new challenges.

..

Based in Mysore this is an opportunity to work with and assist Stephen. He’s a YIndian, Yorkshire (it’s in England) by birth and Indian by marriage. Together with Manjula, he set up Mysore Bed and Breakfast and MYCycle tours.  

Over the next year, he needs help in researching for a book to share their story, publishing and promoting it (mailing list, mailouts, online presence) and other things that will arise depending upon the interests and ability of the person.

This might include: interviewing people and transcribing, researching a locality, writing for the internet, creating an online community linked with Mysore Bed and Breakfast, assisting with other aspects of the business such as the Homestay and cycle tours.  

What do you gain?

Recognition of your abilities and experience, learn new things. 

It depends on you.

Stephen has a range of experiences and his approach is to learn from each other.

Expenses are covered.

Further details to be negotiated and agreed.

Please note: Manjula is unfortunately no longer physically with us but is, in spirit. The business will continue in her memory but is likely to be closed for most of this year due to the pandemic. If you’re interested to discuss and find out more:

..Contact Stephen on tours@mycycle.co or voice/txt 9886705179

For more details of who they are and what they do:

www.manjulasmysore.in

www.meandmycycle.com

there’s also presence on Instagram, twitter (meandmycycle) and Trip Advisor (mysore bed and breakfast and mycycle).

Manjula and Stephen

Spot the mistakes in this posting and you’ll begin to see how and why he needs help.

If you re interested, here’s more detailed information.

For this to be successful, we share equal responsibility to determine if you have the skills and aptitude, that it’s an appropriate and suitable placement and determine whether we can work together. It’s essential to be absolutely honest and realistic.

Here’s a few ideas of what is required to help you decide if it’s a suitable opportunity for you. Some  of it will require you to be present in Mysore

Create an action plan.

A simple initial project: interview a local maid in Kannada, write up the interview, create post in English, link to other postings about maids in India.

Visit our two web sites, Instagram and Twitter, provide a report analysing them, what works, what doesn’t and what you would do to improve their impact and following.

Role, together with Stephen,  might include some or all of the following, subject to negotiation and agreement:

  • create summary pages highlighting current ‘top’ blog posts, these might in due course become newsletters to mail out: Manjula, life in India, Tips for Tourists: first timers, old hands, Maid in India, Why India is like is it like this
  • target audience
  • create e-mailing list from gmail account
  • set up form for site visitors to join the mailing list
  • grow the followers: twitter, facebook, instagram, web sites
  • suggest ways to promote offline
  • e mail : target audience 3/4 times over the year
  • interviews: friends, family
  • promote book
  • investigate how to self publish: Ebook, POD

What questions do you have? What do you need to know to help you decide if its something you will enjoy, suits your skills and you will learn from?

How will you be able to bring the woman perspective in you’re not a woman?

Can you base yourself in Mysore if you don’t already live here?

What do you want to get out of an internship?

Feel free to contact me with any of your questions.

Stephen

tours@mycycle.co

‘Beloved’
A portrait of Manjula, step-by-step

We have had great feedback about Aadirika’s painting of our beautiful Manjula with requests to see the step-by-step process in one post. Here it is….

Aadirika was absolutely dedicated to doing justice to Manjula’s memory.
Manjula was with her every step of the way
Lucie posed, not.
this has taken astonishing commitment and skill
Stephen’s love for Manjula .
Weaves a bridge,
between our worlds.
A bridge made of heart strings,
a bridge of exploration to the multi dimensional.
Manjula’s love for Stephen.
Pierces through the veil,
as a warm ray on a chilly day. 
by Aadirika Kawa
on the day following the unveiling of the painting a dragonfly flew into the house, circled me and landed on Manjula’s pennant.
It’s a sign, it’s a sign. A message of love.
Manjula and I, was and are very happy

‘Beloved’
A portrait of Manjula
by Aadirika Kawa