Kindergarten Korner

weeeeeeee, screeeeee, grrrrrrrrrr, waaaaaaaa….

This is the grinding, cutting screeching of the little mesters, the small independent traditional workshops making knives in my home city of Sheffield the cutlery capital of England. 

Except it isn’t.

It feels like they’ve followed me all the way to where I live now in the genteel middle-class Siddarthanagar in Mysore.

It’s the third night of this infernal racket going on past 9 in the evening and comes from the construction site behind — making it almost impossible to have evening (international time difference) important zoom calls — so,  I complain to the workers. They are cutting and grinding marble, tiles, steel and concrete. The noise should stop at the very latest at 7.00, (the actual rule is they should stop earlier) one of the workers seems to understand. That’s good, message received and understood.

But it’s not so straightforward. Is anything in India?

The construction site belongs to the next door downstairs neighbour (Jain), and he discussed this with his upstairs neighbour (who’s Brahmin) who raises it with his neighbour (Lingayat), who I cycle with most mornings, who talks to me (the Firangi aka foreigner). I might be joking but these labels of religion and community are very significant. So a simple matter of neighbourliness, and sound sensitivity becomes a big issue at the corner. They, that’s the Jain with the support of the Brahmin decide to allow the workers to continue making the noise into the evening and ignore me. The Lingayat is just the messenger 🙂

Once I realise the molehill is becoming a foot hill, I go to speak directly to the site owner, my neighbour of some years. He refuses to speak, looks down, can’t catch me in the eye and does some rude brushing away movement with his hands. Blimey.

There’s more to being kind than feeding the cows

Frankly, in my view, it should be obvious that such noise in the evening isn’t on, regardless that it’s against the regulations. Rules, what are they? Various friends agree. But lack of awareness, indifference, who knows what has stopped the bleeding obvious being well, obvious. Now they know but don’t care, they stick the proverbial finger up.

To make sure I understand, I’m cold-shouldered by the Jains and the Brahmins. 

The foothill becomes a mountain. This is quite unbelievable.

The fool of the father (Jain) even instructs his young daughters to have nothing to do with the foreigner. 

On a normal day and time, Lucie and I are constantly greeted, by the local children, as we walk down the street with smiles, hellos and waves but not by his two, not anymore. Hence  I refer to the infantile behaviour of the kindergarten. The poor girls stick out like a sore thumb not greeting the foreigner, because of the childishness of their father.

I now realise its a common unsophisticated way of communication. For example: there’s three parts of a family live a few hundred yards away from each other who have not communicated for decades. I hear of families not talking because of perceived snubs at a wedding and how the invites had been issued. 

I’ve discussed with people that I know from the Jain community who are embarrassed and apologetic and Brahmin friends, who are politically liberal anti-elitist, just shrug their shoulders and ask why I’m surprised. People talk about bad karma for the house and how they shouldn’t treat ‘guests’ like this. Me, I’ve given up.

Jain friends in England point out, that there’s more to being kind than feeding cows by the roadside.

Come on guys, get a grip. Life is too short. So I have to take the high road and provide a different example.

So Let’s be positive.

following the path of Manjula the muse, the moose, my guru

being kind 

I therefore haven’t pursued this, previously I might have, mercilessly. Now I’ve adjusted, live and let live. 

I don’t want the poor innocent girls affected anymore, or their new house to have a bad vibe, our respective rewards will arrive.

I hope Manjula will be contentedly happy with my approach.    

Farrell Factoid 

Here’s more information about the little mesters. 

Little mesters and their

Resurgence

a new leaf

as we approached the second anniversary of losing Manjula I took myself on one side and had a chat.

I will always have grief gravy to deal with, hopefully the flood that’s now a river, becomes a stream and in time a puddle. As part of that there is a shift towards pushing aside more of the upset and blame, allowing more space to remember the positives and her joyfulness.

The latest sign in response to that positiveness was three examples of people contacting me who might help create the garden, do interviews for ‘our story’ and help reach our story to more people. How cool is that? It’s another sign.

Another is our flag.

Out the front of our house its flapping to show, the Union Jack representing me, with the sun rising to provide a beacon of kindness, that’s Manjula and a crown because she’s a queen.

Here’s this weeks postings, if you missed them:

In planning for this anniversary we sponsor meals at the old people’s home

Manjula’s Anniversary Continuing, lunch and pooja to celebrate and help her soul find its new home, if she’s not already there, who else gets fed?

Kind friends sent messages, called round and shared poems here and here

There was an earlier sign

The anniversary reminded me of facing one of the most difficult decisions in my life which should not have arisen. Another example of me stumbling through life

happier times

What happens to old and disabled cows?

Where do the elderly cows go? and the bulls no one wants?

Out cycling today Veerendra and were invited into the local Pinjrapole society to see their work.

Imagine an old people’s home for cows.

I’ve visited many times over the years, we even used to visit as part of a cycle tour for veterinarians. They were ‘vets beyond borders’ volunteers working on a dog project in the Tibetan settlement in Bylakuppe the vets would often stay with us at Mysore Bed and Breakfast.

It’s a great place.

Bursting

We’re bursting at the seams. Wherever you turn there’s evidence.

We now have plants in the drive out the front, inside and outside the gate, down both sides of the house, in the back yard and on the mid level roof. There’s hundreds of them. We plan to create a small garden in the park this year so that will use half the plants. Let’s hope the mosquitoes will go with them.

Most Indian houses have little if any art. It’s an unnecessary (not) expense and very middle class. As I arrived with the latest offering MAnjula would complain that there was too much art and not room for anymore. Wrong!

Our latest addition

An appliqué banner, created by the multi-talented Jacqui using Manjula’s clothing has just arrived from England and is now by our main door.

An earlier addition was this beautiful portrait.

There’s always room for art.

Next Manjula would joke about there being too many books, and how we should open a library.

So here it is…. Manjula’s library… available for local friends and our guests. (Yes they’re also friends.)

and that’s carefully avoiding mentioning anyone who’s bursting at the seams.

Another poem

My good friend Brian, who has a cameo appearance in my short story ‘looking for a home’ also sent a kind thoughtful poem on Manjula’s second death anniversary.

“remember

we rediscover

step by step

the world you showed me

and remember my hand

is in your hand still

and remember my body

is the hammock of your presence

think of this—love ends 

where the void begins

and we pierce the void together.”

Michele Najlis

From the poem A Fernando

Manjula Memory

On this second anniversary of Manjula slipping away to continue her journey, friends have continued their Kind support.

This from a thoughtful friend in Mumbai 

Through the doors in your eyes

I formed my sweet little home

When you left

This life became homeless

The shade of your tresses

Is now not in my destiny

The melody of your dainty feet

Is now not in my destiny

The echo of your laughter

Is no longer here

The fragrance of your aura

Is no longer here

When I think about you

Your thoughts are all that remain in this life

Your memory is what makes me complete the cycle of

Each breath. Each moment. Each day.

You just floated away

Leaving me at the crossroads of life

I remain there stranded

Longing for your return

Neither did you know

Nor did I

That this was all the time that we could get together

In this lifetime

May you be happy in your new world

That is my only wish

With the hope that one day

I will join you once again

In your loving embrace

With you, hand in hand

In that new world.

from Amargani

Thank you, Stephen

and in its original form in Hindi

तेरे नैनों के द्वार से

मुझे एक आशियाना मिला था

तू जब चली गयी

ये ज़िंदगानी बेगानी सी हो गयी

तेरे झुल्फों की चाऊँ

मेरे नसीब में अब नहीं

तेरे चंचल पाऊँ की आहट

अब मेरे नसीब में नहीं

तेरे हँसी की छाया

अब इधर तोह नहीं

तेरे पवन की ख़ुश्बू

अब इधर तो नहीं

तेरी जब याद आये

इस बाकि के ज़िंदगानी में

बस याद तेरी मुझे पार कराये

हर पल। हर सांस। हर दिन

तू जो चल पड़ी

चौराहे पे मुझ को छोड़ कर

मैं बस खड़ा रह गया

तेरी राह देख कर

ना तूने जाना ना मैंने

बस इतना ही साथ था हमारा

इस संसार में

तू खुश रहे अपनी नयी दुनिया में

मेरी बस ये एक तमन्ना है

पर आशा यह है की

मैं फिर से सेहलाऊँगा

तुम्हारी बाहों में

तुम्हारे साथ, हाथ में हाथ

उस नयी दुनिया में

MAnjula anniversary continuing

Sowbaghya did a wonderful job helping us remember MAnjula with assistance from Satish and Tanuja and guests, all friends of MAnjula.

Finally providing food on the roof for the crows who just might be Manjula’s soul looking for food on her journey to finding a new body.

We need to cover all bases, in case she hadn’t found a new home, as yet.

Anniversary

Remembering MAnjula who continues giving.

Sowbaghya and I visited the home for elders to sponsor their meals on the 23rd March on the anniversary of Manjula’s soul flying away.

It was a hoot. SB and I misplaced each other before arriving. Then there was the checking Aadhaar (ID) cards, completing the receipt, and at the last moment remembering to write to confirm it was in Manjula’s remembrance.

The guys remembered and others joined in recalling me cycling in the grounds with the giant picture of MAnjula, a year ago on the anniversary of her death.

I promised to return for her birthday in August. We all laughed and joked, very entertaining but I wonder what they really think.

Sowbaghya is preparing for today’s memories of Manjula.

Impossible decisions in life

I’ve just read an article about CPR which helps clarify the situation Manjula and I were in almost exactly two years ago.

Manjula had a heart attack on the Friday evening and she’d had CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation to bring her back to life. On the Saturday morning she had another heart attack. I was asked whether we wanted Manjula to be resuscitated. I believe she didn’t but it is and will be the hardest decision of my life.

To this day I still don’t know and it hangs over me.

I wish I’d been able to discuss it properly with Manjula so that it was her decision so that it would be clearer that she didn’t want CPR.

Here’s a quote from the article

“… we need to explain that CPR means something very specific. It is the term we use for chest compressions and electric shocks to a heart that has stopped beating – and is reserved exclusively for someone who has already suffered a cardiac arrest. In a sense, the patient has already died: we are trying our hardest to resurrect them.

A “do not attempt CPR” order does not mean we make no attempt to prolong a patient’s life. All manner of other treatments may well be appropriate, such as fluids, antibiotics, admission to hospital, or even treatment in an intensive care unit. The only thing ruled out is chest compressions and shocks to the heart.

Like every other medical treatment – from chemotherapy to major surgery, and transplants to antibiotics – CPR has harms as well as benefits. Resuscitation is an ugly, aggressive and often traumatic treatment. Only in around 10% of cases does all the effort reap rewards. It is nothing like what you see on TV. Too often, the heart cannot be restarted and all we achieve is a cacophony of alarms, wires, shocks and needles in place of dignified dying.

Even if the patient’s pulse is restored, there is a risk their cardiac arrest may leave them profoundly brain damaged.”

I will cover this properly in our story.