In my new world I sometimes find myself in places or read things I wish I could share with Manjula Vellada
So I share with you.
I’m reading about ’Kabir’ in Incarnations by Sunil Khilnani . I quote from page 90 about Bhakti and Sufi movements that “both embraced the idea of a personal relationship with God. Priests or mullahs didn’t matter, precise ritual didn’t matter; caste didn’t mattter.” which remind me of the question she once raised with me: “if God is in everyone, why do we need Temples?”
That’s my thinking MAnjula and reflects our home — where caste wasn’t recognised and we were all equal.
I thought I’d share this after revealing to a new friend Anjali
We have a cup caste regime
The point is they can be used by anyone: guests, staff, family some are higher value so should be looked after more than others.
Why do I tell you this?
I joked about the caste of cups because believe it or not in some houses in India the servants aka lower caste are only allowed to drink or eat from separate cups/glasses/plates and utensils. This presumably originates from a belief that they might defile the superior caste.
I tell you this, as you know I love and I’ve adopted India and one wonderful woman in particular. We created a shared home that didn’t reflect those primitive traditional let’s say mediaeval practices.
we’ve had requests to provide a bit more of an explanation.
So this was over seven years ago, maybe a few months after she’d started at ‘Moksha Manor’. good old enlightenment street! She came every day for two hours, had to make lunch and a range of other jobs for the princely sum of 1000 Rupees per month. In theory with one days holiday each week.
Starting from the top left and working clockwise in a sort of spiral. Some jobs were daily, weekly or monthly…
floor sweeping, sink cleaning, pooja, dusting pictures, cooking, cleaning work surfaces, tables, f (special one this, looking after her skin. she was having a reaction to something, it worked out to be the sun, after a few false trails), watering flowers, cleaning toilets (yes cleaning toilets, more on that one later), being friendly to the dog, teaching me Kannada (big failure there, on my part, obviously) feeding the dog when I’m not there and bathing her, washing clothes, daily time keeping, cleaning the grills (anti crime and Monkeys) at the windows, floor cleaning, dusting and washing shelving in ‘hall’, cleaning bathroom. Clearly this was also supposed to be fun! and there were a few other more complicated concepts such as trust 😉 believe it or not and it did take the involvement of a few friends but we even managed to discuss egalitarianism (using different words, obviously) so what had she let herself in for?
some of you may remember the story (earlier in this blog) or shared in our conversations over dinner, in Mysore, about Manjula getting her voting card.
She declared that her life was half over before she managed to vote. Well that set me on a journey to help sort out her various ID cards, in a sense to legitimise Manjula in the eyes of the state! This is still a very informal society, at least in some respects, so many people don’t have a birth certificate, know of their actual birthdate and maybe even just have one name. It is, of course, very important to get these things sorted especially if you want to do any formal business or even travel abroad. So this was to become one of our major projects. I immediately I realised there were all sorts of problems….