Manjula’s story March and April 2019

I recognise how difficult it can be to keep track of the mish mash of postings. I’ve therefore put together a sort of index list of the most recent postings about Manjula.

I’ve found it it a real help to share my feelings at this very difficult time, the openness reflects the sort of life we’ve created and the amazing family (yes you) we now have throughout the world. I know its not always easy reading. Your support, feedback and encouragement has been great.  Its early days of course to decide what happens next but I may continue to post but in a different way, to bring to you some of the stories of her life that Manjula has shared with me.

So to help you see what I’ve recently posted here’s a list (with links) from March and April, a very very difficult time.

Team Briefing 17th March, link here

This came about as Manjula in a heartfelt way was worried that she couldn’t do any of the things she’d previously done. its her recognising how things were changing and my attempt to help Manjula recognise her continuing value and the priorities in her life. Links with Manjula taking back control on 29th March link here which I wrote a few days after she’d died. its here

Lucky 23rd March link here an old man recognising he’s so fortunate and first announcing the sad news,

Thank you 24th March the statement I made on the Saturday with friends and family gathered to say farewell and a lovely video of her talking to camera here

Manjula captured my heart here’s a graphic of a birthday card I made for her based on some famous graffiti by Banksy, in the original the little girl loses the heart but not in this case! check here

Missing Manjula 1 a couple of examples of friends comments and photos with an appeal to send more examples, its here 

I’ve been so touched by the many many many emails, messages, postings from around the world. I’m also not surprised. Sorry but as yet, Ive not managed to reply to everyone and want yo do it personally. Its also proving to be a bit difficult to work out what to do ….  There may be Missing Manjula 2 might be a posting or might be a book of highlights!

Do follow to see what happens.

Bereft and Tearful, says it all, reflecting from a Mysore Park and wanting help here

The follow up about continuing Manjula’s creation and how we’d like you to get involved is here please do see if you can help …… by following the blog or coming to be part….

Ashi Vasarjan the ceremony where I immersed Manjula’s ashes in the Kaveri river at Paschivahimi. Great video although some might find it a bit hard. Its here

It’s a hot hot day, Manjula’s brother and his wife come back to Mysore to discuss preparations for the very significant 11th day. It’s not straightforward.  details of that meeting are here

The 11th day, here, was itself quite a challenge, its an important event but the dynamic of they only discovering we were married at the Ashi Vasarjan added to the complexity of the situation and wasn’t helped by their attempts to try and get anything of value to sell!! (exactly why Manjula didn’t want us to the tell them about our marriage)

Tender, my true love a few soppy words from a lover here, (What is this man like?) the photo is in our lounge and was decorated with fresh photos every day. There’s now a lovely photo of the beautiful Manjula on each floor with a special sandal wood garland thing.

An important part of the Hindu rituals at this time is to give and offer food. On the 11th day food was offered to Manjula (plenty of meat, its me that was the veggie) as part of the Pooja this food was also taken on to the roof for the birds to eat. That’s symbolic and shows that Manjula has eaten and its part of the process of helping her move on and her spirit finding a new resting place. We also offered food on her behalf, to others by paying for meals at an Ashram, a home for older people, it was lovely and its here. 

As you will have noticed there has been tremendous help and support not least from Tom and Amy who flew in from Malaysia when they’d heard about Manjula’s death. They stayed for two weeks and have been incredible support, I couldn’t have managed without them. We first met them when visiting us as guests years ago, they’ve now been here three times this year! Last year Tom filmed our wedding and Amy was the celebrant  who created the whole ceremony. Satish, Tanuja and Vasanth have been sorting out the whole series of things we’ve had to and been very tolerant of the English man’s crazy requests. Others have just spontaneously helped such as the team from Royal Mysore Walks (aka Gully Tours) who brought breakfast round one morning. Super  there have been some many great was to remember our Manjula.

I love my stick insect and she did get a bit thin with one of her videos showing her character and humour. its here

Manjula has changed me in so many ways, it has well and truly taken me out of my comfort zone now, but it also did challenge me over the last few years of helping her through her illnesses. It cannot in any way detract from our nine years together that has been an illuminating joy. Here’s one take on what I think she has done in creating our home and in becoming my wife. If I can get my head around it and  improve my writing I hope to share more of that story. The challenge is to be entertaining and accessible in my writing, erm!

I realise that in the land of ‘nothing ever works as planned’ Manjula has been my golden key, my ‘get out of jail free card’, I’m now alone but check here she’s also been my and others boss, even demanding peaches being brought from the U.K.

This whole awful experience has got me thinking in so many different ways, its a bumpy road with bumps, rocks, pot holes, mental turmoil and the grief we receive as part of the process and ‘choose’ to give ourselves….What about swopping places?  gives a bit more insight here

I hope that helps you make sense of what has been posted so you can choose to check through anything you’ve missed and get a more coherent story.

getting ready for a wedding

It might not be the big glitzy Indian affair but we still have to prepare…..

step one, decide on a location

an island …… check,

a tree ……. check,

a field …… check

we’ve got it all

erm, there’s a lot of water, a stream and paddy fields to cross requiring some nimble steps over a simple bridge (must remember to build one) and balancing on a mud wall. No one said it was going to be easy! but we will work it out.

step two

do a check list, create a ceremony and find a photographer

Tom and Amy first visited us a few years ago and have now been many times and have become part of our family. Its absolutely wonderful that they are here to be part of our celebrations and have critical roles as celebrant and photographer.

An essential aspect of any wedding is a trip to Vasanth’s house for Sumati to do the Henna designs for the ladies

Mike and Sue, who I know for over thirty years were also visiting from the UK. What a wonderful coincidence, given that there hasn’t been any advance planning and they quickly became part of the growing team. They also have the heavy responsibility of representing the whole of the British Isles, especially my sons who  couldn’t get here, but then we didn’t tell them about it…… Ben and Ol, Alice and Poppy, daughter in law and grandaughter and the other very important people in my life such as Liz, aka BIG X.

we decided to have a ‘dara’ a sort of friendship thread with wooden bead, to recognise our coming together and to provide a souvenir for each of our guests.

and finally on the day itself, we’re out on Srirangapatnam Island …

but we needed to make the place a little bit fancy and solve the ‘how to get there problem’. So in answer to the questions from many guests whove visited the famous market: what do they do with all those flowers?

even a simple little ceremony like ours needs plenty of flowers: for the horse, the auto rickshaws, the car (more on that later!) our little patch of land, (we just decorated the tree,) so imagine how much is required for a puka Indian wedding!

and to resolve the other problem: Satish, project manager extraordinaire, brought some planks from his house to build a bridge so that we could get across the stream (aka an irrigation channel)

perfect!

typical Indian planning, where there doesn’t seem to be any, yet it just comes together, nicely.

A Farrell Footnote

The full set of photos taken mainly by Tom are here

the BIG trip to the UK

Madam English, as she’s known hereabouts is back from her BIG trip. We travelled the length and breadth of the country, for over six weeks, fitted VERY important family events in, had a reunion camp, got muddy in Wiltshire, met lots of Mysore Bed and Breakfast guests, spent a fortune and had a rare old time!

Thank you to the lovely people we know and love for making this such a super trip.

Presents (limited, of course, to sensible cost and numbers), include: spinners (mad craze in the west), nail varnish (highly sought after western quality), shiny things, and various other odds and sods are being distributed as I write. A really big hit for the guy who runs the veg shop (hi!) is Gordons Gin, from duty free. He’s paid for it (we’re not made of money, although many think, I am) and he’s ecstatic about the flavour, its clearly a notch above the local gin.

Well what a trip it was……

 

We’ve covered the North, South, East and West, wet old things in Yorkshire,

 

Dorset, Teesside, Tyneside, even Lancashire (there’s long-standing issues between Yorkshire and Lancashire), Derbyshire, Wiltshire, my son’s wedding to Alice,

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sorry wrong photo (I’ll deservedly get into a lot of trouble for that!)

Oliver, my other son’s visit from Canada,

connectiong with my lovely Granddaughter Poppy, family reunion camp, WOMAD music festival,

family in Sheffield, Hand made parade in Hebden Bridge….

oh, and London, of course

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Madam English now knows why we Brits go on some much about the weather, we’ve had it all. She now knows about being prepared for it to change in a nano second, carrying endless clothing variations, layering and Hot Water Bottles when camping.

She’s so English, she has learned how to complain (Indians, generally not being big complainers and just tend to get on with it, really?) but still manages to have a great time.

we thank everyone… so much… for making this such a wonderful experience.

We’ve  lost count of how many of our old and new friends, including so many Bed and Breakfast guests we’ve seen, met in London, visited their homes, bumped into at the music festival, its been superb…. and did we mention all the meals we’ve eaten….

and at the end of it all we’re a bit tired

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all our photos (these and many more) are at the usual place at flickr

So what does Madam English think about the place?

How did  Lucy manage with Eric?

A BIG THANKYOU to Cary.

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I couldn’t have managed without you

Cary has been my key supporter and lifeline to help set up here in Mysore. Whether its renting the house seven years ago, ‘owning’ my scooter and motorbike, crazy adventures to investigate raising sheep or looking at land to buy, a listening ear for my frustrations, to help me understand this wonderful crazy country, introducing me to the ‘club’, early morning swims and being a part of his lovely family.

We originally met horse riding together (well he can ride and I can just hang on) with the Mounted Police. (yes the Mysore riding school was with the mounted police). I can’t find any photos of the cowboys!

Cary has been a real friend. It just wouldn’t have been possible without his help and support.

Cary, is rightfully proud of his heritage as a Coorgy. He and his wife Ganga, originate from Coorg or Kodagu and they have a son Gagan and daughter Sunaina  It is a distinctive and separate community or race of people who live in the western Ghats a few hours west from Mysore. They have a  traditional dress and culture, are known for being tall, proud and dependable, many join the army and they know how to live (and party!!). Cary is an active businessman and farmer but the pub he ran, where I used to hang out is no more. Probably better for my belly!

He lives close by here in Siddarthanager.

So thank you Cary on the anniversary of me being here SEVEN years!

the not so local locals

Foreigners who’ve made Mysore their home

In Mysore there’s quite a few foreigners living here. They seem less like the type you’ll find in Bangalore, who knows!

Here in Mysore, some of us have homestays, manage subsidiaries and have set up our own businesses, one even exports Henna/Indigo to south Korea!

One of these oddballs is Victor Len Bailey, he’s 75 nearly 76.

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We’re just back from a trip to visit him way over the other side of Mysore. He’s a bit of a mix!

This visit to Len is poignant as he’s likely to be back in the UK in the next few weeks to finally leave India after being here for the past fourteen years, most of them in Mysore.

On this occasion, he was remembering his first trip to India.

In a former dry cleaners Bedford truck, he’d converted into a mobile home, him, his Anglo-Indian wife and their two kids travelled overland to India, in 1970. He’d been working as a mobile crane driver, his wife in an Indian restaurant (he lived above when they first met) and there were a few others travelling with them who had paid for their passage. That helped pay for their trip.

Christmas 1970, he was aged 30, a bit old for a hippy, as he declares! Here he is, that January, ‘turning native’

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You can just see the truck in the background. They travelled along the great trunk road, the last stage being from Lahore to Nagpur to a stone that marked the very centre of the Indian subcontinent. Then they hit the road again to take in the south visiting Mysore for the first time and including: Ooty, Coimbatore and Chennai. A total trip of six months.

The return journey, normally reckoned to be 22 days was more like 40 days. Being stuck in the mountains, with snow storms, broken roads, picking up distressed back packers, breaking down, running out of money and a coming to the aid of a local newly wed bride. The mobile home continually being  a magnet and attracting locals, especially children fascinated by the fluorescent lights, generator, toilet and shower, and probably, the odd people 😉

He remembers Afghanistan and that Kabul was the nicest city, laid back, friendly people with some sadness because of how it’s been damaged by the interference of foreign powers. He recalls stopping for coffee and snacks and making Instant Whip for the Children from the Kuchi Tribe that had gathered around.  I ask you …. of all the things to give 😉 well anyway. They’re eating it in the plastic containers he’s provided with teaspoons and slowly stepping backwards until they could just slip back and run away with their well-found souvenirs.

Road conditions were so poor in places, they would be lucky to make a 100 miles in a day.

He remembers another vehicle, a bus from the UK with plenty of paying customers, a version of ‘Magic Bus’ just 21 days to Delhi “roll-up roll-up”, which had all its windows fall out through the incessant shaking.

There was no guarantee you’d arrive!

I could have been one of those innocent travellers. A few years later, still in the 1970’s in my gap years before and during university, I’d hoped to follow in the footstep of the hippies. I’d managed to get just over the European border onto the Asian side of Turkey (what a wimp) but I never succeeded in fulfilling that burning ambition in getting to India until just ten years ago.

Len has so much depth, a self-made man who can hold forth on an unlikely range of subjects in phenomenal detail (so not like me at all), a genuine guy with guts, determination and a heart of gold. He also has links back to the early days of the Labour Party so he’s also 100 years plus old 😉

During their stay in Teheran it was obvious that society would not last. The rich would spend the equivalent of someone’s annual income on a night out and it was fashionable to buy obscenely expensive things such as learning to fly helicopters. Big gaps between the rich and the poor, ostentatious demonstrations of wealth. Ring any bells?

I wonder how he will find going back to the UK and its current austerity with slashed public services and near bankrupt local authorities. He really has little choice financially. But how will he manage? The different culture, the weather, the cold? He is a bit frail and has no accommodation to go to or places to crash. Maybe he’ll just dump himself on the doorstep of the first London Borough he arrives at…  Southall which also happens to be the place where the majority of the residents come from the Indian Subcontinent!

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We’ll miss you Len, you’ll leave a gap and we hope your re-entry to the land of your birth will go well.

Len at 17.

Yes he got his snaps out!

It strikes me after listening to some of Len’s stories about how many  memories we have of experiences that help create who we are and how that will in time disappear as if it’s just a puff of smoke

…. or will it?

 

 

 

 

Fond farewells

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We absolutely love having our wonderful and diverse range of guests. There’s no continent which hasn’t been to see us, except perhaps the Eskimos and Penguins, and their neighbours.

Stephen is often heard declaring how it’s one of his best jobs he’s ever had (except it’s not really a job), because it’s providing great opportunities to engage and communicate with people and we realise how much people appreciate our efforts. It’s Fab!

We’re so lucky.

So as we reach the end of yet another season, we celebrate being one of the top 1% around the world for the fourth year running, because of the wonderful reviews on TRip Advisor. Our MyCycle family extends, the Mysore BnB community grows, and as we say goodbye, we feel a warm glow but it’s also sometimes feels sad to say goodbye.

Thankfully, so many of you return.

Stephen and Manjula