It’s all go..
We use any and every opportunity to recognise and remember, what would have been Manjula’s 48th Birthday is extra special.
On monday afternoon, 23rd August (postponed from Saturday due to a curfew) we have open-house for friends to drop-in for a drink and cake or sweets, to visit the garden we’ve just planted, see Manjula’s two painted portraits and have a chat.
Creating a garden for MAnjula
There’s been two sorts of reactions to the garden which might provide some insights into people’s view of life, more later.
Englishman and auto rickshaw drivers?
Preparing the ground for a project in the park opposite our house at Mysore Bed and Breakfast.
Satish MyCycle Director and project manager recruited the team and supervised the work without getting his hands dirty.
Even the monkeys were entertained but not by my stories.
Planting next week with the advice of Tanuja and the gardeners.
It’s all for you know who…
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 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.
Just two weeks ago I approached the City Corporation for permission to site the garden, the permission letter is ‘in the post.’ 🙃
We, that’s Manjula, Kamlama and I, drive to the village in the Ambassador, round the backside of Chamundi Hill.
We park round the front of the small village house and follow the sound of the music to the rear. We’re met by a typical scene: a “tent’ a canvas decorated roof to provide shade, these are often used for events at someone’s house, has been quickly erected that morning. The musicians are seated on the road in centre of the tent, the men are either seated by the music or constructing something out of bamboo.
Our gardener is laid by the side of the house door with his closest women relatives, particularly his wife and adult daughters, crying, prostate around his body. Small groups respectfully go and place flowers. the pile becomes so high that they are often scooped up and taken away to be added to the ‘litter’ the men are building.
We pay our respects, leave flowers, wait a few moments and leave.
He will be buried later that day. I don’t know why. Most people are burnt on a funeral pyre (helps the soul escape?) and then the ashes to be sprinkled on water. Locally that’s on the river such as the site we feature on the Srirangaptnam tour. Some are buried.
For the following thirteen days there are a whole series of rituals and customs to be followed. These vary according to location, caste, local and family tradition. They might include: no cooking at home, a process of cleansing, clearing and cleaning, redecorating the house, showering, Tulsi plants, new sari, bangles, sindu. The widow goes to the burial place to break her bangles, takes the flowers from her hair and wipes off the Sindu.
Its complicated, formal and informal and its significance is unmistakeable.
These scenes are common as we pass through villages.
This is the first close member of our team to die. Nariyanappa has worked for us for over three years and in that relatively short time has created a commerative to his abilities as a gardener. He’s made a real and lasting difference to the place.
You can see it, as you arrive at the house, in the downstairs sit-out, up by the back door with the bouganvillia or the best of the lot, the roof top terrace. Even to the very last moments he was concerned to ensure his daughter (who also works for us) was visiting regularly to water and keep the garden in good order.
We visited his wife and family during this period of mourning to provide some cash to help them through and the gift of a little sun We thought it was approriate as he’d brought a light into our home with the beautiful garden he’d created which is appreciated by the hundreds of people who visit us here in Mysore.
Thank you Nariyanappa!
I’m often struck by how much serious illness there is around. I know there is a LOT of it around and the older one gets there is even more ! But there is a lot here.
We have a great team at Mysore Bed and Breakfast, the cleaners, the drivers and we even have a very part time Gardener. Manjula keeps them all in order, which is not a simple task. We unfortunatelay lost Yogananda one of our local drivers, just recently.
Our Gardener, Narianappa, who has created a lovely garden not only on the roof terrace, but also on the first floor landing and has visually made the entrance and front of the building a great inviting welcome.
He always works in a non assuming sort of way, peddling everywhere on his trusty old sit-up-and-beg cycle gets on well with all his many clients in Mysore and has created luscious, lively gardens all around the area and further afield.
Here is Narianappa with his daughter and nephew working on the garden.
Well he’s been at home for some weeks now after an operation for cancer. They think his kidney is not now working and he may be jaundiced. His daughter who also cleans for us has passed on a message that we should look for another gardener. He goes back to the hospital today and the family are offering their own kidneys.
It doesn’t look good