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.

It’s the BIG boy’s event

It’s Ganesh’s Big Day

I was deputed to go buy Ganesh in the city centre.

I might be a shopper but sometimes there’s just too much choice!

Well the Pooja room is cleaned and prepared

Ganesh and his mum wait patiently on the dining table. I have to bathe before I can enter and place him on his stool!

Birthday month……

It’s Manjula’s and Willian’s (who’s he?) birthdays this month. First however it’s the BIG goddess herself: Chamundeshwari.

Don’t ask her age.

Hence the crowds for the free bus to the top of the Hill.

Here one day, gone the next.

So we celebrate it calmly at home.

Blue for Ganesh. Yellow for Chamundeshwari. Other partygoers: Krishna and Shiva.

Farrell Factoid

Chamundeshwari, known as Durga in the north, lives at the Temple, on the hill behind our house. She famously killed the demon after which Mysore (Mysuru, if you insist) is named.

Who’s this then?

I often see pictures, usually of Gods and Goddesses left under trees. It’s as if they are no longer required but they can’t be thrown out. That just wouldn’t do!

But I don’t really know

Sometimes they just seem to be random pictures of school classes or like this one here, of a Gentleman. I wonder about his story.

Maybe my Indian friends have some insights into why the pics are left like this.

So do you know who these Gods are? They weren’t left under trees, they live at our house and have a story to tell, probably like the old man.

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

another one of the difficulties

yes, there was a happening a few weeks ago.

as if Manjula hasn’t had enought to deal with in her life…

she decided to ‘tie the knot’ to a man beyond her years (the age gap is NOT that BIG – ed) and she’s chosen a man from Yorkshire, I ask you! What is she thinking of?

Here’s part one, of this bit of our story.

This is India so you’ll appreciate that getting married is organised differently, obviously and it’s like a TV adventure challenge game,  to be able to spot, be ready for and to respond to the unexpected.

There are three types of marriage. Hindu, Muslim and special. So obviously we went for the special one.. of course (aren’t they all?) .. but actually because Manjula is Hindu and I’m ill-defined (in so many ways)  😉 there is no real option. Next decision is, do you have a ceremony and then retrospectively get the Governments approval, certificate thing or do you do the registry thing first with a follow up ceremony sometime later. We decided to do the latter, with an exceedingly loose definition of ‘ceremony’.

First things first… go to the registry office  on 24th Jan, (as you can see its not exactly a marriage place, its where non-movable sales are registered!) … together with your kind, patient witnesses, with many ID photos, properly completed forms, various forms of ID, (you know the pack drill from our earlier escapades) and ‘bang’ you’re off….. the start of the thirty nail-biting days (yeah, really)  with your details posted on the noticeboard, inviting comment or maybe just derision. You’ll understand, its just to anounce your nuptials and check that no one objects to us getting married. so the machinery is well and truly in motion and that was quite easy…. I’m assuming someone actually asked the UK High Commission! I think I read somewhere that as a cost cutting exercise that the UK Government doesn’t now respond to such requests. Well, we’ll have to see.

Nevermind let’s thank the witnesses: Tanu, Vasanth and Sudha, with a well deserved lunch..

So you’ve seen the photos, and that’s just to begin the process, I think you get the gist of what it’d going to be like to actually get married at the registry office… a bit chaotic.

Anyway on the 26th Feb 30 days are up… me being me, I went to the office to speak to the head honcho, to check all was OK.

There had been no objections, phew! Did I need to do or bring anything? (I know my stuff, I’ve lived here eight years and I can get a bit anal when planning things. So I’m double checking.)

No….. no need for anything else…

1st March

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So its the first BIG day…..

remember its in an office where they register land sales, houses, things like that… lets just say its a hectic Indian office. Its not geared up for anything fancy.

So it’s nigh on impossible to pinpoint the exact moment when the actual marriage took place .

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Was it the entry of the data on the computer?

rushing off to get extra photos? (the boss was wrong, we DID need extra ID photos, I should have anticipated that one, could we find a photo shop to do some more? no we bloody couldn’t, so quick nip home),

the colour copying of the photos? (so that the mixed ones all taken at different times that I’d managed to find, looked the same),

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was it the sticking of the photos on the certificate?

was it one of the many documents we signed, or maybe the flitting from one desk, to kiosk and back again, queue here, queue there, stick it in, stick it out, shake it all about..

Bloody chaos? nah, just normal.

sugar… next problem, the registrar isn’t in the office today, what to do?… its just not a problem,  a sidekick signed. its as easy as that. Unexpectedly, I get the feeling that this journey might be marginally easier, here than in the UK.

So when was the actual moment the two were brought together.. who knows?

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This will have to do.

But we all know it’s over and done when Vasanth hands out the sweets! 🙂

Well that was the official thing,

we’d have to do something else, but we need help, so lets drag in the guests to help out……

next installment, the actual ceremony.

Photo credits, shot by Tomy Gunn

Farrell Footnote

there’s a couple of earlier blog entries that provided early clues that this might happen, check this entry and the weird form we were expected to complete, notice from the date, how long this project was in the planning. There is a whole other story about this delay that we can’t quite reveal at this stage….

You might also be interested in this original declaration from the old man, why I’m so happy

Happy Ugadi

Sort of snippet

Just back from a MYCycle tour on Srirangaptnam with mother and her son from Delhi.

Everywhere were signs that it’s Ugadi or the Hindu new year. People amassing leaves, positioning them around their entry door, creating ornate and colourful Rangoli, to invite the Gods, girls all dressed up, people splashing and having family fun at the bathing ghats.

Coincidentally, I get back to a new parcel from Amazon. A book …..

The author is an effective self-publicist and has rightly challenged many of the assumptions around the British Raj. This book on Hinduism (which isn’t an ism, just my humble view) is a timely counter to the increasing, unsettling, unacceptable, extremism that we’re currently hearing and seeing.

Meanwhile, Manjula has been back at home getting a well deserved lie in (guest numbers are reducing now we’ve reached the end of the season) punctuated by endless phone calls from our friends wishing a Happy Ugadi, so Happy Ugadi to you too.