Vasanth invited family and friends to celebrate Pooja and bring luck.
Latest books at Mysore Bed and Breakfast.
About being good, positive views on humanity.
Exactly what MAnjula and her kind would appreciate. I’d have to read it out mind. 🤭
Also available at Silverfish Books in Mysore.
It’s the one day of the year when we wash our cars, cycles, motorbikes and tools, to then ask the Gods to bless them. Originally a Pooja for our weapons!
It’s the penultimate day of our big annual festival (Dasra or Dusshera). Commemorating the goddess Chamundeshwari (lives on the hill behind our house), killing the demon, after which Mysore is named.
Sowbhagyhya has already instructed me to wash my Enfield, Ambassador and Specialized. She’s now done the full on Pooja.
we say Happy Ayudhapuja!
Lucie couldn’t believe it. She’d adjusted to our road being closed because a neighbour was positive. Walking up and down the street, escaping via the park, squeezing through the railing at the road end. She could manage.
Now they’ve shifted the fence to enclose just our house and the neighbours. So Lucie’s patch is small and access to the park tied up.
I completely support them rearranging things so the whole street isn’t inconvenienced. But we’ve been tested and presumably found to be negative. We can only assume that as we haven’t heard from them.
The owners son Manu and his daughter who’ve tested positive are now in hospital.
We’ve spent three months being really careful. I’ve only been out to walk Lucie and cycle in the morning. So how’s this happened?
The owners family called me two weeks ago. The grand parents are elderly at least one with underlying conditions, Bangalore was getting more incidence of the virus, the dad was working from home and daughter not returning to school before September.
If it was available could they come and use the downstairs house? After some discussion mainly about looking after my stuff, (furniture, art, Manjula’s significant picture) I agreed. Happy to help out where I could.
Of course we didn’t expect to have the virus brought into the building (downstairs house). We just have to deal with it. Poor SB is quarantined in a small house and we have this hassle here. We’ll manage and try minimise the risk.
There is however two very annoying things.
He must have thought he may have had the virus before he came here otherwise why get a test the very next day. Thoughtless? Uncaring?
We’ve avoided the virus in the whole layout for months. Now it’s here some people will think it’s down the foreigner …… that’s annoying.
Manjula and I always tried to be kind, helpful and positive. I’ll leave the last word to Lucie.
Save that old stuff
The neighbours think I’m bonkers and a joke.
Art work from every place in India is throughout the house. They can sort of understand that, but it’s not practical or functional.
Why save the wooden wheels, the cart sides, painted chairs?
I remember as a child, the horse drawn wagons, workshops repairing wheels and tailors in every town. They’ve all gone now.
We still have them here but they’ll go. In the eight years of mycycle tours the number of wooden ox carts being made at the workshop we visit has decreased by over eighty percent.
Hopefully some will recognise what is happening and work to preserve the heritage…, fab city, life affirming trees, characterful market, .. beautiful colourful women, skilled artisans there so much wonderfulness. , Otherwise in future years the neighbours will remember the crazy foreigner and realise he was right and understand what they’ve lost.
It’s late at night and the page is blank so I turn to Laozi and Pooh bear.
Actually that’s not true. I turn to you…… to help me get the ball rolling, to create and share my and Manjula’s story. It’s the age old writer’s conundrum. As you see I have a pile of full notebooks but how to get the blank page filled to begin to start the actual story. Can you help?
If you know Manjula and I or even if you don’t 🙃 what’s the key ingredients of our story that might interest you or a wider audience. What are the main themes that will interest people?
I’m sitting on the balcony with the early morning sun shining through.
Lucie and I are back from our first walk of the day. We stopped and chatted to one of our neighbours who has husband and son at home. They’re not bored, using the time constructively connecting via the net and playing music.
As with anything else the level of awareness and understanding makes such a big difference. People just don’t understand the situation and what to do. I could fall into an easy trap and say eduction helps people understand and act. But we know it’s only partially true. Manjula was a great example of someone who was incredibly aware, in my terms. …’together’ with little if any education. She couldn’t read or write but was so clever, witty, linguist, who was a great connector, wise and SMART. Am I showing my bias again?
I have my breakfast of fruit, muesli and tea here waiting I’d just nipped out to give a poor older woman walking past a small token. I do sometimes amend my own rules. I notice a group of men having a chat on a street corner having parked their two wheelers. They have absolutely no idea of what it means to maintain distance. One has a mask on so it’s alright then, not much use by the way. Education? Awareness? Haven’t the first idea? How in any situation can we engage people’s hearts and minds? Enable them to make good decisions with their own and everyone’s interests at heart? Tall order
The city corporation have sealed off one of the parks, we have three close by. Here’s the sign notifying people.
The announcement of the lockdown was on the 23rd and came into effect on the 24th (the one day curfew was the 22nd). The sign posted on the 25th closed the park on the 21st….. doh.
Breakfast. I’m desperate Dan…..
Next, maybe managing Lucie’s boredom and my hypochondria
It’s so easy to fall into the quagmire pit of negativeness. Dwelling on the sadness of her last few weeks,the whipping stick of blame or the grief of how much I miss her. She is of course happily still with us in so many ways. I am so fortunate to have fond memories that I cherish and as the brain gets more befuddled I have lovely videos of Manjula talking to me and you. I came across one yesterday on a posting about us both coming to terms with the changes. You can find it here with her lovely humour even at the most difficult of times. I love you Manjula
Annoying things in India
I often explain on a cycle tour how much I love India, at something like eighty percent. I have after all chosen to adopt India as my home and married a beautiful Indian woman. However there is fifteen percent I can take or leave and maybe five percent that’s ugly that, I hate. That last bit includes the violence and aggression but also milder forms of behaviour. Examples of this might be Babu’s giving you the run-a-round or businesses not understanding customer care.
In my view this results from the extreme hierarchy and the deference expected of people. It’s reinforced in the home, at school or college and at work. Do what you’re told and don’t question things. Know your place and don’t challenge the way things are, seems to relate to caste.
Even in the simplest of situations it feels like your treated like a child.
Today was a case in point. It might seem a simple thing, and insignificant but I think its part of that overall problem. I’ve investigated this and now realise all the mobile phone companies are the same.
I’m at the Airtel shop, I’ve gone as my phone is not working, I’m told that the SIM card was faulty and needed replacing. For them to issue me with a replacement I need ID. I have a copy of my passport on the iPhone and after some kerfuffle get a print out. Sorry sir we need to see the original hard copy.
I’ve been a customer for maybe over 7 years. It was the number used by Manjula so is very significant and sentimental. I’ve provided my ID to set up my account, it’s on their system THEY KNOW WHO I AM but still they require an established customer to prove who they are but it MUST be the actual document. Just to get a replacement SIM card for the faulty one. This will be my fourth trip to the Airtel shop. Inconvenience sir, no problem.
I object to the employees but they treat us as children because that’s how they’re treated by their managers. Who can blame them? Employees are expected do as they’re told and not question things. Treat people like children, they’ll behave like children and not take responsibility.
For years I’ve delivered workshops in London and a roadshow for TATA that’s about empowering employees to make decisions to be able to innovate, be creative and focus on creating a quality customer experience.
That’s not valued here and is nigh on impossible to create in a system that prioritises deference, doing as you’re told and not in any way thinking for yourself.
My tolerance levels are diminished since Manjula died. She’d just laugh at me.
I went back to the Airtel shop with my ID card, fully annoyed but relatively calm. The new SIM was issued and installed by me later that day. Just don’t ask about the need to install it in a simple-smart phone before finally installing it in a smart-smart phone. BUT it still didn’t work so on my 5th trip back to the Airtel shop they’ve admitted that the SIM card and the rigmarole in visits 3 and 4 we’re unnecessary. I’m told it will be working by tonight. What lessons I can take from all this, I’ve no idea and I’ve lost the will to live.