Walking Luci

We’re out on our morning walk and stopped to sit reflect and write in one of the many local parks.

There’s a guy wandering around the park. There are two friendly boys following.

What is he doing?

In his bag there’s a series of containers with what seems to be powders, seeds and maybe even snacky things.

He’s distributing little piles all over the park.

Piles of powder on the ground Crunchy stuff on top of the walls.

Got it!

He’s feeding the insects and the birds.

I’m assuming he’s a Jain, doing good things particularly for the animals and that can’t be too bad for his Karma and future incarnation!

Footnote

A kindly neighbour loaned me a copy of the Bhagavad Gita with a recommendation to read the section on death. It helps illuminate the ‘matter of factness’ of the Hindu approach. As wordly family we shouldn’t get too attached as the spirit lives on ….. the spirit moves on to another body and as it progresses becomes part of the greater whole. We’ve done the main rituals and send our positive vibes hoping Manjula has found her new home. We know she deserves a good one.

Thank you

It is with untold sadness we celebrate my beautiful Manjula. She came into my life just nine years ago…..Worried that there was no electric mixer/grinder in the kitchen.

You might never imagine from meeting and experiencing her and the spark she created the trail of positiveness she left, how difficult her life had been from the very first second after birth.

Not only has she been able to blossom and grow she has had an impressive lasting impact on all she met and especially on the gruff Yorkshireman.

Manjula’s spark, her warm and welcoming personality, her openess, the richness that she brought to her relationships with everyone, the connectedness she created with people around the world is of course one part of this rich picture.

She transformed my life and now I have an immeasurable gap.

It’s not that I haven’t known this was coming, we’ve known for years that it might be touch and go and her life might be tragically cut short.

She would often joke that nine years ago she came as my maid and now I’m her maid, so true in so many ways. In particular in these last few months when she lost so much weight and had to deal with one problem after another.

She’s not only learned English, non of it from me, she’d hasten to add, she also took on her own brand of English humour. A joker yes, quick witted but warm caringly connecting.

Good things don’t always last but me and the many many people here and around the world we’re touched by this extraordinary woman and celebrate her intensity.

For that I’m blessed I will forever cherish the time, our experiences, the lessons I’ve learned and the love we shared.

Thank you my darling, my precious, my love.

Your husband Stephen

I relayed this during Pooja at our house with Manjula resting outside. Immediately afterwards Manjula was taken to the crematorium.

It was an important statement to celebrate Manjula and our relationship.

Team briefing

As per usual. The girls are completely ignoring me. I’ve offered Manjula a new job and here’s the detail of the tasks and targets!

Ok so I’m not the worlds best artist 🙃 it’s how I communicated her job when she first came to work for me….

Here’s a photo of the original job description!

yes, there was a day when Manjula actually worked for me. Now we know that the tables have turned.

This is just my way to help support her and to focus on what’s important such as eating well, putting on weight, exercising, not being in bed too long, welcoming and chatting with guests, taking meds on time. Above all fun things and seeing the world through a glass half full

Here’s Manjula summarising how her jobs changed over time. A week or so before she died.

Whispering Loudly

I’m a firm believer in listening to the whispers.

It’s not complex.

There’s often a pattern to the things that happen, that we hear or notice, or somehow seem apparent.

They are often messages we can choose to hear or ignore.

Today I’m fondly remembering a friend, my first proper girl friend. I set up home with Tricia at 18 before I even left school. We had a bedsit. It was the downstairs living room of a terraced two-up, two down. The kitchen was shared with the couple upstairs, toilet outside in the yard and ‘slipper’ * baths at the swimming pool down the road.

Well I learned today that Tricia had died earlier this year.

I’d bumped into Tricia again in TK Maxx in Sheffield a few years ago. I’d met her daughters, exchanged stories and introduced her to Manjula over the past two years. I was so pleased we’d reconnected.

I’m sad and sorry to hear she’s gone but grateful for our wonderful times together and that we’d found each other again.

I’m sending positive warmness to her husband and daughters.

The loud whispers ? : people’s deaths, great conversations with the 97 year old and Manjula’s near death experience this year .

The message? : cherish what you have, make the most of it, keep connected to the precious people in your life, be good.

From the Peace Gardens, one of our places in Sheffield

Farrell factoid

* a Victorian swimming pool often had slipper baths alongside. Small bathrooms where you could go for your full wash. Instead of the tin bath in the living room on the fire hearth

Stairway to heaven

Stairway to heaven….

I think not!

But it is a new beginning.

We know there are many of our friends in India and around the world looking forward to hearing about our latest tussles with the bureaucracy.

So here it is….

We’ve taken the big friendly giant (BFG) step and now fully registered Mysore Bed and Breakfast with the Police, the City Corporation and the Karnataka State Government. It’s been an absolute ‘joy.’ Yes, really 😉

If you like to see ‘the big picture’ first check the one at the bottom.

Step One

Visit: The Police Commissioner, followed by the local Police Station, to get a letter saying Manjula is a cool chick. No no no…. to show there are no objections ie. she’s a great character, has no record and the Police and neighbours have no objections.

Please note we’re saving you the agony by missing out 90% of the actual experience of visiting and managing the differently organised police service.

Step Two

ok, so you’ve got your ‘get out of jail free’ card, or your statement saying there’s no objection. Now collect up your documents: rental agreement, letter from owner agreeing to you using the house as a homestay, receipt for payment of tax.

Go to the office.

Then sort out the mistakes: redo rental agreement (letter not good enough) and pay extra tax. Spend two weeks trying to meet up with the officials, get letter typed up, and on and on and on… you just wouldn’t believe it…

is it incompetence, ‘we don’t care’ attitude or an intentional wind-up?

Step Three

The registration with the Karnataka Government was relatively straight forward. Complete the online form, upload the documents provided by the Police and City Corporation and rental agreement. Pay the bill, electronically or face the ordeal of going to a state bank queuing up, paying in cash or bankers daft, getting a receipt, scanning it in, uploading it. Forget that option! paid-up…. We now await the visit of the inspectors.

Step Four

Register on line with the Police to have foreigners come and stay and complete the online Form C within 24 hours of each foreigner who comes to stay. We’ll provide more details of this wonderful…. time consuming employment creation ordeal…. later to enable me (Stephen) to fully flaunt my Yorkshire sarcasm.

So we’ve done it. The team has arrived at the top step, we’ve had our highs and lows, we’ve learned to laugh and cry, we’ve met formidable obstacles, gone with the flow, we’ve sunk our flag in the hallowed ground. It’s taken time, almost a year, we’ve grown as a team and Manjula has made it happen. Phew!

She’s a star!

Next…. we’ll we do it all again next year.

The big picture

The A team includes:

Manjula, aka the boss, on point, who has traipsed around all the offices, made endless phone calls, been endlessly put off, turned up at the key offices to find the ‘houdini’ *official/policeman/Babu/patriarch (*delete as appropriate) has disappeared…. gone for lunch, on holiday, maybe hiding in the toilet, who knows? She gets a gold star for determination, fortitude, strength, with just a little innocence in the mix. madam has seriously been through it all!

Akram, auto driver extraordinaire, helping Manjula face the torture, mysticism and labyrinth workings of the Mysore City Corporation, and hiding outside when she faced the officials of the police commissioners office or the helpful smiley chaps at the local Police Station. To be fair he’s an auto rickshaw driver, rightly with an innate fear of coming into close contact with the constabulary.

Vidya and Tanu. Our knight-ettes in shining armour. Being Manjula’s counsellor, advocate, comforter, advisor and support in dealing with the Police.

Stephen, The clerk, computer operator, form filler, recorder and scribe. He lurks in the background. In the belief that to show his pale face will significantly add to the costs of said registration process.

 

Thank you for your invaluable help!

a new direction?

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We’ve had a blog for a few years now and while there’s been a fair amount of interest we feel its not necessarily been very focussed (now there’s a surprise, given who’s written it!) and not necessarily too relevant…. thank you to those who do follow us and your helpful feedback.  We’re trying something slightly better as of now, for that read:  The management has instituted a review.

There will be three interwoven (ha ha) threads or broad themes.

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Top of the tree will be Manjula’s story.

We’ll start that first with ‘Maid in India’ it’s definitely the one to follow.

Next up will be my take on India and life in this amazing country. So maybe, it might be worth

dipping into (and out of!)42731480-A5D7-4D0D-993F-28592EEDBD5E1

51FEED26-61C2-4E8D-9762-B510F65465D41The third will be Lucie’s view which essentially is the place to find the odds and sods, maybe even the political soap box (she is a dedicated “participant observer’)  and a slightly alternative viewpoint.

We don’t offer a better understanding of anything. We are after all unfathomable people by the very nature of homo sapiens. We are, of course, living in the most wonderful, startling, infuriating, beautiful country full of the most smiley people but whose twists and turns, consistent inconsistencies, joys and horrors creates an overriding paradoxical roller coaster ride.  I hope you’ll find some interesting insights and an entertaining journey. I reckon that you’ll get to know Manjula in a different way and its the connections between the three themes that can provide more insights.

We ask you for your help…..Please do follow us and pass on to friends with an interest in India or those you may wish to punish in some bizarre way. 😉 and equally importantly do give critical feedback: tell us what works and doesn’t, do feel free to provide fresh ideas for content and suggest how we can get it out to more people. Above all please do get involved and create a conversation.

But ultimately don’t get your hopes up!

It’s not really written by Manjula (although I will be delving into transcribed recordings from her made over the last couple of years in Kannada and our own conversations) or by Lucie (she is a dog!)

It’s still written by me.

Yes the man from North England (where’s that? …Yorkshire) who hasn’t quite got the grasp of the English language but who has a wealth of insights stolen from our wonderful guests, the amazing people we meet her in India and frankly anyone else with a half decent idea.

So there you have it, please get involved, watch this space, give feedback so we can learn and improve and pass on to those you think might be interested.

We’ll continue to post on Facebook and our info-insights-tips to help visitors to Mysore have a great time will be on the main site here but the real richness,  if you can call it that, will be on the blog itself.

Special 


A very special friend, the lovely Leela, invited me out for a drink, to celebrate my ‘significant’ birthday. (Yes, I’ve been celebrating it for quite some time now!) this was during my April trip back to Blighty.


Well Leela. Is something of an innovator and is really great at helping others as a facilitator and coach. She’s especially good at using her artistic skills to help people create a shared understanding and most importantly act on it.

Come on Farrell. Get to the point!

well she’s working her magic on me.

Here is my birthday gift, drawn in the next four pictures…… and  no that’s correct I’m not 42 😉



Its an invitation.

to work out what it is I love.

what would be your 42 things?

more to follow…