Eight months and my love grows stronger. Bittersweet: bitter hole but sweet sharing my memories of Manjula with this week’s guests.
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
Further thoughts and feelings as Manjula flies the nest.
Postings from April through to August
Grief, the three bucket method….beginning to work out how to manage some of the grief and push some away! There are all sorts of ways to deal with this situation Unreturned love of my star, including poetry and more of the journey Private mission: grief recovery and wobbles Key stages, behind the scene. Happiness is a choice you make is a very helpful perspective in this difficult situation, Three stages are quite apparent now. Stepping stones are another analog in Doddery
A significant anniversary, four weeks after Manjula died she sponsors meals at the Ashram but what are those symbols appearing on our streets. Which change before our eyes in Mixed feelings. Seven weeks since
Ap pagal hey, are you mad?
To live in others hearts is not to die is such a great way to think about it
A smile, Manjula had a remarkable beacon of a smile a common theme…
Manjula’s watching, still being the boss, sending a message from where her spirit is resting ….. did I say resting?
With a little more help from our friends an appeal for memories of Manjula. Here are some of the memories, others will be featured in other ways! Missing Manjula 2 There must be a Manjula 1 somewhere. We also remember with Jingle jangle and New thing for memory of Manjula
Manjula my muse, and she continues to be…
I’ve been fortunate to get away for almost two months in June and July Back home is a challenge
The factly fiction stories
Life in India
Phew, we have to find some help.
As part of our giving we want to do something new, but Oh no not again and
as i realise the implications of having to relate to officialdom again. Our revise experiences of sorting out IDS, Passport, visa and registering he business with the City Corporation have been detailed in our story.
“This feels com-ple-tely weird
How the heck, did it happen?
Please, move over, I’m feeling claustrophobic. We are so, not the same size!
To me it feels like the two of us are crammed into a sleeping bag, just like the one we bought for you to go camping in England. If you curl a bit I’ll curl round you, like two spoons together. Yep, yep, that’s it.
So you’re the Hindu, can you explain to me what’s happened?
OK, I’ll hazard a guess.
I must say, as cramped as this is, I am so pleased to be with you, I know its not exactly physical, more meta-physical but I can actually feel you and its wonderful. I just don’t care about anything else. I lost you and I’ve found you again. Super!
Its also amazing how we can communicate just through thoughts. Are you thinking in Kannada or English?
A mix of both.
You clever dick. You’re the boss. 🙂
Ok so here’s my take on it.
I think it’s something to do with reincarnation. Once we die and we’re released from our body our spirit finds a new home, a new body and begins its next life. Agreed?
Well, there’s also a belief amongst some people that couples can be reunited in their new life.
Yes, I remember discussing this with friends and joking about whether we’d wish to be reincarnated with our husbands! Most didn’t seem to want to be.
I did though!
You and I have had some disagreements. I don’t think you realised how hard it was for me, at times but I loved you to the end of the earth, and beyond
Remember me saying that?
I love you too.
So how have we ended up here?
The last I remember, you had a second heart attack and you didn’t want to go back on a ventilator, you’d hated that the year before, even though it gave us another year together. So I asked the Doctors not to resuscitate and you died.
Afterwards, I was on my Enfield, squinting through the tears on my way back to Siddartha Layout, to sort things out so I could bring your body home, when ….
A lorry knocked me off the two wheeler and next thing I know I was here with you.
Where is here? by the way.
I don’t know but I’m beginning to adjust, I’m not feeling bunched up anymore – I’m getting used to it.
I remember being in hospital and you made a joke about me not smiling so I giggled and smiled, last thing I remember I was complaining that my head hurt.
Then I was in a valley, having passed through a bright sun light. People were singing and dancing. I thought of you and whispered a message, that I loved you, to a passing dragonfly. Then as if by Magic, you appeared and I saw you through the crowd coming towards me.
Wow. So let me get this right, we’ve died within minutes of each other and somehow our souls have joined together, reincarnated into the same body. How amazing is that?
I feel that we’re gently melding together, we’re becoming as one.
Well, I didn’t read about this in the Bhagavad Gita! Did you?
Waahay, this could be fun. Maybe we could give a TED Talk.
Tom and Amy first keep to visit us what to them might seem like a hundred years ago. They were introduced to us by the lovely people at Indiasomeday which continues to be our favourite agency.
After that first trip, we decided to designate them as our adopted children as we got on really really well. On their return home they got married, resigned from their jobs and became nomads.
They now have an exciting adventure filled life as itinerant travellers working then travelling, travelling and working.
Tamy have become part of our lives. Amy was our celebrant at our wedding and Tom took the photos. They continued to be with us during Manjula’s difficult times due to her illness. When she died earlier this year, they immediately changed their plans, rode over the hill to the rescue….. well, flew back to India to stay with me for a couple of weeks. I hadn’t realised how important that was to me, they were a godsend . They’ve now visited three times, this year alone and some guests have come to think they actually live here.
We meet up to eat a vegan when our paths cross in London.
They’ve created two lovely videos of Manjula and I and our work here. Please check here for the videos and a link to their own seeking skies site.
Manjula absolutely adored them, Tom and Madam’s witty banter and humour fed off each other.
Did I mention they’re vegan? Real activists who live their beliefs, working hard to try and save our planet, to show the older generation their mistakes and provide a positive path to the future.
Thank you Tom and Amy for helping me survive this incredibly difficult time.
11th August 2019
everyone wants a home and needs to feel wanted
a short factly fiction tale, a monologue, written by Stephen, but its NOT him speaking…
‘Isn’t she lovely…isn’t she wonderful, isn’t she precious’……
“Stevie Wonder, really got it right…. I feel good.”
[Stevie Wonder’s ‘isn’t she lovely’ is playing in the background. Our own Stephen is out looking for something, but what?]
“It’s so crowded here and a bit too bright for my liking. It seems very orderly but I reckon that we’re held in a bit too tightly. How am I supposed to get noticed in the midst of all this? How can anyone see me, let alone pick me?
Here, what about me? Hello, Hello……, yes, me! Look here!
What’s your problem? I’m beautiful – obviously, bright – yes, I could just about be a star… reach for me!”
‘Isn’t she lovely, made from love….life and love are the same’,
“yes Stevie, take it away.
Hang on, Who’s this? He looks well meaning, clearly got purpose, we could make it work.
What is he doing? He’s got it completely wrong. No, not her, put her down, what about me? Come on get a grip.
I’m yours for the taking.
Hang on a minute, I’m getting attention from him. Yes, that’s it, pick me up, look me over, no no , you’re tickling. Oh no, now he’s putting me back. What an idiot!
Hey, he’s coming back, let’s look extra special, maybe if I send positive waves, he’ll appreciate my OBVIOUS charms. Yes, He’s looking my way again, picked me up, stroking me, yes, yes, you’re getting it. Now he’s talking to the nice lady, getting out his wallet, yes we’ve got a RESULT…. wonders never cease.
He hands a card over, payment is made, I’m nicely prepared and we’re off.
This is sooooooo exciting.”
‘I can’t believe what God has done’,
“back to Stevie Wonder, this is so my song.
I’m with the guy who picked me and I really think I’m about to meet my life’s purpose.
But now I wonder, what will it really be like? I don’t really know this character, can he be trusted? Where does he live? He’s white skinned is that good or bad? Calm down. Peace man. Give him a chance. Less of the anxiety. It’ll be OK, remember those positive waves.
Hang on. there’s another man with him who I hadn’t noticed. I can just about make him out. He looks like Father Christmas, big white beard and belly. Now this is a bit weird. Does that mean, you know, that they’re together? an item? Oh no, that’s not my idea of bliss. I’m not judging others, you’ll understand, it’s each to their own but if I’m moving into their place I need to know the set up. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m modern, I’m fresh, I’m new, I know that gay marriages, partnerships, people living together without getting married are all the rage but I just need time to adjust.
It’s not what I’d expected. I’d wanted a more traditional thing, I ooze tradition, obviously. OK, OK, Don’t prejudge, let’s calm down and see.
So, where are we now. Back home, I expect. It looks big, difficult to tell as I’m so small. There’s plenty of space, loads of plants, we could make this work even if its not what I expected when I was brought into this world.
Hang on. What do I see, through a crack? There is a woman, Now as Stevie Wonder says I’m lovely but hey this woman is something else, she’s absolutely beautiful. A gorgeous tasty chocolate colour, unlike the pasty white guy. The other guy I now realise, was just a friend. Pheeeew…
‘Isn’t she lovely…isn’t she wonderful, isn’t she precious’ Stevie Wonder, I imagine, would sing and now there’s two of us!’
I get it now. The first guy who picked me up, and bought me and the woman are clearly together, there is a soft warm vibe that I feel. I’ve always been complemented, by the others, of being ‘in tune’ and understanding the humans.
Yes its happening, he doesn’t hang around. Non of this waiting for the best time, he’s straight at it.
‘Manjula’… he says, then I can’t quite catch the rest…. blah blah blah….get on with it man. blah blah… Wow what a smile she’s got, I’ve got a full view of her now. Now she really is a star. I could get to like her. What did she say? I didn’t quite catch it.
She’s acting very shy, coy even, which is probably not surprising in the circumstances.
So what was that I heard?
Spot on, wonderful that’s made my day… no, my year, my whole life… I hope this means happily ever after.
…. she’s beaming at me and him, I suppose, and let light into the whole room, Ok I admit, probably accentuated by the fact that my box is now fully open. Whatever, its love all around, I’ve come to a wonderful home. Yeeeeees!
She takes me out of the box, Strokes me. She’s radiant, I really really love this, and her, I’m going to be so happy.
He slips me on her finger. She had said yes, I’m over the moon.
This is absolutely wonderful. I have my very own family.
Life settles down to a sort of normality, a routine. I’ve been her engagement ring now for over two years. I’ve travelled to England (where he is from), been photographed so many times, shown to what seems to be absolutely everyone, mainly foreigners admittedly. I’m not always on her finger, only on special occasions and when she has on her ‘sunday best.’ But it’s then I’m at my best. We were made for each other.
Otherwise I’m placed back in the box or wrapped in a tissue, and tucked away in a warm place in her bra, under her mattress, in the midst of her many many saris or bedside drawer.
Since that very first day it’s been an absolute joy. This is a very happy house with many people from Mysore and around and from all over the world (whatever that is) constantly coming and going and I’ve even got used to the big black dog.
I had expected a companion, yes a wedding ring but it seems like its not their thing. There was however the crowning glory and yes, eventually TWO YEARS LATER they did get married (twice), so we all had our day of celebrating their love.
Manjula was at her most beautiful, whether at the registry office, in the field, on the Tonga, by the river or for lunch hotel, she beamed like a constant smiling beacon, a lighthouse lighting the way for us all.”
“So what’s happening today? It’s almost four years since their engagement and over a year since they married. Everything is out of sorts. Manjula’s husband who I now realise is called Stephen or maybe Stevie, but he’s not a wonder! As you will soon see.
Manjula left the house yesterday in the Ambassador car with Stephen her driver. She left me at home so I thought it was maybe one of her regular trips to a clinic or hospital. Its unusual as she’s pretty much been been here constantly for most of the last year and she hasn’t taken me!
So what’s he doing now? Stephen has come back on his own. Well he’s clearly sad and his eyes are wet.
I’m wrapped in tissue paper, I think I’m under the mattress, which he’s lifted.
Hey! I’m here, be careful! Stop whatever you’re doing. Woooooooaah I’m sent flying through the air, roll along the floor and come to rest in the corner of the room.
The mattress followed by the cot, the bed itself are taken out of the room and outside, what is going on?
Whatever, I’m in the corner of the room and he has no idea that I’m here.
Hey You? Steeeephen, your klutz.. I’m here. Here in the dark in the corner, under something. Come and pick me up. Please.
I give up. It’s been hours or maybe days I have no way of telling. How will he ever find me?
Hang on someone is coming. It’s not him, Stephen the careless. It’s a woman, not my Manjula.
Here, look this way!
She is scanning and has eagle eyes, finds me, picks me up, I’m up up and away… and puts me in a warm place.
My friend Brian, from the UK, and I bought Manjula’s engagement ring at a jewellers in Mysore. On that very day I asked Manjula to marry me. Thankfully she said yes. That was four years ago. We’d been together in one way and another for nine years until she died earlier this year. On the day she died, as part of the Hindu rituals, she was brought home and laid on her bed, that I’d placed outside the house for people to visit, show their love and do the necessary pooja.
I have no idea if rings can appreciate whats happening to them.
The ring is now lost. I have no idea what happened to it. Maybe it was tucked away under the mattress and I lost it when I lifted the mattress then someone else found it, maybe it was taken in the chaos of that day when people were in and out of our house, I just don’t know. It’s not important now.
I’ll be posting ‘creative’ fiction and Manjula’s own actual story, a memoir, over the next few months on http://www.meandmycycle.com
Mysore, July 2019
Meet our friends
Ina (aka Thomasina) is one of our more cherished guests. She travelled to Australia, as a young child, with her parents on an assisted passage from Scotland over sixty years ago. So please note, all Australians that went from the U.K. are not crooks 😉 it’s a joke, ok? She’s just been telling me about that first voyage and how they stopped off in Sri Lanka.
Ina first visited us in Mysore five years ago with a plan to meet with Dorjee, a Tibetan Monk living close by in Bylakuppe (reputedly the biggest Tibetan settlement in India, less than two hours away). She had sponsored him for almost twenty years since he was a thirteen year old child when he first came to India. She brought chaos with her on the very first visit. Manjula was away at her mothers, Ina managed to lock me out of the house and brought an unexpected although very welcome guest …. a gate-crashing monk. 🙃
This was their first meeting. A wonderful occasion we were so happy to be part of..
Ina is from Adelaide in Australia with a lovely family her daughter Naomi, son Daniel and four lovely grand children. She has now visited each year, only missing once when Manjula and I were in the UK and became Manjula’s closest friend amongst the many close friends from our guests.
Ina’s also widowed, as her Singaporean husband Daniel died almost exactly ten years ago. So she has personal insights and has been incredibly supportive, helping me through this astonishingly difficult time.
I would often joke with Manjula that Ina has one of the strongest Scottish accents I’ve ever heard yet has lived in Australia since just a few years old. How did that happen then? She has been known to interpret for other guests yet Manjula never had any problems understanding her.
Ina is with us now and is constantly regaling me with her intimate stories of the time she spent with Manjula. They’d go out on trips together as they did last year to Bylakuppe, we’d celebrate Manjula’s 45th birthday as a group. Birthday breakfast was Ina setting the table, Willian (workawayer from Brazil) chopping the fruit and moi, making the mushies, eggs and toast. We were all on tenterhooks will it meet Madam’s high expectations? Manjula was the boss!
Manjula admired Ina’s jazzy shoes and just a few weeks later, a parcel arrived in the post, shoes for Manjula.
It’s all a bit of a mixed blessing, as life is now, because I love to hear about Manjula and remember her especially through a close friends eyes but it also reminds me of what I’m missing. We recall how Manjula was so giving and how everyone that’s ever visited us, has taken a bit of Manjula away with them.
My beautiful, who has gone and left me.
I realise that Ina is a goldmine of reminiscences and must capture whatever I can from her memories of Manjula to help grow Manjula’s story that I’ll post over the next few months. So this morning Faizan came to video Ina’s reminiscences of Manjula.
I do wonder however how Ina will manage during this visit, without Manjula and having to tolerate too much of that chap…. what’s his name again? You know the beautiful Manjula’s husband!
She’s dreaming, check this latest episode from Ina’s stay.
I’ve had to add a bit more… to Ina’s bit on the site. These photos come from her second visit and I’ve now realised how important a person Manjula was to Ina as I’d realised before how Ina was so important to Manjula. Its been hard for Ina being here without her great friend and having to tolerate the Englishman but its been wonderful seeing my beautiful wife from even more angles.