What helps

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

lethargy no more

I’ve committed to writing our story but it’s not quite happening. I live in India where nothing goes to plan and I’m English so used to orderliness and predictability; that combination alone, can be a mountain to climb. In my careers, I’ve been: initiator of projects, corporate trainer and now cycle tour guide. I sell ideas, pass on the passion, create change. I’m a storyteller in so many ways, so how hard can it be? Surely, it’s just an extension of what I already do?

 

Yet, I’ve hit the writer’s fortified wall surrounded by an impassable moat. In the mix of emotions and challenges is the usual insecurity; the lack of direction; uncertainty about my ability to write the story; the grief itself and my remorse from a whole series of what-ifs leading to a mountain of regret.

 

I’ve read novels, guides about writing, famous memoirs which seem to go through the eyes, get mashed in the brain and somehow leave my body with only the slightest lasting impression. As part of this learning and the need for tangible experience, I’ve written a handful of short fictional stories and then invited what feels like a mangling through the raw roasting of an editor.That may have set me back.

 

As a consequence, the outlook for our story does not look good. 

 

I’ve now joined Skillshare for online training to help provide insights, direction and instil routine. I’m living in hope.

 

Since her unaccepted death I know I spend too much time fretting on what went wrong and the mistakes I’ve made.

 

To help create the story there is material from Manjula’s audio recordings in her own language, video recordings in English and interviews with friends. It’s now all down to me, the failing husband.

 

I feel I’ve let her down yet she always lifts me up. There’s a clue to what will get me out of the self-pitying, self-imposed, lethargic doldrums. 

 

The answer is my muse, my Manjula. 

 

Manjula over ten years has been our energiser. Everything was for her. Together we created a successful tourism business, a wonderful life, the envy of many of our guests. Manjula is the lettering through the English seaside rock. She is in anything and is everything; her pictures fill the house, the logo, the web site, our blog, every single aspect of my life in India is Manjula, her presence is within and around me. Her memory, my beautiful Manjula – will never be lost. I’ve found joy, wit, love and happiness and it continues. It’s Manjula who will help me to reach through the dirty, dusty, murky curtain, past the most difficult times, to that whole collection of memories that make up our life and that will lift me from the pits and motivate the telling of our story. 

 

Happy Diwali Manjula, I love you.

My beautiful star, ruled my world.

……

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there’s nothing more to tell you

You light the skies, up above me

A star, so bright, you blind me, yeah

Don’t close your eyes

Don’t fade away, don’t fade away, oh

Yeah, you and me, we can ride on a star

If you stay with me, girl

We can rule the world

Yeah, you and me, we can light up the sky

If you stay by my side

We can rule the world

If walls break down, I will comfort you

If angels cry, oh I’ll be there for you

You’ve saved my soul

Don’t leave me now, don’t leave me now, oh

Yeah, you and me, we can ride on a star

If you stay with me, girl

We can rule the world

Yeah, you and me, we can light up the sky

If you stay by my side

We can rule the world

Oh, all the stars are coming out tonight

They’re lighting up the sky tonight

For you, for you

IMG_3820

 

Manjula’s even got me into ‘Take That’ from the Stardust Movie.

The Phoenix Coup

Our factly fiction five parter: The Phoenix Coup…..

….  ‘life will never be the same again’, meet Maisie and her family and the extraordinary events they face in this five parter.

All five parts are now posted on line. Sorry for the delay do let me have your feedback to help improve my writing.

Part one

Part two

Part three

Part four

Part five

 

Screenshot 2019-08-26 at 08.00.00

Falling in love again…..

It’s time.

This might sound like self imposed torture, (our initials were S&M!):

-reading through the transcripts created by Vidya from Manjula’s Kannada audio recordings, or

-watching her talking to video camera in English,

-having conversations about my love with Tanu, Satish and Ina with the help of Faizan and Sumukh who are researching and recording.

I miss and don’t want to lose any memories, of course she’s with me and to you my friends it might seem a hard thing to do, even masochistic, it’s very difficult, but it’s also wonderful in the sense that I discover even more about Manjula and fall in love all over again.

Out walking with Lucie I was bushwhacked attacked with sad feelings and tears, as if from nowhere.

Only to arrive back home to be greeted by this….

Hello Stephen, This appeared in my mind when I thought of you and Manjula: “Beautifully she lived and lives in your heart and soul, She sings through the world around you, “Express your love for me by living a kaleidoscopic life” It is written as it appeared to my mind and I felt I wanted to share it with you. Love, Kali

Thoughts and Feelings, Fond memories April 2019 onwards

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

Memories of Manjula, key images around the house partly as a Hindu tradition. Manjula more memories flowers flowers flowers, pictures pictures, pictures Can there be too much?

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?

A getaway, Lucie and I take a break and then we have to leave Kerala farewell. Election time while we’re in Kerala and a reminder of the first time Manjula voted.

Here’s a plan, friends are so helpful. AWOL two friends become directors to replace Manj I travel to Europe and north America to visit guests for Manjula hugs

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…

What happens after we die and Helping children with death, discussing Manjula’s death with my granddaughter.

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

Stop the magic roundabout and Magic roundabout again are my initial thoughts that led to the magic roundabout story.

Watch this space, the relevance of Karma. I then released my factly fiction story Magic roundabout and Magical thinking helps put it in context. Then mmm.

A factly fiction story looking for a home led to a dream for one of our guests Great response

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

Oh no not again 2

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.