Little rituals

For almost 2 1/2 years I’ve received daily iPhone notifications —like the one below —reminding me to switch the water on and off. This is to pump water from the sump to the header tank and for the house to not run dry (a common system where we live). The messages were set up by Tom after we realised I needed a reminder. Without Manjula’s physical presence in the house it wouldn’t get done.

MAnjula collected coins in a make up bag. Each morning I take out ten rupees for my morning tea break while walking with Lucie. Thanks Manj.

Lucie waits patiently at the top of the stairs for me to go backwards and forwards getting ready to walk. At the last moment she peers in manjulas library as a reminder to check that I’ve bolted the balcony door.

I look in and smile at two of the many portraits of Manjula that fill the house.

Occasionally placing a T light in this wonderful engagement present brought all the way from Australia

A favourite photo, emergency escape and engagement present.

All pieces of the jigsaw of our life. The missing pieces’ essence is present in every one of them.

I’ve chosen to deal with my grief companion head-on. Others will do it differently. Who knows what’s the best way, our experiences are completely individual. The pain is there, whatever but I try to minimise the suffering.

Daily bittersweet tears

I share Manjula’s story wherever and whenever I can. In the dentists waiting room, even the treatment chair, during the morning tea break, handing out cards inviting people to appreciate our garden.

It’s important to me.

She probably thinks I’m ridiculous. 🤭

Last night was my second appearance at an open mic. MAnjula did get a mention (that’s the point) it was three intertwined love stories. But I ran out of time. The story of my life. If reincarnation and reconnecting souls is true, maybe I’ll have more time with Manjula’s sweet kind soul.

Things I’ve learned from Manjula

A first cycle tour after a loooong gap and what a lovely couple Diana and Josia, from Mexico and the US respectively, currently working in Chennai.

In my attempts to be the wise owl I passed on the two key pieces of advice of the many things I’ve learned from Manjula.

Be there for your partner, we’ve heard so much about presence there’s a risk of overkill but when I read this (see below) it seemed so pertinent. Our love means we should be present for the other.

The second piece of advice is to prepare for the end. In terms of helping each other plan and as part of that decide if you want to be resuscitated. It doesn’t matter how old you are.

Article here about older people and their plans for ‘letting them die.’ How young is too young?

An insight from earlier this year.

Happy Birthday Manjula

Today Manjula would have been 48 and it’s yet another reason to celebrate and thank her for the time we were together (we still are).

Manjula sent messages with her love and for me to know all is well on her soul’s journey to her new life. She’s most definitely not a ‘hungry ghost’.

Here’s a video message from my love. Previously we’ve also heard from her via messengers

Manjula captured my heart

We’ve done a few things that Manjula would like and maybe make her giggle. Like the remembering garden. we’ve just planted in the park opposite our house.

She’s left audio and video recordings which I’m using to help write our story. We’ll release some of the videos in 2022

So what’s a hungry ghost? One of the tales that will be featured in our story, to be published before we reach what would have been her 50th birthday.

How long will I love you?

My friend Zetta posted about a funeral today Where they played: How long will I love you? Sung by Ellie Goulding. So I listened to it

Today, before a small piano concert at a friends house here in Mysore I was introducing Manjula to a few more people.

Yes, I’ll introduce Manjula anywhere and everywhere. I was talking about the new garden we were creating to help celebrate her.

I explained that it’s over two years ago that she died, sometimes that feels a long time ago, others as if it was yesterday.

I know there is no limit to my unconditional everlasting love and liked the song.

How long will I love you?
As long as stars are above you
And longer if I can
How long will I need you?
As long as the seasons need to
Follow their plan

How long will I be with you?
As long as the sea is bound to
Wash up on the sand

How long will I want you?
As long as you want me to
And longer by far
How long will I hold you?
As long as your father told you
As long as you can

How long will I give to you?
As long as I live through you
However long you say

How long will I love you?
As long as stars are above you
And longer if I may

How long will I love you?
As long as stars are above you

Yes, it’s forever, in this life and any others. 🌞

Manjula’s Messengers

Last night I completed chapter eight of our story Full Full (working title), of draft three (with many more to come) it was particularly difficult to work on, as it related the story of her last year. In some ways it also helped.

This morning I was outside our house, sitting on a stone slab bench, beneath our wonderful strong shading tree. I was waiting for my neighbour, for our morning cycle.

A friend came along

It was a messenger from Manjula to reveal she knew what I was doing, supported me and sent her love.

It’s a red eye butterfly.
It continued with me for over six kilometres, as I cycled
Another messenger from MAnjula

With critical timing.

On Facebook this MAnjula Memory popped up from our last visit to England four years ago.

I’ve had a few messengers now.

Equally impressive was the circling dragonfly and even pretty moths get in on the act.

MARIA POPOVA’s brain pickings

Whom We Love and Who We Are: José Ortega y Gasset on Love, Attention, and the Invisible Architecture of Our Being

How our loves reveal who we are, an illustrated serenade to aliveness and seeing the world with newborn eyes, and a great forgotten love story

“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity,” the great French philosopher Simone Weil wrote shortly before her untimely death. An epoch after her, Mary Oliver eulogized the love of her life with the observation that “attention without feeling… is only a report.” Looking back on centuries of love poems by people of genius who dared to love beyond the cultural narrows of their time, the poet J.D. McClatchy observed that “love is the quality of attention we pay to things.”

Because our attention shapes our entire experience of the world — this, after all, is the foundation of all Eastern traditions of mindfulness, which train the attention in order to anneal our quality of presence — the objects of our attention end up, in a subtle but profound way, shaping who we are. 

Because there is hardly a condition of consciousness that focuses the attention more sharply and totally upon its object than love, what and whom we love is the ultimate revelation of what and who we are. 

That is what the great Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset(May 9, 1883–October 18, 1955) explores in a series of essays originally written for the Madrid newspaper El Sol and posthumously published in English as On Love: Aspects of a Single Theme (public library) — a singular culmination of Ortega’s philosophic investigation of Western culture’s blind spots, biases, and touching self-delusions about love, that is, about who and what we are.

More messages.

As we went for this afternoons walk a giant butterfly buzzed me the moment I left the main door.

I discretely followed it to try and take a photo but I could only get this silhouette before it flew away.

An hour later Lucie and returned home to it resting on the door knob. only to surprise me again and land on one of our windows.

From outside.

It has the scary images of two reflective eyes on its wings, it’s wing span is seven inches or more and now it’s gone.

It arrived a day after I had, once again, in exasperation called out to Manjula complaining that I couldn’t feel her presence or hear a message.

From inside

I’m happier now.

Tanuja tells me it’s a moth. So now we know messages come via Dragonflies, Butterflies and Moths.

We’ll keep you posted as more messengers are added to the list. 🙂🙃🤭😉🌞

Is there a problem?

Is there ever not a problem? But they’re always solvable in India.

This is the corporation office of the non removable assets, meaning where they exchange contracts for land, buildings etc.

In our case, we’re the immovable objects getting married.

These photos have just been found and shared by our good friend Tanuja.

I can’t remember what this was about probably just checking details before the critical point where we sign and are officially joined in matrimony.

The whole set up was confusing and it was difficult to know at what precise moment we actually got married. Maybe this was it.

Look out for the full story next year.

Sharing Shrines

our Hindu house has a Pooja room, set up by MAnjula it’s still used for certain festivals. Other households would use it everyday. Our next festival is likely to be for the big rotund guy, my favourite: Ganesh.

No two houses are the same which might be due to the specific Gods, they worship, their caste or maybe just because India is incredibly consistently inconsistent.

In memory of MAnjula as with many households a photo, is placed in the hall (lounge/living room) when people die. For the first year we’d place flowers around her every month, with a special Pooja on her annual death anniversary. This all part of a series of rituals to help her soul spirit find another body and be reincarnated into her next life.

Tanuja at Manjula’s second death anniversary.

In our house there’s a main photo of MAnjula in each of our two lounges. Fact is there are photos of her everywhere. My son thinks The whole house is becoming a shrine.

Sowbaghya who did all the preparation, cooking, decoration for each of Manjula’s death anniversaries.

Now after two years I’ve decorated her like a Christmas tree with lights all around her.

Sometimes she’ll get a little extra treatment with red or yellow dots and we’ll do a little Pooja. It’s essentially a prayer with a request to god.

We’re flexi here.

Her pic is also found on the tree out the front of our house, T-shirt’s and masks her no 1 place is in my heart.

For me it’s especially important to acknowledge our being together and celebrate Manjula as many didn’t know about our relationship.

Why?

That will feature in our story.