Charlotte’s Web?

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I’ve been drawn into her web or her to mine.

Charlotte has been with us for a few days before starting her yoga retreat.

It’s been great: providing insights into India and sharing our stories, as part of the healing process and celebrating my beautiful Manjula. I think I’ve covered  everything. Charlotte has been very tolerant. It’s been a great pleasure and an incredible help to improve our story through its telling.

I now need to write it down!

 

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Charlotte is on a big trip and is beginning a new chapter in her life. We’ll see her again.

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. 

 

Finding more details

B77A0EEE-3E8C-4DC7-B0AD-045C3493C7E4I tracked down Manjula’s neighbours and friends from over eight years ago when she first started working for me.

They couldn’t quite believe it , as manjula was so discreet and personified humility they knew nothing about us setting up Mysore Bed and Breakfast, her managing the cleaners, gardener and drivers, the visits to the U.K., her friends around the world. To top it all, the fact that we’d got married. I was so proud of my beautiful and they were so surprised.

An especially poignant moment was when they’d checked I’d properly created a Hindu funeral and I shared the lovely video of releasing Manjula’s ashes into the river

Sumukh and I will interview them for our story.

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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

Sweet ….. Sour …… Sad

I’ve experienced an incredible mix of feelings since Manjula set off on her new journey.

It’s sweet because of our wonderful time together, our incredible memories and her presence in my heart

It’s sour as it’s awful losing one’s love and dealing with the hole she leaves

It’s sad as it leaves me stressed, anxious and depressed.

However….

Manjula and I, always looked at things, with a positive view of life….

“Love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire”

“I heard her answering me, saw her smile, her frank and encouraging look. Real or not, her look was then more luminous than the sun which was beginning to rise.

by Viktor E Frankl, who knows a thing or two about dealing with horrendous situations.

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On the 21st Manjula will provide meals for the older people at the Ashram we’ve previously supported. We will meet for a celebratory meal at Roopa.

” The soul is neither born,, nor does it ever die; nor having once existed, does it ever cease to be. The soul is without birth, eternal, immortal, and ageless. It is not destroyed when the body is destroyed.” Bhagavadgita

It’s been five months now that Manjula’s spirit has left her body. The feelings I’ve shared, from these months, can be found listed on the following two pages. Here and here .