I like

“A pair of silver anklets poured out. He lifted them against the cheek of the evening sky and he shook them to unspool their rhythmic zhan-zhan-zhan. ‘Take them with you,’ was all she said. Years later he realised what she had really given him. The sound of her feet. The preface to her movements.

As I’m now officially a writer. Ha ha. Well I have pen and a blank sheet of paper.

I spend time reading with two perspectives: firstly as the reader, I always was, appreciating the journey I’m being taken on and secondly realising more about how the writer has created and revealed their story.

I quote another book to help reveal why I like the one above.

“This feeling resonated in me. It was the resonance that had lingered on, exactly as it does when the last page is turned of a book which reaches the heart.”

I want Manjula and my story to reach the heart as it did for me.

We’re on a road trip.
With no one left behind
To visit vetenarian hospital in Bangalore for a Lucie blood test

The results are good so no need for a scan and after handing over parcels for Usha

we’re off back home.

Stopping on the way for lunch at fishland one of our favourite restaurants.

Manjula and I would have a drive through the countryside in the Ambassador drop in here for lunch after her regular visits to the clinic.

The staff asked where Madam was, I continue to share the old news which helps recognise and celebrate.

Our collection of friendly helpful bags grows and grows.

and everyone has a story.

When I’m 64, birthday present from Rakesh, one of my sons, Why else does he call me dad?
When visiting Oliver in Vancouver, he roped me in to promoting the film day, enticing innocents to watch short films on IPad in one of those metal streamlined caravans.
We had a young guest who works in a nuclear power station in the U.K. (it’s a dumb place, offshore of Europe) who had never heard this rallying cry from our demos in the 70’s
Over eight years I set up MyCycle tours with friend Vinay who also persuaded me to lead tours for Royal Mysore Walks.
Tesco’s original lifetime bag and most other supermarket bags were manufactured by this company in Tamil Nadu before the imperialist China takeover.
India with a cow at the centre. Let’s not talk politics or challenge totalitarianism.
A participant of one of my corporate responsibility workshops in London lead a legal firms attempts to connect with the community. This child’s bag design won one of their competitions.

Really?

Could this get anymore awkward?

I blame myself. Nurse Farrell is trying to rehydrate Lucie. It’s a drip set up for water under her skin that will then spread into her body.

So it’s relatively straightforward and not intravenous. It’s twice a day and there’s lots of water.

Between us though we manage to add complexity.

Last night, after a major spillage of half the water it was relatively easy-going.

Next day, not so good.

First thing today Lucie decides to do a big shake as if she’d just stepped out of a river, presumably because the bad bad nurse dropped a smidgeon of water on her fur. So needle came out and I had to replace it and jab her again.

Next she was standing rigid, clearly uncomfortable, I got her to sit down. The early puppy training of SIT! being useless so it entailed manhandling. Eventually I get her to lie down without knocking the needle out but on my feet.

I’m now stuck here watching the interminable drops expecting it to last an age.

I have time to catch up with my writing. 🙂✍🏽🚴🏽🗄🧷🖌☮️🚭🔔 and realise there’s soooo many emojis.

But I’ve still not had my breakfast!

Do we really need to do this twice everyday? It’s taking hours. I’ll plan better with my paraphernalia around me…..

This was how the professional did it yesterday. Doc Bhagya.

So who’s the drip?

Update

The merciless drip drip dripping took three hours and we’ve now created a camel, perhaps more accurately a dromedary.

Evening drippping completed in 40 mins morning torture must have been something else problem. Only issue this eve was jittery ness from fireworks.

Farrell Factoid: Lucy has had both liver and kidney issues this year, primarily shown through, vomiting and ‘loose’ motions. She seems quite good in herself and most recent blood test suggests kidney situation has stabilised. This all might be due to age or Tick fever earlier this year.

Manjula gives masks

mask mask mask mask no shortage of them at Mysore Bed and Breakfast

As part of remembering Manjula: Vasanth and Satish distributes mycycle masks and small monetary gift to each of our team of drivers.
Our big thanks to Ina seen here on the right at Manjula’s birthday party. Ina sent money to help drivers.
Babu
We love logo as it’s part of celebrating Manjula.
Anjum
Lokesh
Non branded supplies from Vasanth.
Shafi
Akram

Feeding Manjula

First…. A little faffing, as we prepare to remember her preciousness.
Sowbaghya has prepared a full on meal for Manjula.
Some of her old and new clothing is laid out, in case she needs it, I forgot to ask what the money is for.
The chain around her neck and gold ‘coins’ form the Mangal Sutra which she wears to show she’s married
There’s always flowers and now my and Punith’s drawing of Manjula is also found everywhere.
We forgot the lamps, Manjula wouldn’t be at all surprised. Too many men involved and that useless Yindian. Thankfully SB quickly rescued the situation.
Sensible woman with fire.
Insensible Yindian playing with fire 1
Playing with fire 2
It’s the time of year when we especially connect to those like Manjula who slipped through our fingers. we do Pooja at home and some at the Kaveri riverside where I immersed Manjula’s ashes.
We stepped outside while Manjula came to get her fill. Then washed our hands and knocked on the door to warn her we were coming back inside.
Only then were we allowed to eat.

This annual Hindu event known in Mexico as the ‘day of the dead’ but of course, quite different, is known as Mahalaya Amavasya. We remember our loved ones and provide help and support for their journey to the next place. In our case to Manjula’s reincarnation.

Thank you to Sowbaghya, Satish and Vasanth for your loving kindness to Manjula. You made it very special.

Manjula and her good friend Ina have shared gifts of money and mycycle masks with each of our eight drivers who are finding it hard with very little business in these virus times.

our different worlds

It’s easy to forget how different we are within and between countries and cultures. Living in India and hosting visitors from around the world is precious. It helped Manjula and I realise and celebrate our similarities and differences.

We all generally travel for fun and many of us wish to create a shift, from our comfort zone, using that journey to appreciate how different things are.

I’ve now lived her for ten years and often forget what its like back in my own country, the disUnited kingdom.

……..

This reminds me of the quiz questions I’d give to business executives before bringing them to India.

As part of my presentation I’d emphasise that: Its ‘differently organised’ and seems transparent but can be confusingly opaque, and my favourite its: ‘consistently inconsistent’.

Please realise this comes from a love of the place and its people and not just the very special one.

Check out this selection of questions and see how you fare but remember its ‘consistently inconsistent’ and it’s rapidly changing. Some of these are sweeping generalisations but I was a sociologist. Answers are in UK pounds.

1 How do you traditionally greet a woman?

2 When do you use your car horn? a – in an emergency b – to inform other road users you’re there c – to tell someone to get out of the way

3 Imagine you’re driving between two poles or structures with enough space for one and a half vehicles, do you drive a – to one side b – equidistant from either side

4 what the ‘accepted’ minimum daily wage rate in India (this is converted into UK pounds) a- 2.50 b- 5.00 c-7.50

5 How much did Manjula get paid per month for running (managing the staff, greeting the guests, cooking and cleaning) the Mysore Bed and Breakfast a – 50 b – 100 c -150

6 How much is it to stay at Mysore Bed and Breakfast (including breakfast) for two people sharing?. a- 24 b- 28 c- 32 How much to stay at an equivalent in the UK? a- x2 b- x3 c- x4

7 How much did Stephen get paid per day in the UK for delivering a days training for businesses. a – 300 b – 500 c- 1500

and the impossible question for which there is no obvious answer: how much do you tip? there is top tip on this on our site: http://www.manjulasmysore.in

Answers

1 hands clasped together at chest level, as if in prayer and say namaste otherwise wait to see how a woman greets you and follow. Traditionally it’s unusual to touch. The greeting for a man is similar but in business might be a hand shake. In Mysore there is a more informal version of Namaste just using one hand with a casual raising to the chest.

2 all the above, most often to inform the vehicle who’s just pulled out in front of you that you’re there and coming round. Generally its not used aggressively although that is changing.

3 of course it depends on the situation, but people in India will tend to drive to one side and in the west down the centre. In a busy place with lots of people you’ve all got to fit in! The issue of personal social and living space is perceived quite differently. That includes how people look and its not rude to stare!

4 a – 2.50 most people survive on very little, its worth checking Maslow’s hierarchy as most people in western terms might be seen to be struggling but determining the impact it has and levels of ‘satisfaction’ can be different and complex.

5 b – 100 and that’s not accounting for the bliss and joy we were paid. I clearly did nothing and was paid nothing, just allowed lo live here and be fed.

6 a – 24 we’ve no idea what the equivalent would be in the UK

7 between a and b when delivering training events as more recently I worked for one of the Prince of Wales’s charities working directly with international corporations. I mostly chose to work on behalf of not-for-profits, community organisations and government. The usual corporate rate was c and above.

It’s actually impossible to know the answers and part of the learning to compare and contrast our countries and cultures. The unpredictability is one of the attractions of diving into the unknown and ‘going with the flow.’

I know little. I continue to stumble and trip in my efforts to be connect with this wonderful country and its people and even I had the most beautiful, caring, giving guide, I could wish for in the world.

Stephen and Lucie

with Manjula

x

Consistently inconsistent, that’s my India…


1 Bearded ladies

Bearded ladies, I’m joking, it’s about people wearing face masks, they do sometimes look like bearded ladies. At lockdown 90% of people walking the streets were wearing facemasks, astonishing to see that level of compliance, it wouldn’t happen in England. Now that lockdown has loosened its 80%. That’s worrying as over the next few weeks expecting thousands of repatriated Indians from abroad should be even more careful but credit where it’s due people are unusually for India, following the rules.
bearded lady with a disguise.

2 mobile phones

not driving while using the phone, haha, you must be joking… on a carefully calibrated sophisticated sampled study, yes random cars driving past me standing on a corner, before the ‘time of virus’, over 50% were using their phone. Hardly any were on hands free and a fair proportion were even texting. and the number one loser was a policemen.

He was in his fancy big SUV/Jeep type police vehicle, driving along the double road (dual carriageway) with his arm out of his window texting on the phone. Bad.

This is normal in a place with normality, that’s NOT following the rules.

This is not to say it doesn’t happen elsewhere in the world, this just happens to be were a live, it may be exactly the same everywhere else, it just isn’t

3 Drinking water

Now this is the most consistent thing I’ve ever found in India. When drinking an unbelievable 99.9% of people don’t let their lips touch the glass or bottle and this, in the land of inconsistency. Apart from being a great safe practice, this is probably number one example of people in India following an ‘unwritten rule’ seriously. It’s true, even where water is in a jug at a chai shop , or yes, on a wall alongside a construction site, everyone does it. Astonishing!