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

The big guy

Each year we’d buy a terracotta Ganesh, place him in our Pooja room with the appropriate rituals with lots of food (he’s a hungry god).

Sowbhaghya after preparing himself. The small Ganesh in the middle of the yellow flowers is the one we’ll take to the river.
Typical Indian male with giant belly. Says the Yindian breathing in!
The bigger version of Lord Ganesh lives here. I bought him cheap as a left over from the festival years ago.
We’d usually buy him from the potter’s street

After the stipulated number of days he’d be taken and immersed in the Kaveri river near Srirangaptnam.

Last year there was no ceremony as it was within the first year since madam departed. This year it was more subdued.
Satish did the honours.
While they attempted to drown a girl next door.
And I finished the job, immersing him three times and releasing him into the river.
Manjula was with us and
Lucie was tolerant
The remaining gods were driven back home.

Manjula forever giving

On Manjula’s birthday she’s provided the meals for elderly people, who might otherwise be destitute, at their ashram/home. The NGO also has a children’s home which we will visit.
There are now four benches in two different gardens.
Tea and cakes in the park on her birthday

We captured each other’s heart

Cycling Manjula around Mysore

Visiting Bamboo Bazaar slum where Manjula lived as a child. Sharing sweets and showing her photo. I wonder what they think of Manjula now and how her life changed so much.
Kanchana’s team have completed a few projects including this patchwork quilt from Manjula’s clothing.
It’s designed to go on the wall or the bed.
Manjula’s memory tree decorated by our team of old drivers and two young people.
Manjula gives BIG photo album (that’s for me) and shopping bags.
Manjula’s plaque on the tree outside our door.
Manjula gives steel lifetime straws and personalised pens in pouches made from her clothing.
Thank you Manjula for being with us on your birthday. I can’t say it often or loud enough and show how much I miss and love you.
In the future Manjula’s giving will be to support to specific projects in a sustainable way.

Waiting rewarded….

Happy Birthday Manjula we love, miss and cherish you.

We wanted to hear from you on your 47th birthday and we’re not disappointed. We have a lovely message… check the video…. below

Thank you Manj.

Manjula never ever let me down and together we created a wonderful life. Thank you Manjula for making me happy.

Lucie and I, are now missing our brilliant smiling light. The memories and intensity of her giving soul of a beautiful caring, compassionate woman lives with us still.

Here’s a challenge:

How to keep in touch and show one’s love, on her birthday, when she’s not physically here, anymore.

I think I have a solution

I have found a famous time machine on eBay for sale by Leonard of the ‘Big Bang Theory’.

so I can travel back in time …..

and pass on a message

That was then and this is now. What fun and a great success but I think I’m back one day early. What date is it?

The next test is whether my strong-willed, determined most positiveness wife can somehow gets a message back to me. As she said: “we’ll see.”

Expect the unexpected

Nothing ever seems to go to plan in India……

to help commemorate Manjulasness on her birthday we’d invited a few friends to celebrate in the park opposite where we’ve placed three benches.

But two days before, this happened…..

There’s now the beginnings of a new path. We’ll just about manage if it doesn’t rain and create a river of mud.