After life?

I’m now coming to the end of draft three of our story. There’s still a loooong way to go but thought I’d share something.

As a Hindu Manjula believed in reincarnation so it’s one area I’ve researched and found incredibly interesting.

For more details from me you’ll need to wait for the book or in the meantime check some of the resources I’ve listed here. The books are available in Manjula’s library.

There’s a great series on NETFLIX

Or check out this podcast

One of the many effects of finding and temporarily losing Manjula is to push me to reflect, and learn with an open heart. Thanks Manj.

getting back into the vibe

today was a day of contrasts

I’d gone into the city for one of the endless visits to the city corporation (more of that later) then diverted to buy flowers in the Market. These will traditionally float in water in the brass Urli bowl beneath Madam’s photo and garland to go the photos themselves in each of our two halls (aka lounge or living room).

In the city were so many local women in sari’s going about their business, it reminded me of Manjula and how she connected me to so many aspects of life here. It brought a tear to my eye, not that that’s unusual.

I’d passed the iconic Lansdown building that has now been waiting years for a decision of whether they will renovate or demolish and rebuild. There’s no prize for guessing which the politicians in cahoots with the developers would prefer and why.

Lansdown Building

Then the day began to turn.

Not the hotel, it’s another angle of the Lansdown building.

I went to a favourite ‘hotel’ (aka cafe) the Indra Paras, the owners son, manning the cash desk and the waiters all recognised and acknowledged me, creating a good feeling as I ate my Masala Dosa and Sev Dahi Potato Puri (crispy hollow puri balls, filled with a mix of crunchy, yoghurt, potato and a tinge of sweet) another favourite.

Then I squeezed past the guys selling clothing and material on the pavement and round the corner to the fruit salad, ice cream and traditional juices shop for my regular sarsaparilla and soda. Again the guys at the shop all asked how I’d been and wondered if I’d just come back. No I’ve been at home here in Mysore for two years, gifting me another warm vibe.

Then the usual, trying to find an auto with a working meter, after rejecting one and hanging about aimlessly by the roadside a guy hailed my as his friend stepped out from sharing the front bench seat. 

The driver knew me, and Vasanth, and had taken many of our guests back home to the BnB. He’s friend couldn’t quite place me.

“It’s the cycle man”

I’m nothing to do with this which, just happened to be there, and represents the usual Indian randomness

So I pulled down my mask and he remembered me from nine years before when Vinay and I had started the cycle tours and he knew of our base at the Palace Plaza Hotel. 

So a bittersweet mix, of missing Manjula and realising how she critically helped me adjust to my adopted city through re-connecting with people and sharing memories.

Next: More drinks to try are here

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.

Stories

Mysore Storytellers Network (MSN)

Making space to share creativity.

find MSN on Facebook or here or instagram

Their latest event on 11th July focussed on the monsoon . The event was wonderfully entertaining with participants from throughout India and a rich mix of contributions from storytellers, musicians, lyricists, singers, poets and polemicists.

For what it’s worth here’s my contribution.

I have much experience of rain in the ‘land of grey” as I’m from one of the rainiest parts of England, and even though I moved to live in Mysore I still have little experience of the extremes of the monsoon phenomenon. Life is so easy in so many ways in Mysore

This is unapologetically raising broad challenging questions

I can feel it at the end of our noses

It’s no poem

A serious story the message is not hidden.

It’s a wake up late at night.

I’ve moved to Mysore in India, its my first time out on my Enfield 

I’m new to this.

I wonder why are all the two wheelers stopping under the bridges, or the flyovers or the riders finding shelter at the shops?

Because I’m new to this 

but realise why, as the rain falls

It is the monsoon, I’ll know better next time.

Did you feel a spot of rain?

We got our brollies out and opened them just in time

We knew it was the monsoon.

We had torrential rain for weeks

…..

The rains have broken the roads

no one expected the monsoon

the construction site sand has run away after a heavy shower

and escaped down the road blocking the drains

no one expected the monsoon

water seeps into the tarmac cracks and pushes them open

no one expected the monsoon

…..

fires devastated the forests in Australia and California

we didn’t expect that

the heatwave killed people in USA and Canada

we didn’t expect that either

..

Had anyone expected that

or does no one care

We stumble through life being uncertain about what will happen and 

how to deal with the challenges we face.

its part of life and how we learn

we hear whispers,

our gut sends messages

its in the papers, 

the UN discusses

but do we listen and if we do

can we act?

We knew all about the monsoon, the fires, the heatwave, the pandemic, wave one two and three, so why didn’t we act?

Were we Breathing Lethargy Air? 

or

Following the submissive path? Who knows?

Check them out nd join in, as there’s all sorts of different events like celebrating art.

Snakes and termites

On our MYcycle tour of srirangapatnam guests are intrigued by the termite hills converted into desirable ac accommodation.

There’s always signs of Pooja around the main hill we pass near the site of the fourth war of mysore.

This column from the ‘Star of Mysore’ explains more

Dogs looking like their owner!

I beg to differ.

Behaving like them now that’s another matter.

Lucie is increasingly impatient and frustrated while waiting for me to find my specs, mask, hat, her lead and then all jobs that meed to be done before we get out of the door onto a walk….. four times a day. I can feel her telepathic shouting AT LAST when we do eventually: ‘leave the premises.’

But I noticed today it’s catching. She stopped at the top of the stairs and before descending looked through the doorway into the library and then to me as if to say ‘have you checked the balcony door is closed?’

Just as Manjula would insist to stop the monkeys getting in.

It’s not Irish…

We’re famous for our coffee here in South India.

As someone who is neither a coffee or whisky drinker I was intrigued to discover Classic’s Whisky barrel-aged Coffee from Harley’s Coffee Estate.

What an interesting idea. I needn’t have worried. It’s an intriguing taste and aroma which I immediately liked.

Once we’ve reopened Mysore Bed and Breakfast after the pandemic we’ll introduce this great innovation to our guests from around the world.

We know they’ll love it combined with our range of teas and coffees to enhance our reputation for great breakfasts.

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. 🙂🙃🤭😉🌞

Zoom time.

It’s 58 minutes, with two minutes to go. The Englishman likes to be on time and a little early.

Tea is made and in my favourite ‘cranky old guys rule’ mug. Lucie’s medicines given, computer switched on, air bud things in my ear, matched to the comp Bluetooth, WiFi working ok. Check, quick splash of the face ooooh forgot my treat, a doughnut from SAPA bakery.

I’m sorted.

Redrafted structure of our story sent to Pam yesterday for discussion today.

We’re ready to roll.

Except woooooooooo I’m exactly one hour early the meeting is at 11.00 not 10.00!

Idiot.

I’ll now spend a few moments reflecting in the present. It’s a new thing I learned from Madam

Is this early onset of, you know A……., over excitement to dive into the ‘Labour of Love’ unlikely as I have to constantly deal with being taken over by ‘idle-ous-ness and lethargy’ combined (it’s in the air and not a new thing).

Or have I just lost it? Probably.

I’ll have to wait.

Doughnut now or later is my biggest current challenge.

Labour of love.

News Release

Cummings comes clean to British Parliament on what has been going on under the surface at Mysore Bed and Breakfast. We can now reveal never been seen before comments from the guestbooks

As part of the research for our story I’ve been reading some of the guest comments from our first two seasons in 2011 and 2012.

Yes, it was ten yesrs ago that we started, initially just in the upstairs house.

What a lovely task it’s been. A real joy travelling through time, I’m amazed at how well it triggers memories of the guests themselves and the things we did together.

It’s wonderfully warm, reading the feedback and especially their appreciation of Manjula. Frankly, I could do without being constantly reminded of who was the real boss. 😉

There are one or two that might not be suitable for wider publication…..

Here are some selected highlights.

PARENTAL GUIDANCE

“Steve you’re a bastard.” I’ve edited it in case young people might be listening.

“So we debated for 15 minutes about how to express our emotional response to our stay at mysore B&B.” and then they wrote nothing!

“What an arsehole. No seriously what an arsehole…” 

I suppose I’m the ‘has-been’ that never was.

I am of course, seriously and tearfully happy from these wonderful reminders. I’ll include more details in our story next year, where people are just sooooo gushing about ‘you know who.’. You’ll just have to wait.