Feeding her spirit

On Manjula’s death anniversary in March and at this time of year we especially remember MAnjula and feed her spirit. Others will remember their own relatives.

It’s the equivalent of All Hallows’ or the Mexican Day of the Dead. Here’s a bit about the Hindu version.

Close friends who could fit it in amongst their own rituals helped by preparing food and joining the puja.

Vasanth and his family and Satish together with Sowbaghya made all the preparations: the food and puja.

We were also entertained by Manjula’s videos.

Then waited outside to give her time and space to enter the house and feed.

Making plenty of noise as we re-entered so she could quietly retreat.

Only then could we eat with our Special guests Ina, Rhadika and Kaveri.

Then it was time to relax and remember, sharing Manjula’s trademark happiness.

Manjula’s Library

Somewhere to stop, read, reflect and remember.

The opportunities are not only in the library itself, but every space in and around our house offers a place for quiet reflection or when it’s not so quiet, meeting old and making new friends.

Join our family, including the birds attracted to the greenery bursting from our house, our pets… Lucie, billet-doux and

…. our garden.

Originally in pots on our roof, it’s now shifted to the park opposite with granite benches or hammocks available from the house.

Please come and enjoy.

Have we got it right? As in this article on how to nurture a personal library, “according to Cicero, if you have a library and a garden, you have everything you need.”

King Charles

A meeting with who was then the Prince of Wales and now the new king but who is that between them? 🤔

Yes it is me on the right. Probably in the year 2000

I used to work for one of his charities. On his suggestion the CEO asked me to organise Prince’s Seeing Is Believing Events in India.

First time outside the U.K. they were designed to help directors consider how they might be more responsible as businesses, usually by developing community partnerships.

I organised them in Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore with many MNCs taking part.

They were followed by workshops on corporate responsibility (CSR) and leadership programmes in India and the U.K.

But back to that photograph. It’s from when I first met him at one of our events, of Business in the Community, the charity where I was a campaign director and he was president .

There was another photo circulated amongst colleagues to invite them to make jokey comments.

In the other photo there was the arm of the CEO which looked as if she was about to pull him away from me.

The man in the background?

Obviously security ready to pounce.

Factoid

More on Business in the Community.

Prince’s Seeing is Believing Programme.

Manjula’s Mysore

In Memory of Manjula, Satish and Tanuja have launched our new business.

It’s same but different….

…as it will continue to provide services to help people visiting Mysore, have a great time, through Mysore Bed and Breakfast and MyCycle Tours.

We’ll also commemorate Manjula through her gifts and now with the added extra of working with young people, to help them grow, develop and thrive..

….

Most recently we celebrated Manjula’s birth anniversary with an eventful day for visually impaired young women. Here’s our press release

We’ve helped with a young man’s education and plan to do more of that next year by supporting a young girl

We’ve also:

  • sponsored meals at an ashram for older people
  • sited benches in two parks in Mysore
  • taken our team on holiday to the beach in Kerala
  • provided almost 50 cycles as gifts to individuals and organisations
Satish helping out at our eventful day for forty visually impaired young women.

Manjula’s Mysore was our domain on the internet but we’ve now gone one step further and named the new company after the woman who made it all possible.

Manjula’s Mysore will continue to do good, reflecting Manjula’s kindness, through partnerships of NGOs, business and with our team of community volunteers.

Teeny profile

Our local Karnataka media showed interest in young visually impaired women cycling on the fun day organised by Manjula’s Mysore.

Prajavani

Prajavani on the left, Kannada Prabha on the right.

Kannada Prabha

This is important recognition for our young team who gave a great opportunity to the young women and returned two weeks later to give rides to the young women who missed out.

Here’s our press release and announcement about ManjulasMysore

Bhaj to share

In my new world I sometimes find myself in places or read things I wish I could share with Manjula Vellada

So I share with you.

I’m reading about ’Kabir’ in Incarnations by Sunil Khilnani . I quote from page 90 about Bhakti and Sufi movements that “both embraced the idea of a personal relationship with God. Priests or mullahs didn’t matter, precise ritual didn’t matter; caste didn’t mattter.” which remind me of the question she once raised with me: “if God is in everyone, why do we need Temples?”

That’s my thinking MAnjula and reflects our home — where caste wasn’t recognised and we were all equal.

Found

A critical (focussed on wish fulfilment) part of our growing team set out on a search today

Satish was captain, Sowbaghya was translator-leader-investigator, Stephen was only half there.

Behind the scenes were Sarvesh (the facilitator) and Radhika (auntie) offering support.

The subject was an increasingly well known girl.

I returned to Mysore almost three weeks ago and last week went to visit kaveri.

I was a bit confused finding their house but eventually got there with the kind help of a shopkeeper.

Only to find they’d moved. What?!

They’re estranged from grandmother, grandfather, auntie and uncle who live in a room opposite our house who had no idea where they’d gone. The area yes, but the specific house, no way Jose. To top it all chandrika’s phone wasn’t working, so they weren’t contactable.

The last I saw Kaveri with her Mum Chandrika, in June, before leaving for my travels

So what to do?

Rhadika knew she was at school through a friend who’s sister attended the same school. She couldn’t help on action day as she was ill.

So SB volunteered for mission impossible.

To Infiltrate the school.

The aforementioned team set off across the city after sorting out the confusion of where and what time to go to find Kaveri as she finished her school day.

The white old man waited discreetly in Satish’s auto rickshaw. It’s not done for old men to be hanging around school gates, even in India.

Got her

She arrived at the auto, with a steady stream of her friends passing by with her declaring ‘foreign uncle,’ as if this was the necessary proof as previously they hadn’t believed her.

Any low profile was lost.

But what a result. We’d found her, went to their new home, met up with mum and dad got agreement for her to spend the weekend over with us and the about to arrive Ina.

She’ll also stay with grandma on the Saturday

So my reward is seeing my adopted granddaughter and we’re tentatively building bridges between family break up.

Triple Result

Manjula’s Mysore

In Memory of Manjula, Satish and Tanuja have launched our new business.

It’s same but different….

…as it will continue to provide services to help people visiting Mysore, have a great time, through Mysore Bed and Breakfast and MyCycle Tours.

We’ll also commemorate Manjula through her gifts and now with the added extra of working with young people, to help them grow, develop and thrive..

….

Most recently we celebrated Manjula’s birth anniversary with an eventful day for visually impaired young women. Here’s our press release

We’ve helped with a young man’s education and plan to do more of that next year by supporting a young girl

We’ve also:

  • sponsored meals at an ashram for older people
  • sited benches in two parks in Mysore
  • taken our team on holiday to the beach in Kerala
  • provided almost 50 cycles as gifts to individuals and organisations
Satish helping out at our eventful day for forty visually impaired young women.

Manjula’s Mysore was our domain on the internet but we’ve now gone one step further and named the new company after the woman who made it all possible.

Manjula’s Mysore will continue to do good, reflecting Manjula’s kindness, through partnerships of NGOs, business and with our team of community volunteers.

Press Release

Flying Cycles 

Forty young visually impaired women took to the streets of Mysore in celebration of the life of Manjula on her 49th birth anniversary. 

On Manjula’s Fun Day, sighted guides acted as ‘pilots’ steering and pedalling a tandem (cycle made for two) with the visually impaired young women acting as ‘stokers’ pedalling behind, enjoying the wind in their faces, the passing sounds and the sense of movement that is like flying.

It was the highlight of the day of activities, riding MyCycle’s tandem (a cycle for two people), for the young women that included games, music, storytelling, singing, food, drinks, cakes and cookies.

Tushar of MyCycle Tours said: “We could tell from their oohs and aahs that the young women, without sight, were having great fun. It reminded me of when I first rode a bicycle – they felt a great sense of freedom.”

Yamunavva said: “I was scared in the beginning, but the fear left. I felt very happy.” Gowri added: “The cycling experience was so good and I felt so happy that I asked for another ride.”

It wasn’t just the young women who benefited from the fun-filled day. “I began to understand the strength and courage that these young women need to be able to face life’s challenges,” said Meghana from Manjula’s Mysore “They taught us the value of a positive can-do attitude.”

Stephen, Manjula’s husband added: “That was just like Manjula. Together we remembered and celebrated Manjula’s life, her strength and kindness. With her radiant presence and infectious smile, like the sun, she magically brought life and warmth to all she met.”

“What a day. We all left feeling that warmth,” said Sarvesh who organised the day on behalf of Manjula’s Mysore.

The day demonstrated how organisations can come together to make a difference. Businesses such as SAPA, Aroma and Mysore Bed and Breakfast providing the cookies, cakes and meals as responsible businesses. Local community and art organisations of Mysore Storyteller’s Network, Vishnu Sharma Company, Divya Jyothi Charitable Trust, Faizan Baksh and MyCycle Tours gave their services.

Manjula and Stephen were partners for nine years after setting up their business, fell in love and got married. Unlike these young women, Manjula could see but she had difficult times throughout her life. She had to believe in herself and seize opportunities to create the life she wanted. She shared her home and is now known throughout the world for welcoming international tourists to Mysore until her untimely death three years ago.

Manjula’s Mysore will continues to do good, reflecting Manjula’s kindness, through partnerships of NGOs, business and with our team of community volunteers.

Manjula seized the opportunity to set up Mysore Bed and Breakfast with an English guy Stephen and they fell in love. On getting engaged it was her wish to give gifts to people rather than receive them herself. Kindness from the very beginning.They began by gifting bicycles to organisation working in the community a total which has now almost reached 50. 

Her business has now evolved to become “Manjula’s Mysore’ providing accommodation to tourists through Mysore Bed and Breakfast and MyCycle tours, which has been available for the past ten years. But now with the added extra of working with young people, to help them grow, develop and thrive.

Manjula’s Mysore is looking for ideas to do more good in the community.

Further details of our partners.