a new direction?

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We’ve had a blog for a few years now and while there’s been a fair amount of interest we feel its not necessarily been very focussed (now there’s a surprise, given who’s written it!) and not necessarily too relevant…. thank you to those who do follow us and your helpful feedback.  We’re trying something slightly better as of now, for that read:  The management has instituted a review.

There will be three interwoven (ha ha) threads or broad themes.

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Top of the tree will be Manjula’s story.

We’ll start that first with ‘Maid in India’ it’s definitely the one to follow.

Next up will be my take on India and life in this amazing country. So maybe, it might be worth

dipping into (and out of!)42731480-A5D7-4D0D-993F-28592EEDBD5E1

51FEED26-61C2-4E8D-9762-B510F65465D41The third will be Lucie’s view which essentially is the place to find the odds and sods, maybe even the political soap box (she is a dedicated “participant observer’)  and a slightly alternative viewpoint.

We don’t offer a better understanding of anything. We are after all unfathomable people by the very nature of homo sapiens. We are, of course, living in the most wonderful, startling, infuriating, beautiful country full of the most smiley people but whose twists and turns, consistent inconsistencies, joys and horrors creates an overriding paradoxical roller coaster ride.  I hope you’ll find some interesting insights and an entertaining journey. I reckon that you’ll get to know Manjula in a different way and its the connections between the three themes that can provide more insights.

We ask you for your help…..Please do follow us and pass on to friends with an interest in India or those you may wish to punish in some bizarre way. 😉 and equally importantly do give critical feedback: tell us what works and doesn’t, do feel free to provide fresh ideas for content and suggest how we can get it out to more people. Above all please do get involved and create a conversation.

But ultimately don’t get your hopes up!

It’s not really written by Manjula (although I will be delving into transcribed recordings from her made over the last couple of years in Kannada and our own conversations) or by Lucie (she is a dog!)

It’s still written by me.

Yes the man from North England (where’s that? …Yorkshire) who hasn’t quite got the grasp of the English language but who has a wealth of insights stolen from our wonderful guests, the amazing people we meet her in India and frankly anyone else with a half decent idea.

So there you have it, please get involved, watch this space, give feedback so we can learn and improve and pass on to those you think might be interested.

We’ll continue to post on Facebook and our info-insights-tips to help visitors to Mysore have a great time will be on the main site here but the real richness,  if you can call it that, will be on the blog itself.

The disconnected

He’s talking about coal but makes fascinating points about contemporary society, political challenges we face, how we’ve created this mess and the actions we need to take

We are, today, at the end point of a millennia-long process of disconnection. Since we first built cities and started leaving the land we have been disconnecting from nature; losing sight of it, quite literally; losing our vocabulary of it, to the extent that blackberry is no longer a fruit to be plucked and eaten but a device to tie us to our desks when we’re on the toilet.

Nature was just the beginning. While this slow severing has been going on for thousands of years, the last few centuries – the reformation, the enlightenment, the industrial revolution, and capitalism – performed the amputation.

In capitalism, we have created the first social organising principle based on selfishness, the first system to make greed, competition, non-cooperation its credo. In Thatcherism, we have the declaration that there is no such thing as society. In neoliberalism, we have a system which alienates us from each other, from our labour, from democracy; a system which declares we have great choice while turning everything into a supermarket aisle full of different but identical toothpastes; a system which insists we have great freedoms while systematically removing more and more of our capacity to have any real control or influence over, or stake in anything real in our lives.

That’s why we can have politicians actively discussing doing something which not only makes no economic sense but will actually kill people, while most of the population turns away to binge-watch the next series on Netflix.

There is only one way through this – we have to reconnect. And it’s already happening. Around Australia and the world, people are seeking out reconnection in all sorts of ways. We are starting community groups, getting involved in community gardens and food co-ops, starting childcare and health co-ops, joining sharing groups instead of buying more stuff. Instead of always doing things on our own, as disconnected individuals, we are looking for innovative ways to work together, to eat together, to live together. And, excitingly, we’re banding together to create social and political forces to be reckoned with.

Check the full article here

Top Tips

Number Two

India will change you. It’ll take you out of your comfort zone and you’ll not want to find your way back. Maybe 😉

Most people love India and it’s people, an admittedly a very small number find it a step too far.

Whatever you feel it’s unforgettable.

You just need to be aware that it will seem contradictory, and unfathomable but it’s a good thing.

It helps to find somewhere extra easy for the first few days while you find your feet.

If we’re from the west. We often wish to experience, analyse and understand. We try to place things in boxes and stick on a label. India by contrast is consistently inconsistent, so to put it mildly you need to expect the unexpected.

It can’t really be boxed. It’s important that you ‘go with the flow’ you might be the equivalent of bobbing about in the river, shooting the rapids or on the ups and downs of the rollercoaster. But whilst it’s exhilarating just follow the basic traveller rules and it’s safe with mostly helpful people that want you to love their country.

At times it can feel a bit full-on and in-your-face, so you may need to build in places to stay or find hangouts that provide some respite so you can just switch it off

There’s a great article on the BBC that might help, check:

Here

Any questions?

more Top Tips can be found on our main web site here

Contact us at Tours@mycycle.co

The lost king and queen

Once upon a time. Travellers from the north of India visited Mysore. They had an ambassador and a divan. 😉

The twits left behind their beautiful king and queen who became sad, lonely and dejected.

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They had each other but were used to living in a welcoming home, bursting with life, with lots of fairs including quite cool

Carousels, let alone that they had lots of friends (ok some were subjects, but they seem very liberal and easy going monarchs). Maybe there is another side to the story as they were left behind!

 

 

Then a joker (no not from a playing card) from a far away land happened upon them.

He was in Brexile.

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He fell in love with the couple and was saddened by their state. They were lonely without their people, a bit battered from their experiences, dejected and frankly a bit tarnished.

So he developed a cunning plan.

They were languishing in the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya and the ransom for their release is hefty. So the cunning plan isn’t very cunning at all, as it’s a question of haggling. Unfortunately the joker is from England (there are a lot of jokers there) and they’re crap at negotiating. So we’ll just have to see.

What a lovely little tent!

Camping is in the blood.

As a family we camped in South West Wales most years. I sold my first grown up tent, a classic Force Ten, to myself at age 16 when I worked in a camp store in Sheffield.

This year we had a grand reunion camp in Wiltshire and at the WOMAD festival.

Every year we used to camp as a family in South West Wales, now I live in India but every year manage to get to camp in the UK.

So why am I telling you all this?

because we’ve found a wonderful tent, designed and sold by Hari in Bristol, England that is so good I want you to know about it.

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This year as a 60th birthday present to myself I bought a new tent, the one that Hari built ;-). The first I’d bought since the early 90’s (our tents are looked after and last). It’s the one above.

I say small and it is if you compare it with it’s bigger family members but it can take two people, even a family and there’s space for lots and lots of gear. Its quite bulky and heavy when packed up but nothing more than you would expect of this type and size of  tent made of canvas. It is however absolutely gorgeous, easy to put up, a great feel of round ness inside and with no centre pole!

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My grandaughter reckons its a pumpkin or maybe Cinderella’s coach.

Everyone is attracted to it and want to know more. Its not cheap but fairly priced for what it is but then again what is cheap in the UK?

There are a couple of nice personal tie-ups. Lotus is of course a Hindu symbol, it was also part of my logo for my consultancy business set up in the early 90’s and is now even a tattoo on my arm! It is a bell tent, has a clever collapsible-poles-system,  so there are no poles restricting the inside space.

Manjula has got to grips with putting it up and taking it down.

She does however still ask me why to people go camping!? It might be something to do with the rain, wind and completely unpredictability of our weather in the UK …. or perhaps camping in India is seen as something for the military or poor people.

I’m working on her.

Its perceived as a festival or Glamping tent and the big versions we’re being used at WOMAD this year

We’ve camped with the new tent in the gloriously crappy English Summer in Yorkshire, Dorset and Wiltshire. Its been super!

more details are at Lotus belle

its listed as a bud, and now they’ve got an inflatable one!

More photos are available on flickr

or come find us at WOMAD in 2018 where we’ll be using the tent

the BIG trip to the UK

Madam English, as she’s known hereabouts is back from her BIG trip. We travelled the length and breadth of the country, for over six weeks, fitted VERY important family events in, had a reunion camp, got muddy in Wiltshire, met lots of Mysore Bed and Breakfast guests, spent a fortune and had a rare old time!

Thank you to the lovely people we know and love for making this such a super trip.

Presents (limited, of course, to sensible cost and numbers), include: spinners (mad craze in the west), nail varnish (highly sought after western quality), shiny things, and various other odds and sods are being distributed as I write. A really big hit for the guy who runs the veg shop (hi!) is Gordons Gin, from duty free. He’s paid for it (we’re not made of money, although many think, I am) and he’s ecstatic about the flavour, its clearly a notch above the local gin.

Well what a trip it was……

 

We’ve covered the North, South, East and West, wet old things in Yorkshire,

 

Dorset, Teesside, Tyneside, even Lancashire (there’s long-standing issues between Yorkshire and Lancashire), Derbyshire, Wiltshire, my son’s wedding to Alice,

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sorry wrong photo (I’ll deservedly get into a lot of trouble for that!)

Oliver, my other son’s visit from Canada,

connectiong with my lovely Granddaughter Poppy, family reunion camp, WOMAD music festival,

family in Sheffield, Hand made parade in Hebden Bridge….

oh, and London, of course

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Madam English now knows why we Brits go on some much about the weather, we’ve had it all. She now knows about being prepared for it to change in a nano second, carrying endless clothing variations, layering and Hot Water Bottles when camping.

She’s so English, she has learned how to complain (Indians, generally not being big complainers and just tend to get on with it, really?) but still manages to have a great time.

we thank everyone… so much… for making this such a wonderful experience.

We’ve  lost count of how many of our old and new friends, including so many Bed and Breakfast guests we’ve seen, met in London, visited their homes, bumped into at the music festival, its been superb…. and did we mention all the meals we’ve eaten….

and at the end of it all we’re a bit tired

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all our photos (these and many more) are at the usual place at flickr

So what does Madam English think about the place?

How did  Lucy manage with Eric?

Remember this chap?

I've just called PFA – People for Animals. It's where we left him before our hols.

Well the poor little mite is still there. Probably slightly traumatised by his Shawshank buddies so it's time for his redemption.

Firstly, I have to convince Manjula. We have visited various homes with cats in the UK in a fiendish plan to subtly (yes, it is a stretch: yorkshire subtlety) show how easy/nice it is to have a cat.

One more maybe bigger challenge is to win over Lucy.

Fancy riding a cat Lucy?