After life

New park benches are sponsored by Netflix linked to Ricky Gervais’s series, in association with a charity tackling mental health issues.

They’ve placed them in different locations in the U.K.

An insightful series dealing with his reactions after the death of his wife. It helped me and it resonates with so many of the impacts of the loss.

We’ve done it too

Manjula’s Mysore had previously installed benches in a museum garden and the park opposite our house.

Vancouver again

Photos for everyone but especially my Indian friends to show how different it is here.

In and around the city.

A seagull harassing a family

Barnacles?
Vegan and beer

The city is surrounded by mountains and sea.

Toilets are for everyone, obviously.

Vancouver

Reminded of this wonderful city, visiting my youngest son Oliver, first time in three years.

Well done Ol, great success, I’m so impressed

As everywhere it somehow stimulates memories of elsewhere. I last visited shortly after Manjula died.

They’re at it again

Or preparing for another one.
Satish project director with his team, planning or trying to make sense of the firangi’s bizarre ideas

The wonderful team at Mysore City Corporation

Have kindly agreed to the extension of Manjula’s Garden in the park opposite our house.

Here’s the video I provided to make the case

One of Manjula’s benches in the background.

Swimming and snakes

The day started so well, with Kaveri swimming in the Kaveri.

After a quick change, that’ll. Be five rupees thank you.

Being watched by the cheeky monkeys.

Lucie was picked up much later and then wouldn’t leave the car.

Rat snakes, cavorting but not dangerous and easily managed by the snake man. She has disappeared. He was relaxing and recovering from all the hard work 🤔 so he was slow, lethargic and easily nabbbed.

MyCycle Tours begin again

After soooooo long without leading tours, they are now coming thick and fast, recently with a tour each week and for good measure a short cycle ride with a little known girl.

Grabbing a dosa for breakfast on the island is becoming popular

Todays tour was for Tilley and Jessie friends from the UK who I know through a very good friend Emma. Also on the tour was someone who will remain ‘nameless’ for a little longer.

They are travelling throughout India and I’m exhausted hearing about it, but its sounds that its been fun and as with all of us learned so much from the wonderful experiences that INDIA provides to us all.

Spotting the sheep, flowers, goats, butterflies and birds, not to forget the general craziness, has always been a popular part of the tour, a new interest has become the dung beetles. They’ve also met Kaveri, or at least the goddess, and the mini version of her will join us for breakfast.

Today we had to contend with the guide running out of petrol en route to the island, a political demonstration and our route blocked by trees. Nothing is ever straightforward in India seems a slight understatement.

MyCycle Tours will be available again in September.

It’s a joke….

And the one’s I like are also serious.

A very good friend — who will remain nameless, until I get his permission — is responsible for this.

We met during the initial lockdown. We were still allowed to cycle, as I did most mornings. We had great conversations as we cycled together.

I joked that he was receiving a degree in critical thinking, in return I was losing years by the day, sharing insights and learning from someone over forty years younger.

At first he didn’t admit to his parents that he was cycling with a Firangi, a foreigner.

There were some sensitivities in the community as they were confused about where the virus might be caught. Obviously, Foreigners might have brought it into the country.

When he did tell his parents, I became known as Tata or grandfather.

Some weeks later we cycled on my favourite place srirangapatnam and met up with his extended family for breakfast. Great!

His mum declared later that I wasn’t a Tata, more an uncle.

Thanks Amma, I appreciate that, for me it is acceptance and that I’m younger than expected.

Later nameless reflected and decided that godfather was more appropriate. I like that too.

As I’ve now turned 65 — he says with a wobbly voice, while leaning on his stick — and finding new things to do in the community that commemorate MAnjula, it seems to fit.

Over the past few months you might have noticed a little girl. I’m trying to get her mum to let me to finance her education. Now that really is being a Godfather.

So I’ve used one of Kaveri’s paintings of me and created a card.

Nameless and Kaveri will be the first to get one of my super new jokey-serious cards to remind them I’m here for you.

On the back are details of how to make contact whenever you wish for whatever reason.

Yes I’ve obliterated some of the details. It’s not for everyone 🤭

Footnote: the term Godfather is not intended to reflect any diety or relate to any Christian rituals nor resemble anyone living, dead or in the afterlife.

Mysore traffic mayhem

It gets worse every day

The bad behaviour becomes more apparent as the traffic increases., that will get worse as we become more ‘developed’.

Why?

Where to start…

The chaos at junctions when the lights turn green, as many are in the wrong lanes and there are more lanes than the markings indicate. The erratic driving which is not always because they’ve poor driving skills, most drivers are on the phone, but it’s not smart….

The lack of awareness and perennial indifference carry some of the blame, but it begins early on at the driving school and how people get their licence is a wonder to behold.

Many driving schools bring their learners through Siddarthanagar, our layout, for lessons, it’s unbelievable. I couldn’t even begin to tell you and I’ll leave my grumbles about what they’re taught to do with the horn, to the next posting.

Here’s examples that friends have told me about their tests.

An American friend had both a two wheeler (motorbike) and four wheeler (car) test on different days.

The examiner instructed him to drive up the road, round the roundabout and back to the start. He passed.

Next the examiner got in the car. Already an improvement. “Drive ahead, turn left , straight, turn right, stop.” My friend thought this was serious. “Stop here” The examiner got out of the car and entered a hotel (restaurant) leaving a few minutes later with ‘a parcel’ (takeaways) for the office. “Drive back to the RTO (office). You’ve passed.”

A neighbour’s daughter just paid the bribe, probably through a middle-man I’m not sure whether she’s actually driven to this day.

Another friend went to the new ‘automated’ track designed to put you through a series of situations and manoeuvres. The examiner gets in the car, you move forward, pay your bribe and you’re off. The examiner uses the (dual drive) pedals to ensure you brake properly and even helps you steer by lightly holding the steering wheel. Once again, it’s a pass.

If that wasn’t bad enough one proposal is to delegate the issuing of driving licences to the instructors. Really?

This Facebook posting following a column in the ‘Star of Mysore’ is what got me going. I’ve cycled, and ridden scooters, Enfield, van, Jeep and Manjula’s beautiful Ambassador on local roads.

The biggest challenge?

It’s a toss up between the ‘rash’ driving and constant pot holes, even on newly repaired roads it sometimes feels like you’re driving sideways.

Exhausting but fulfilling Kaveri day.

Kaveri (also anglicised as Cauvery) is named after the holy river, one of the seven holiest in India, a Hindu goddess, who is known for her strength of character and giving nature. As usual the stories vary.

Kaveri and I eventually get a day together but she isn’t dressed for cycling
So I find one of our famous T shirts for her and buy shorts on the island.

The Kaveri river rises in the western ghats in Kodak (Coorg) passing through Karnataka and Tamil Nadu before reaching the Bay of Bengal.

On its journey east it splits to form three islands, one of which is Srirangapatna, featured on our main mycycle tour.

The river helps feed the irrigation systems especially around Srirangaptnam and is source of conflict between the two states.

Some idiot can’t be trusted with a smart phone.
Resting after a hard day, she is over 60
Satish Uncle drives Kaveri (back in her Sunday Best) to Hinkal, in his autorickshaw, as Manjula’s Ambassador has now gone home for a rest.