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.