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.

making connections

Thankyou to Aarthi, mum, daughter Aria and son Aroh, oh and the irrepressible dad Ajit — visiting from Canada — for a lovely opportunity to meet and get to know each other. We had great fun cycling on the amazing Srirangaptnam.

Well done to Aroh for cycling the whole distance independently on a child size cycle.

What a wonderful family who have reinforced an important lesson.

It was equally a pleasure to meet Paul, originally from the UK who after a spell of work in Bangalore also joined the tour before returning to Australia where he now lives.

Coconut water continues to be an essential part of our tours, complete with SS re-usable straws.

There’s lots of interest on our tours… history, culture, birds, each other and….

dung beetles….
Soda bottles using co2 and a marble to seal the bottle were a great discovery, now being carried back to Canada as a souvenir.

It’s why we do it…. What? …. It’s meeting and connecting with people and hopefully adding to their enjoyment of their visit to Mysore. We’ve been doing it since starting Mycycle tours and Mysore Bed and Breakfast ten years ago.

It is especially important as with the loss of my Manjula combined with the closure of the business because of the pandemic I’ve become more isolated. Haven’t we all?

The advice from the new book I’m reading is ….

that …. Connecting with people, realising how we’re part of something bigger and helping us feel good is critical for a healthy heart.

Obvious really but we need reminding…

Thanks guys…

What better way is there to connect than to lead cycle tours and share our home?

So MyCycle Tours are now available again as will be Mysore Bed and Breakfast.

Warm smiles all round

Especially here

Kaveri’s Auntie and Grandmother loving the ‘Kaveri’s Summer Camp’ photo album.

Sarvesh and I are just back from visiting Kaveri

With a present…

Yes, your guessed it, with another copy of the photo album.

Disintegrating Britain

One of Margaret Thatcher’s preferred tools was to scare us shitless by revealing a terrible plan. This enabled her to more easily get agreement to do something that seemed only half as bad.

Johnson has another favourite, from the Tory tool box.

He creates a cloud of confusion, like the airforce plane that throws out flack so the missile misses its target, he launches dead cats and kittens, custard pie distractions to keep the pressure up and to help him get through inane policies that help the very few that already ‘have’. The opposition misses its target and the general population is worn down, losing the will to live.

The so-called ‘culture wars’ is part of this, the latest being the decimation of the Civil Service and destruction of effective governance.

What are they doing? Taking the piss. They (the govt/ruling party/oligarchy/elite) — delete as appropriate— seem to have become so comfortable and confident in their domination of the masses that they can’t be bothered to hide how they use their power with complete disregard for the impact on what in India they call the ‘common man.’ We get what we deserve and of course none of it is anything to do with Brexit, that con to help them keep their millions.. Thanks Marina for the entertainment as the titanic sinks.

Kaveri and Manjula’s Mysore

Manjula wished to be reincarnated as a tree as it protected and supported people. I was keen to develop projects that reflected Manjula’s open heart, and kindness. Manjula’s Mysore, our new company, aims to reflect that approach and so Manjula continues to give

The reason why Kaveri has featured so much in the postings is that Manjula’s Mysore (MM) is considering her for an educational scholarship.

We wish to identify a young girl with the potential and to provide opportunities that weren’t available to Manjula.

Meetings held by Kanchana and Sowbaghya with her family, the holiday in Kannur, given by Manjula’s Mysore, and the school holiday activities organised by Stephen has provided ample opportunity to get to know Kaveri.

There are many similarities between Kaveri and Manjula’s early childhood. I’ll not detail them out of respect for Kaveri and her family’s privacy.

We’ve now met all Kaveri’s family and the MM director’s with Stephen’s support consider her eligible for an education scholarship.

We’re now looking into what that will mean in practice with a view to finding an English medium school for Kaveri for the next academic year in 2023.

Footnote

Kanchana is a social worker here in Mysore, Stephen qualified as a social worker in the U.K. in the early 80s. He’s since worked managing grant and developing community projects and partnerships for trusts, government and multi-national corporations.

Stephen is Manjula’s husband.

The Directors of Manjula’s Mysore are Tanuja and Satish friends of Manjula who were instrumental in supporting and remembering her after she died.

Satish and Tanuja, long term friends and supporters of Manjula and our life here in Mysore, together with Tanuja’s husband and daughter.

Sowbhaghya and Sarvesh have helped as part of our wider team.

We’re a team

Kaveri has compared us to famous characters.

Big Panda and Little Dragon

I love the reflective insightful beautifully balanced relationship. I am surprised little dragon doesn’t get fed up with Panda’s clever-dickness or in our case my bossiness.

Masha is a handful and the bear constantly stumbles to manage her whirlwind. Not unlike us. Kaveri can be challenging. 🤔

Stephen and Kaveri have a mix of both relationships, above all it’s fun.

I’ve added ……. another

Pooh and Piglet.

Fond farewell

It’s the end, my friend.
Lucie, Sowbhaghya, Rhadika, grandmother and Kaveri before we set off
Satish actually takes us in his auto rickshaw.

My new best friend and gang leader (she’s promised that I can join) has returned home today.

She lives in Hinkal over the other side of Mysore. Seen here with her mum and auntie.
I’ll miss her

Rebel’s Birthday

We celebrated with…

One Temple visit and

a cake … no

Two cakes …..

Feeding each other cake on one’s birthday is common here in India.

We often see groups of young people cake sharing in our park. Some believe it’s imported from England. I don’t think so ….

We’d catered for Kaveri’s auntie, uncle, grandmother, and wonderful that her mother and partner visited from the other side of Mysore.

That’s confirmed for me that there’s positive results from our ‘summer camp’. …. more later