Should I be Retracing steps?

After meeting up with our mysore BnB family at WOMAD and knocking on a few of their doors I went camping.

I was apprehensive about revisiting the same places in Dorset where we’d had a family camp to celebrate Alice and Ben’s (eldest son) wedding and my 60th birthday during Manjula’s second U.K. holiday

I shouldn’t have been.

It proved to be a tonic.

I like Weymouth
Rachel and Simon of the lovely ‘hive’ cafe even remembered our visit five years ago.
Catching a ferry
Making new friends from Yorkshire
Who’s that bearded idiot?
Then back to Ruth’s in Bristol,

over to bee-man Stephen to drop our beautiful tent, return the fancy hire car and prepare to return home

In my experience, when grieving, we regularly get ambushed by memories of magical times together. They make me both happy and sad. I’ve learned not to run away but to face them, even create them, so it was ok to retrace my steps.

Thank you for joining my journey and your support.

Canada Cares

Rubbish/litter bins with a shelf for recycling items which poor people collect and sell.

Drivers keep to the lane and stop for pedestrians at zebra crossings and side roads.

Saying sorry and carrying cycles on the front of buses.
Guests of Mysore Bed and Breakfast that welcome you into their home…. even after getting to know me.

Considerate Canadians helping out.

That’s nice.

Postscript

While I was out and preparing this posting someone came round (or maybe overnight) and stole Trixie, my new friend. So not all Canadians are good apples.

Trixie, and I’ve only just met her.

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.

Rebellious

meet Kaveri

over the next few weeks I’ll post an evolving introduction to one of our new friends.

I can hear her now. Her bossy tone wafting over — from her grandmother’s home — on the other side of the park outside our house .

She’s already featured on a few entries on meandmycycle, most notably this month when she joined the ‘Manjula’s Mysore” outing to Kerala. Check here

We began making connections some time ago

So come and say hello to Kaveri…

Rebel Number One, ….an earlier posting saw Kaveri :

⁃ stuffing herself (under her grandmother’s encouragement we’re trying to feed her up, she is very skinny),

⁃ completing her “How to draw almost Everything for Kids’ sourcebook

⁃ playing in the park

and of course she was part of the Madness in Kerala

So why am I introducing you to Kaveri? …. bear with me, you’ll see.

It was fun

the survival of the famous twelve, an englishman and his dog

We’re all back home now but what an adventure.

Manjula’s Mysore, our new venture — sponsored our happy holiday — to thank everyone for their help and helping us commemorate Manjula

Enid Blyton anticipated the challenges of five young people holidaying together but eleven of all ages in India! Now that is madness. Who’s idea was that then?

Chera Rocks is a great location. Chosen because it was close to where Manjula and I first went on holiday together but had the capacity and closeness to the beach that we needed. We ate together, could join or not as we preferred and had enough to entertain us without leaving the ‘resort.’

Holidaying as a family let alone a group with no previous experience of being together can be a real challenge but what a wonderful trip it turned out to be. Maybe our angel was watching over us.

Kerala and food, enough said.

the motley bunch say farewell, for now.

some of us sneak an extra night and have the exciting storm and refreshing showers

..

Our own fragment left at last

It was a wonderful trip thanks to all and a big hug for Manjula

Five families going together on holiday together is a challenge anywhere so, the Englishman had to visit beforehand to get the ‘lie of the land’. with a half-hearted attempt at planning. Sally and Shabaz as always were an essential help.

The days after, three years ago

Doing my duty…

When one suffers such loss that forms a trauma and it’s aftermath, it’s an extra challenge to focus on the positive.

It’s especially difficult at anniversary time. There’s a preoccupation with the loss, the guilt, a blaming.

In this month there’s also helpful reminders of good, our wedding ceremonies.

Some might wonder why I follow so ‘religiously’ the traditions. It’s simply my love and devotion for MAnjula.

I always tried my best to do what she wanted
And she was bossy

The day afterwards brings out memories of when she was laid to rest on her bed, outside our house with the tell tale symbols of the smouldering wood informing the neighbourhood what was happening. Next we’d go to the industrial shed-oven aka crematorium and before that a puja by the side led by Manjula’s brother.

A kindly neighbour brought Bhagavad Gita to help emphasise our duty not to become too attached to our loved ones and to help their soul spirit move onto another body.

Here’s me doing precisely that…..

Do follow the link and check the video at the end where I’m at one of the most significant places on Srirangaptnam; visited on every cycle tour over the past ten years.

I was so lucky

The day itself.

The third death anniversary of Manjula. We try to do all the right things.

I close the hall (lounge) door behind me as we all leave the house. This is to allow Manjula’s soul spirit to eat. We’ll gently knock on re-entering so she knows to go.
Over the years friends have created a MAnjula memory tree.

Ina the Scottish Australian who became a great friend of ours and especially Manjula calls and arranges to visit later in the year.

Thank you MAnjula for being the all-embracing you, we all miss and cherish you while continuing to feel your presence.

I have another bright idea, I might regret it.

Information

You decide

A mish mash, some might say eclectic

Useful sources of information to help us think things through

They’re videos, personally, I need a rest from reading books.

Posted 20th March 2022

The first featuring a British comedian, is about the pandemic but I’m not a believer in conspiracies. That doesn’t mean that we’re not manipulated. The pharma companies are bleeding us, should be regulated and their profits limited.

His videos are about sharing information to help us form our opinions and realise how the world works.

..

I’m really impressed by this writer. His book Sapiens helped me rethink the development of humans and to realise how significant storytelling is in how we lived in our earliest days, and now, how integral stories are to our identities, to our collaboration, which affects every aspect of our lives

.

This video is about the Ukraine but reveals his thinking about what the current situation reveals about all our societies, being both positive and hopeful.

Philosophical thoughts

India stimulates all sorts of reflections like …. What’s the purpose of the line?

a boundary, a border, between in and out? Here and there? Normal and abnormal? The limen … an important guide, the threshold, between one world and another.

If India is anything to go by, it may have no use, other than helpfully creating ‘purposeful’ work.

I pity the poor guy — with his trusty leaf blower and a hanky round his mouth, — who momentarily shifts the dust from the road and into a cloud to probably help the paint stick,

On both our trips to England, Manjula was amazed and intrigued at how the traffic stayed within the lines that marked the lanes.