Found

A critical (focussed on wish fulfilment) part of our growing team set out on a search today

Satish was captain, Sowbaghya was translator-leader-investigator, Stephen was only half there.

Behind the scenes were Sarvesh (the facilitator) and Radhika (auntie) offering support.

The subject was an increasingly well known girl.

I returned to Mysore almost three weeks ago and last week went to visit kaveri.

I was a bit confused finding their house but eventually got there with the kind help of a shopkeeper.

Only to find they’d moved. What?!

They’re estranged from grandmother, grandfather, auntie and uncle who live in a room opposite our house who had no idea where they’d gone. The area yes, but the specific house, no way Jose. To top it all chandrika’s phone wasn’t working, so they weren’t contactable.

The last I saw Kaveri with her Mum Chandrika, in June, before leaving for my travels

So what to do?

Rhadika knew she was at school through a friend who’s sister attended the same school. She couldn’t help on action day as she was ill.

So SB volunteered for mission impossible.

To Infiltrate the school.

The aforementioned team set off across the city after sorting out the confusion of where and what time to go to find Kaveri as she finished her school day.

The white old man waited discreetly in Satish’s auto rickshaw. It’s not done for old men to be hanging around school gates, even in India.

Got her

She arrived at the auto, with a steady stream of her friends passing by with her declaring ‘foreign uncle,’ as if this was the necessary proof as previously they hadn’t believed her.

Any low profile was lost.

But what a result. We’d found her, went to their new home, met up with mum and dad got agreement for her to spend the weekend over with us and the about to arrive Ina.

She’ll also stay with grandma on the Saturday

So my reward is seeing my adopted granddaughter and we’re tentatively building bridges between family break up.

Triple Result

How lucky am I?

Obviously, I am so grateful because MAnjula and I found each other,.

But as highlighted in one of Oliver Jeffers wonderful books a little girl, in my case two help bring light and joy.

It’s my granddaughter Poppy who lives in London and my ‘adopted’ granddaughter Kaveri who lives in Mysore.

and how fab, that they are both into cycling.

Not forgetting my Lucie

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.

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.

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.

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