Happy Sankranti!

It’s a crisp winters morning but with a nice bright Sun. Breakfast is prepared and ready to serve the guests in an hour, so I now fetch curd and walk Lucie.

What a lovely morning, I praise a young neighbour’s Rangoli designs for Sankranti, while noticing other houses are already decorated with banana leaves with yellow painted cows passing by.


Declaring “Chennai-ge-day” (phonetical ‘good’) tea and getting a smile from the Chaiiwala. I’m reminded that …


Life’s good.


I’m happily reflecting on last night’s interesting dinner with great guests— teachers from Germany— with Sarvesh and of course preciousness herself Kaveri, Cauvery….

I’m forever told I don’t pronounce her name properly.

Her new festival outfit from Fab India


It’s lovely to have Kaveri here.


Kaveri continued her star performance. Entertained us over breakfast, helped install more Tibetan prayer flags

and become tutor showing how to draw rangoli.

Even Billet-Doux comes to look


A happy day.

Farrell Factoid

K k k kaveri is kicking.

In the past week Kaveri has attended a market with children selling their artistic creations, meeting the rich mix of Mysore Bed and Breakfast guests, attended a classical (grand) piano concert, and today visited three child focused alternative schools we’re considering for next year.

She left people impressed with her articulate English, and friendly confidence.

What a star.

This week in Mysore

Action

Mysore BnB and Mycycle tours officially reopened. Nicely Quiet with the wonderful team at Indiasomeday helping out

Spain

Like buses, Spanish come in twos. Two workawayers, the first since earlier this year contacted me about coming to work and one turns up a few days later. She’s from the area in Catalonia that I first visited at age six with my grandparents.

Eva (aywa) has already helped as chaperone so that Kaveri could stay here. Medium term she’ll be elsewhere for yoga teacher training but hopefully will be available now and again as chaperone and English (no not for me 😉 ) teacher.

To impress her with the fab ness of Mysore, we went to see a band at the Wodeyar Architecture College.

My new favourite shoes are yes….. also Spanish, from Camper.

On Saturday we went to see a play based on this book. It was organised by Anna Cheria (clearly she’s a mover and a shaker, someone to connect with and a really good sign is that many of our networks overlap). The book is one of my granddaughter’s favourites. The illustrator and his other books are heavily featured in Manjula’s library.

Kitten Wrangler

Kaveri and I let the kittens and Billet Doux into the house for the first time. Fun.

Dog planet was contained upstairs.

Rangoli

We did it, mine’s the worse.

Kaveri’s progress

I’ve started using phonetics books to help her read English. Her understanding of Yorkshire English is improving fast and her confidence in speaking moves on.

Kaveri was collected by mum and dad Sunday eve.

My Reading

More to do

Vaccination, pension, plan our young adults group thing.

Farrell Factoid

A chaperone enables Kaveri to stay here. I’ve given up on needing one when we do our general activities, it’s just too much hassle. Family issues means she currently can’t stay with her grandmother nearby hence the need for a sensible woman staying at my house.

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.