Manjula’s Mysore

In Memory of Manjula, Satish and Tanuja have launched our new business.

It’s same but different….

…as it will continue to provide services to help people visiting Mysore, have a great time, through Mysore Bed and Breakfast and MyCycle Tours.

We’ll also commemorate Manjula through her gifts and now with the added extra of working with young people, to help them grow, develop and thrive..

….

Most recently we celebrated Manjula’s birth anniversary with an eventful day for visually impaired young women. Here’s our press release

We’ve helped with a young man’s education and plan to do more of that next year by supporting a young girl

We’ve also:

  • sponsored meals at an ashram for older people
  • sited benches in two parks in Mysore
  • taken our team on holiday to the beach in Kerala
  • provided almost 50 cycles as gifts to individuals and organisations
Satish helping out at our eventful day for forty visually impaired young women.

Manjula’s Mysore was our domain on the internet but we’ve now gone one step further and named the new company after the woman who made it all possible.

Manjula’s Mysore will continue to do good, reflecting Manjula’s kindness, through partnerships of NGOs, business and with our team of community volunteers.

Bhaj to share

In my new world I sometimes find myself in places or read things I wish I could share with Manjula Vellada

So I share with you.

I’m reading about ’Kabir’ in Incarnations by Sunil Khilnani . I quote from page 90 about Bhakti and Sufi movements that “both embraced the idea of a personal relationship with God. Priests or mullahs didn’t matter, precise ritual didn’t matter; caste didn’t mattter.” which remind me of the question she once raised with me: “if God is in everyone, why do we need Temples?”

That’s my thinking MAnjula and reflects our home — where caste wasn’t recognised and we were all equal.

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

Manjula’s Mysore

In Memory of Manjula, Satish and Tanuja have launched our new business.

It’s same but different….

…as it will continue to provide services to help people visiting Mysore, have a great time, through Mysore Bed and Breakfast and MyCycle Tours.

We’ll also commemorate Manjula through her gifts and now with the added extra of working with young people, to help them grow, develop and thrive..

….

Most recently we celebrated Manjula’s birth anniversary with an eventful day for visually impaired young women. Here’s our press release

We’ve helped with a young man’s education and plan to do more of that next year by supporting a young girl

We’ve also:

  • sponsored meals at an ashram for older people
  • sited benches in two parks in Mysore
  • taken our team on holiday to the beach in Kerala
  • provided almost 50 cycles as gifts to individuals and organisations
Satish helping out at our eventful day for forty visually impaired young women.

Manjula’s Mysore was our domain on the internet but we’ve now gone one step further and named the new company after the woman who made it all possible.

Manjula’s Mysore will continue to do good, reflecting Manjula’s kindness, through partnerships of NGOs, business and with our team of community volunteers.

Press Release

Flying Cycles 

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.

Further details of our partners.

What and why did Manjula give?

On 21st August 2022 on Manjula’s Birth Anniversary we created a day of activity for visually impaired young women living at the Divya Jyothi Trust in Mysore.

…..

Here are useful links to those who made it a great success, explaining who we are and why we did it.

…….

Manjula’s Mysore Continues Manjula’s work including Mysore Bed and Breakfast, MyCycle Tours and working with young people. We organised the event, sang songs, accompanied the young people’s singing and provided cycling. Our team was: Sarvesh, Satish, Sowbaghya, Tushar, Megha, Poornima and Stephen

Satish founder Director of Manjula’s Mysore, finding a useful role.

Our Partners are Manjula’s Kind

Thanks for making this a great success.

Mysore Storyteller’s Network: enables people to revive traditional and modern art forms of India through storytelling. Inspiring and mobilising communities to share their deepest vulnerabilities through stories, using Indian arts(visual, performing and fine arts). They organised games, taught songs, shared stories, played unusual instruments, from Madhavi, Sridevi Iyengar, Gauri Nadig, Shahana, Aditya Swarup

Vishnu Sharma Company: Vishnu Sharma hosted the entertainments, played music, organised the PA, sang songs, and acted as MC 

Poornima sang songs and can be contacted via Manjulasmysore

Local businesses, active in their communities, demonstrating their caring shared responsibility. 

Faizan Baksh photographed and videoed the event. Photos of the event and Manjula, are available. A video is being prepared. Faizan provides video and photograpphy services for events and promotions. Contact Instagram @faizanbaksh

The bakers SAPA and Aroma donated cookies and cakes. 

SAPA started by Dina Weber is an artisan bakery, crafting sourdough breads and fine pastries with patience and love, giving their loaves the distinct flavours of naturally leavened breads.

Aroma is a bakery that offers high quality personalised cakes in its wide range of baked goods, since 1989

Mysore Bed and Breakfast sponsored all the meals for the day

MyCycle cycle tours loaned their tandem supported by their volunteers.

The event was hosted by Divya Jyothi Trust Founder Shivaprakash, co-ordinator Kavya, and is the NGO where the young women live.

Why did we organise the event?

To help our community.

Manjula’s kind

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, available for the past ten years. But now with the added extra of working with young people, to help them grow, develop and thrive. 

This was a celebration of Manjula who would have been forty-nine on the day. This strong woman created Mysore Bed and Breakfast and is now known throughout the world for welcoming international tourists to Mysore until her untimely death three years ago.

Stephen is Manjula’s husband, always on the look out, for ways to remember Manjula and share her with more people. 

“I was riding my Enfield through Mysore city centre. In one of the busiest junctions were two young woman one with a white stick so one at least was visually impaired. They were trying to cross. I couldn’t stop and as far as I could see, no one helped so I wondered what it was like for young recently impaired women in Mysore. 

If Manjula was here we would’ve discussed it and she would’ve been keen for us to find out and do something. So I contacted  Divya Jyothi Trust and went with Sarvesh to meet the centre staff, the founder and the young women who live there. As a result we’ve organised activity on what would’ve been Manjula’s 49th birthday and who knows where else it might lead.”

What’s Next from Manjula’s Mysore?

“Manjula’s Mysore will continues to do good, continuing Manjula’s kindness, through partnerships of NGOs, business and community volunteers.”

Let us have your ideas

Manjula’s Gift on her birthday

We celebrated Manjula’s birth anniversary, on the 21st August 2022 with a day crammed full of activity of cycling, games, music, storytelling, singing, drinks, cakes and cookies for the forty visually impaired young women who live at Divya Jyothi Charitable Trust.

Our day was a rich mix of sounds and fun: laughter, singing, clapping, some hesitancy — then enthusiasm, excitement, care, trust and beaming smiles. 

Organised by Manjula’s Mysore with our partners: Mysore Storytellers Network, Vishnu Sharma Company, in memory of Manjula.

The young women especially liked the game ‘What’s in the box’ identifying objects through touch and smell, organised by Gauri Nadig. Then we all shared songs with Poornima singing and Vishnu Sharma playing guitar, Sridevi teaching songs, accompanied by Sarvesh on his Cajon clap box

Shahana told stories

Aditya Swarup and his group filled the room with unusual music by playing singing bowl, Handpan drum, Didgeridoo, and tweeting clay bird

Cycling was a big hit with Tusharr and Megha, volunteers from MyCycle tours giving rides on a tandem (cycle for two people). For all the blind women this was their first time on a bicycle. LINK

Sowbaghya and staff from the centre looked after us all day. Satish presented Manjula’s Mysore and Sarvesh was event organiser.

Stephen, Manjula’s husband, smiled throughout and enjoyed it all.

We ended the day with cookies and cake, after listening to Manjula sharing her own stories from recordings made in the last years of her life. “Hearing Manjula speak.” “Learning about Manjula.” “Finding out she was like us.” “Her love story” were some of the comments we overheard from the young women.

We all learned a lot from our day together. We found out about and better understand, what life is like for young women who are visually impaired. Realising how resilient they are to face their daily challenges. The confidence and trust they quickly develop to get the most out of a situation. Their positive joyful attitude from which we can all benefit.

This was also a celebration of Manjula who would have been 49 on the day. This strong woman created Mysore Bed and Breakfast and is now known throughout the world for welcoming international tourists to Mysore until her untimely death three years ago.

Our thanks to each of our partners and the support of local bakers SAPA and Aroma.

Observations from behind the scenes.

“We could tell they loved taking part.”

“There was a buzz throughout the day amongst the young women and our team of organisers and entertainers.” 

“Waves of smiles and chatter passed through group who sat crosslegged on the mat as each entertainer began”

“The enthusiasm hit the roof with the games and sing-a-long.”  

“Once they felt comfortable and confident. They oohed and aahed with beaming smiles on their faces as we cycled around the area.”

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.

Can you ride tandem?

A Tandem is a cycle made for two people.

It’s an old joke and a serious question this week in Mysore. 

Megha and Tushar

Remember the first time you rode a bicycyle? As a child you have no fear but when you’re older it can be scary.

The uncertainty …. Your nervousness, worry, hesitancy … once on the cycle your sweating, hands are clammy, the whole thing wobbling, feet slipping from the pedals, 

Now imagine your first time, if you were blind…..

You’ve never seen a cycle, what does it look like? How do you get on and pedal? 

We wondered if it was possible for a visually impaired person to cycle with our tandem.

On the ‘Manjula’s Gift fun day’ organised by Manjula’s Mysore and its partners, three young volunteers: Tusharr, Megha and Sarvesh from MYCycle Tours were there to guide. They provided clear instructions: explained how to get on, feel the saddle, hold the handlebars, step over the frame, find the pedals and sit comfortably. A sighted person on the front steered, set the pace and kept the balance. Another volunteer cycled along and explained what was happening. 

Megha carefully explains with Tusharr and Sarvesh preparing for the next ride

“After 1-2-3 we’ll be off, 1-2-3 we’re turning a corner, 1-2-3 there’s a hump coming up. Now let’s freewheel down the hill.”  

Now think back to your first time, when you’re cycling along, remember the breeze in your hair and a smile on your face. Was it like flying along?

our volunteers Sarvesh and Tushar
loving it

We could tell from their oohs, aahs and  boundless enthusiasm that for the young women who are visually impaired, it was a transformational experience. 

We now know that someone who is visually impaired, with our caring support and their trust, can ride tandems.

Yes they can with Tushar’s help

It was part of a day of activities to entertain forty visually impaired young women who live at Divya Jyothi Trust in Mysore and celebrate our founder Manjula on her birth anniversary, organised by Manjula’s Mysore and their community partners.  

The women had great fun, we also learned a lot: realising what strength, courage and confidence these young women need to face life’s challenges.  

Volunteer Sowbaghya giving an extra helping hand and getting feedback after their rides.

Further background information about the day and its partners visit: http://www.meandmycycle.com

After life

New park benches are sponsored by Netflix linked to Ricky Gervais’s series, in association with a charity tackling mental health issues.

They’ve placed them in different locations in the U.K.

An insightful series dealing with his reactions after the death of his wife. It helped me and it resonates with so many of the impacts of the loss.

We’ve done it too

Manjula’s Mysore had previously installed benches in a museum garden and the park opposite our house.

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.