Almost thirteen years ago — shortly after I’d moved to Mysore — a group of us cycled to visit local community projects.
I wrote about it in the local paper ‘The Star of Mysore’
Organised by Sham Sunder from the National institute of Engineering here in Mysore we met activists to learn about their strong social and environmental conscience and the active projects they’d created.
One of the places we visited was Kaliyuva Mane — a school FOR children. A free residential alternative to traditional schools.
This was going to come back into my life in a very satisfying way.
Reopened mysore bed and breakfast and mycycle tours. This month the MCC : Mysore City Corporation issued a business licence and so we’ve officially welcomed our first guests.
The new business has allowed Stephen to get a business visa, to continue to stay in India. So far he’s not been able to get an OCI (overseas citizen of india) and most importantly it’s another way to celebrate MAnjula
Manjula’s Mysore is a three year project to do good as MAnjula would have wanted
It’s an old joke and a serious question this week in Mysore.
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.
“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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sowbhaghya and Sarvesh have helped as part of our wider team.