we’re setting out on a new journey…. after the wonderful experience last year (Note English sarcasm) ..to firstly ensure that Manjula’s various IDs were accurate and consistent with name, gender, address, date of birth ( it took, four months), then the ‘reality game’ of applying for a passport (two more months) and being knocked back a couple of times (the board game of these tangles with bureaucracy will be in shops soon) then to top it all we applied for a TOURIST (yes just for a holiday) visa from the UK Government just at the time of some insignificant Vote or other (Brexit aka Biscuit idiotic referendum) only to be summarily rejected (Brit Govt is fast on its rejections, three weeks total) and applying again with an avalanche of papers (two weeks)… for you dear reader, what feels like lifetime’s experience compressed into six months has already been documented on these pages. Some of you may remember it .. well this new journey is…. wait for it…. an application to register as a Homestay with the Karnataka Government.
in my English wistful sort of way I think it will be very straightforward and probably a damn sight easier than a similar process in the UK.
background is we’ve been operating on the same basis as an AirBnB property but this year the Karnataka Govt has introduced a new rule and that means everyone has to register with them.
As I say let’s see, first step following the ‘critical path’ , let’s find out what’s required 🙂
I’m sitting here, writing responses to our Trip Adviser reviews. I’m partly avoiding doing the accounts. Lucy is asleep at my feet. We’ve already been for our morning walk. I can hear Manjula in the background. Water is running, there’s swishing and swashing, the team are at it, Manjula gently instructs and actively gets involved. She’s so many good things rolled into one and that includes her tremendous managements skills.
Well it’s a great job because in many ways it’s not a job. It our life, sharing our home, meeting great people, hearing their stories, cracking jokes (which are sometimes understood) and getting the immense satisfaction that people enjoy time with us and have a wonderful time in Mysore.
Here’s just on of our over one hundred reviews and I’ve chosen it because I wasn’t here when the guests stayed.
because we enjoy what we’re doing and we get such positive feedback….
I must congratulate the passport service on gaining triple ISO certification and its various digital awards.
In my view, and I say this as a sometime consultant who has reviewed services and systems in the Government, not-for-profit and corporate worlds, a system and service is best judged on how well it performs when everything doesn’t go smoothly or according to some abstract plan. It should perform even better when it doesn’t go to plan. It’s essential that a citizen’s service such as this can be properly accessed by all sectors of the community including the poorest, least able and uneducated. Only then should it be considered a success and have met its objectives.
It’s critical that individuals operating the system should be able to spot problems and resolve them, with flexibility and an absolute focus on serving the recipient.
OK, rant over but it’s hard to convey how powerless this makes one feel because as you’ve probably guessed, I don’t think the service has performed well.
Mysore Bed and Breakfast is very much an open house, where we have now welcomed guests for over four years. A great community is beginning to develop. It’s formed from our guests, many who have returned or know of us through other friends, together with out team of drivers, gardener, cleaners, the hosts (Manjula, Lucy and the Yorkshireman) . There is also a network of other friends such as Homestay hosts and tour companies that collaborate to provide a great experience for visitors to this wonderful India. This helps create a richer life experience for us (eh… we don’t need to travel, the world comes here 🙂 !) and a greater depth for our visitors.
We’ve decided to introduce some of our community beginning with one of our guests.
Stephen F (a different Stephen F 😉 ) is a keen touring cyclist who has been to Mysore BnB maybe three times. He’s even left one of this cycles here for regular use! Originally from Northern Ireland he now lives in England and works as a communications consultant. Stephen goes way beyond the cycle tours we provide. He recently visited again doing a cycle loop travelling from here and taking in the National Parks. Previously he’s toured parts of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. On his first visit here we were amazed to realise we’d spoken to each other over the phone earlier in our careers in the early 1990s…. the coincidences of India, great stuff!
He’s just bought a rather expensive cycle and whenever we’ve had prospective guests planning on long and overnight tours we ask for Stephen’s help, whether its planning the tour, working out the best maps, finding suitable accommodation or general survival tips on cycling in India. Stephen has been a godsend. He now joins and has helped organise our family cycle tours back in the UK.
Stephen, as you would expect, has been on all our tours. Stephen and I have now started to develop longer tours taking in the local countryside, villages and my favourite, Srirangaptnam island.
See the map below.
Other cycling guests are also suggesting their favourite tours.
So this next year we’ll be inviting cyclists to come base their holidays here, join us on our established tours and we’ll help them design day tours in and around this wonderful area
Mycycle is my business in South India that provides short guided cycle tours for visitors to the wonderful city of Mysore.
So the My refers to Mysore as well as my experience of over 40 years as a cyclist. But I fully intend that this blog will be much more than that…about our view of life in India that on the way will take in an eclectic range of interests and experiences.
We have now had the privilege of hosting, guiding and hopefully entertaining over 900 guests since we launched a little over two years ago. We’re often asked about the history of our business here, what drew me to Mysore and what adventures I and the team have had in living in India and developing Mycycle and Mysore Bed and Breakfast.
This is an attempt to share something of that experience.