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.

Mysore traffic mayhem

It gets worse every day

The bad behaviour becomes more apparent as the traffic increases., that will get worse as we become more ‘developed’.

Why?

Where to start…

The chaos at junctions when the lights turn green, as many are in the wrong lanes and there are more lanes than the markings indicate. The erratic driving which is not always because they’ve poor driving skills, most drivers are on the phone, but it’s not smart….

The lack of awareness and perennial indifference carry some of the blame, but it begins early on at the driving school and how people get their licence is a wonder to behold.

Many driving schools bring their learners through Siddarthanagar, our layout, for lessons, it’s unbelievable. I couldn’t even begin to tell you and I’ll leave my grumbles about what they’re taught to do with the horn, to the next posting.

Here’s examples that friends have told me about their tests.

An American friend had both a two wheeler (motorbike) and four wheeler (car) test on different days.

The examiner instructed him to drive up the road, round the roundabout and back to the start. He passed.

Next the examiner got in the car. Already an improvement. “Drive ahead, turn left , straight, turn right, stop.” My friend thought this was serious. “Stop here” The examiner got out of the car and entered a hotel (restaurant) leaving a few minutes later with ‘a parcel’ (takeaways) for the office. “Drive back to the RTO (office). You’ve passed.”

A neighbour’s daughter just paid the bribe, probably through a middle-man I’m not sure whether she’s actually driven to this day.

Another friend went to the new ‘automated’ track designed to put you through a series of situations and manoeuvres. The examiner gets in the car, you move forward, pay your bribe and you’re off. The examiner uses the (dual drive) pedals to ensure you brake properly and even helps you steer by lightly holding the steering wheel. Once again, it’s a pass.

If that wasn’t bad enough one proposal is to delegate the issuing of driving licences to the instructors. Really?

This Facebook posting following a column in the ‘Star of Mysore’ is what got me going. I’ve cycled, and ridden scooters, Enfield, van, Jeep and Manjula’s beautiful Ambassador on local roads.

The biggest challenge?

It’s a toss up between the ‘rash’ driving and constant pot holes, even on newly repaired roads it sometimes feels like you’re driving sideways.

Warm smiles all round

Especially here

Kaveri’s Auntie and Grandmother loving the ‘Kaveri’s Summer Camp’ photo album.

Sarvesh and I are just back from visiting Kaveri

With a present…

Yes, your guessed it, with another copy of the photo album.

Rebel Two

She lives in Hinkal on the other side of Mysore but I get to see her some weekends and during the school summer holiday, when she visits her grandmother, who lives opposite our house.

We’re in the midst of school holidays so she’s here everyday for a few weeks and I’ve introduced ta – ra ta -ra….

Steve’s Summer Camp for Kaveri

We’ve already had walking Lucie, cycling single and tandem, many trips to the cafe, the infamous holiday, games on and off screen, trips to various institutions namely the vets and dentist, outings in the Ambassador, storytelling, shopping for birthday present clothes more and more….

There’s a serious reason for all this related to MAnjula.

Layers of love

I was first drawn to India its people and places almost 50 years ago.

But wasn’t until 19 years ago that I finally arrived. On that first visit I realised it was love. India has been a significant part of my life ever since.

It led me to meeting Manjula 12 years ago when she came to work for me, we fell in love and created a wonderful life together, which we shared with many of you.

We were together for over nine years and I married my beautiful Manjula at age 61, never having been married before.

It wasn’t the usual Indian wedding. I’ve already written about when getting ready and the wedding itself.

Manjula showed me me how critical it was to sustain and grow our love through being attentive and present. Young couples in our extended family might, have heard that once or twice. 🤭

Since losing Manjula over three years ago I’ve shared something of my journey through this site. Her presence remains with me in so many ways, I love her even more and she continues to reveal more and more layers of love.

I hope to publish our story next year, please do keep checking our site for details. I’ll set up a mailing list to keep you up to date with progress and the odd insight. Watch this space.

We’re off back home

Making clothes fit with a safety pin.
Back home
My reward

A fitting end to

a wonderful few days

It’s raining and pouring, thunder and lightening, most have left — the remaining fragment of Kaveri, Sowbaghya, Rhadika, SB Naveen Ks, Stephen and Lucie — are here for one more night.

Mycycle Tour

It’s been very quiet for the past two years factoid we’ve been closed but we’ve been fortunate to have a few friends to stay and occasional tours of Srirangaptnam.

Watch this space for news about Mysore Bed and Breakfast and MYCycle Tours.