Dire Straits

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Manjula, Kamalama, and Manjula’s mum Parvatamma

Manjula is just back with more info about Kamalama’s situation. The first story was most accurate. The one about family illness was a cover story.

Kamalama has effectively run away to Coorg, where she’s from, the area of the western Ghats a few hours away.

It seems that there was an argument and some sort of fracas with her son’s ‘wife’. The upshot is that the ‘wife’ threatened to come round with her main husband and kill Kamalama later that day. So she’s done a runner. Can’t blame her but what a terrible situation for an elderly lady.

Farrell Factoid

the wife has a range of ‘husbands’ that she flits between.

I’m not saying this sort of violence is usual or the complex inter-relationships is common but I’ve heard of similar situations.

Kamalama’s son re-appeared a few years ago and she was happy they had re-established contact. She lives a simple life, has a small house and works as cleaner, washing clothes etc at various houses. We think she’s is in her 60’s. It’s difficult to know what if anything we can do.

will she, wont she?

 

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a littler girl rehearsing for a FUTURE date!

 

 

The girl is a little tall and her forehead is a little big (maybe Manjula means she’s a little plain). She’s the daughter of a friend of Manjula and as she’s reached her mid twenties she’s looking for a husband. A broker, a family friend (gets commission from both sides for an intro and a second bigger payment should they subsequently get married) has found another possible husband.

 

She’s already seen eleven or twelve potential husbands.

Her mummy (getting a little desperate) says “go outside” meaning find someone you like get married and move out to his home. She worries that at 26 and having already seen so many prospective grooms she might get too old to be married!

An added pressure is, we’re just entering a month when it’s inauspicious to marry and even to hold the introductory meetings.

 

Yesterday’s meeting was convenienty held at party that was a continuing celebration of her cousin’s wedding. It was used as an opportunity for boy to meet girl (another potential match) and check each other out.

At the meeting, at the cousins house, were representatives of both families that’s ‘girl’ her family including mummy, auntie, cousins, and the ‘boy’ together with his mummy, daddy, auntie and Manjula snuck in.

They’ll all sit round having tea and biscuits, boy and girl just checking each other out visually but not speaking, parents from each side asking questions related to family and background primarily about the job, their parents jobs, how much they are paid etc…

The parents ask the ‘prospectives’ in turn if they are OK with the other and with their head bowed do the ‘head-rock-and-roll’ each, to confirm that they are happy  to progress to the next stage

They are both bank managers! big tick

Today, next day, the families will visit the priest (poojari) and check that they are a proper match taking into consideration their Gods (mustn’t be the same, this is maybe a safeguard to ensure they are not too closely related, just my half baked theory) birthdate and who knows what else. At some stage horoscopes are checked for compatability.

If they get the go ahead, from the priest today, they’ll meet up at the home (when it becomes auspicious again in Jan) and make plans for the wedding.

There are however a few more ordeals and potential pitfalls, for example the potential bride doesn’t cook, will this present a problem?

Now get your head around this one if you can…… at some stage the ‘girl’ will have to walk a few steps to enable the ‘boys’ family to check the arch on her foot. A woman’s foot is not supposed to show an arch i.e. be flat foot, for a man it either doesn’t matter or an arch is good. Just don’t ask me! I have no idea.

Just always remember, India is consistently inconsistent, so what’s apparently true in one context is not in another situation, family or caste, or whatever 🙂

Please note: the photos are from other weddings and engagement parties!

A BIG THANKYOU to Cary.

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I couldn’t have managed without you

Cary has been my key supporter and lifeline to help set up here in Mysore. Whether its renting the house seven years ago, ‘owning’ my scooter and motorbike, crazy adventures to investigate raising sheep or looking at land to buy, a listening ear for my frustrations, to help me understand this wonderful crazy country, introducing me to the ‘club’, early morning swims and being a part of his lovely family.

We originally met horse riding together (well he can ride and I can just hang on) with the Mounted Police. (yes the Mysore riding school was with the mounted police). I can’t find any photos of the cowboys!

Cary has been a real friend. It just wouldn’t have been possible without his help and support.

Cary, is rightfully proud of his heritage as a Coorgy. He and his wife Ganga, originate from Coorg or Kodagu and they have a son Gagan and daughter Sunaina  It is a distinctive and separate community or race of people who live in the western Ghats a few hours west from Mysore. They have a  traditional dress and culture, are known for being tall, proud and dependable, many join the army and they know how to live (and party!!). Cary is an active businessman and farmer but the pub he ran, where I used to hang out is no more. Probably better for my belly!

He lives close by here in Siddarthanager.

So thank you Cary on the anniversary of me being here SEVEN years!

the not so local (part 2) the Englishman moves back home

Indian ex-employee rescues British boss from destitution.

Len’s story continues and here’s a statement he’s issued…..

An Englishman, who’s been living and working in India for over 20 years has been wholly dependent on his income from London, UK, which unexpectedly stopped. Len Bailey, who is 75 years old and with mobility difficulties, would have been homeless and destitute if his previous employee hadn’t found him accommodation, food and enough money to see him through.

Len says: “ I was completely stuck. No money coming from the UK which I needed to go to London and sort out and the Police refused to provide a ‘letter of release’, to enable me to leave the country.”

Len first visited India over 45 years ago and subsequently set-up businesses providing employment and expertise in the construction industry. More recently having designed and developed chipper technology to sustainably use palm fronds as part of agro waste recycling.

Len adds: “ I had applied for visa and extensions as required via the local police and to Delhi but there had been no refusal, or rejection, just nothing, no response. Now, I need to get back to London to be able to sort out my affairs”

The Police had refused to provide an exit visa or ‘letter of release’ and are now demanding a penalty payment. The UK High Commission were unable to help.

img_0669His ex-employee realising that Len might be destitute and with real concern for his general health and welfare has now made arrangements to pay the penalty set by the Police. This penalty was for Len having continued to live here with an expired visa and with Delhi not issuing an extension.

Once the Police have done the needful and sorted out the paperwork Len will be able make haste back to London to re-establish his income.

img_0667Len, here saying farewell to his Doctor, is now back in the U.K. Having been picked up by a relative at the airport.

Who knows what the future holds…

Len leaves behind a close knit group of friends and numerous families he has helped practically and emotionally over the years.

Vancouver is fab…

I really do like Vancouver.

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This was my second visit to my youngest son Oliver (thanks for moving there Ol). Its a city that seems to have just about everything. A diverse community, buzzing city with great localities and neighbourhoods, superb veg food, and amazing environment whether its the islands, the sea, the beaches. Its a modern city with snow-capped mountains, the sporty lifestyle, a really great vibe and super people.

I had a great time!

Ok, Ol did try to kill me by taking me to the ‘Tight’ fitness club for a session. Picture it. There is a class of people ‘keenly’ exercising  but ALL of them seriously look as if they don’t need to be doing anything of the sort. (maybe that’s the point.. you’ve got to keep at it!!) Except perhaps the old grey haired bearded guy in the back corner getting worrying looks from the trainer… will he survive the class? What is he doing here? Is he about to have a heart attack? Well I did manage to the end and probably did about 50% of the exercises. It’s made me think though I’ve got to reveiw my own lifestyle, loose some of the podge  and get fitter. Hang on a minute though, I AM on holiday, ok?  There is always rooms for a delicious ice cream and a beer.

On this, my second visit we hired a car and headed for a mini roadtrip into the US (where else?) down the stunning Oregon Coast, (en route visiting the famous locations of the Goonies) then …. into Portland, and Seattle… lovely people, astonishing panoramas and ginormous meals (its true about meals in the USA)… and wonderful micro brewing (sorry drinking) and endless opportunities to go shopping…. (which we both love)

 

If you’re a previous guests of Mysore Bed and Breakfast…. this is where you need to seriously worry!

Cathy and Mark, who came to stay with us in Mysore a few years ago when Mark was a volunteer vet in Bylakuppa (the Tibetan settlement), live on a beautiful lake on the outskirts of Portland. Well we couldn’t be in the area and not drop in, could we?

What amazing hosts and a lovely place. We were seriously pampered. It was difficult to leave. Mark took us out cycling with our very own MyCycle Tour of Portland, Cathy, who is ever so trusting, let me borrow her open top BMW for an amazing tour of the wonderful countryside and we just chilled out cycling in a great city. Thank you so much you guys, you were so generous and we had a wonderful time.

So why worry?

Because we might come visit you!

This is actually part of reaching my 60th year (actually 59 years old last December) and the ‘celebrations’ will continue. Next up… taking Manjula to the UK. Where we’ll visit: Ben, the eldest son in London, together with his partner Alice and my granddaughter Poppy, their mum in Hebden, a ton of old friends and one or two other guests of the Mysore BnB might also get a knock on the door 😉

So look out!! Who knows where we might head next.

Meet Mr Pye

Meet Mr Pai, he’s not unlike the literary Mr Pye he’s most definitely a dreamer. One Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 2.30.36 pmof the many ways they differ however is our Mysore Mr Pai or I should rightly say Dr Pai is also very much a deliverer.

Mr Pai,now in his late 70’s, is a successful entrepreneur, who is the founder and Managing Director of VWF Industries (P) Ltd which does of things to do with wire and lighting which I don’t really understand. The point is, he is an enthusiastic initiator with a strong track record in business and follows through on his ideas.

It’s his more recent interest and enthusiasms that have grabbed me.

Manjula and I met him today during a sort of meditative session at the Himalayan Crystal Salt Cave. Ok its a room rather than a natural cave but how amazing and it’s one of his initiatives. It is 360 degrees of salt from left to right, top to bottom, under and over… The cave is the first proper one in India and we have it here in Mysore.  You book an hours session and hang out in the positive ions man!  Just breath it all in. Supporters suggest it has general health benefits and specifically for those with any problems with their lungs. It reminds me of the Himalayan salt lamp in my UK home, years ago. Well, we went to test it out and we were very impressed. More of that later.

But that’s not all he’s now got into a range of initiatives with local communities through his foundation and his latest business idea relates to what he calls structured water.

So as you can tell I was really impressed with Dr Pai’s enthusiasm and spirit. He’s one of the great people we’ve met in our life here in Mysore. He very much reminds me of another entrepreneur who I had the great fortune to meet before he died.  Ray Anderson of Interface was also an inspiration. In Ray’s case he was an astonishing leader in introducing innovations and in many ways made sustainable business make sense. I salute them both!