I blame my parents

I was there……

In the middle, to the foreground with the wings….

No, not actually in the photo. This is Butlins holiday camp pool in the early 1970’s when I most definitely was or had visited with my family. Take in the photo. Look at how white we were and slim! How things have changed.

So why do I blame my parents? A convenient excuse? A contradictory mix of experiences that helped me prepare for the consistently inconsistent life that is India. On the one hand we’d be pioneers driving through England and France to holiday in Spain. Visiting quaint villages that are now over fifty years later, Temples to package tourism. That was in the early 1960’s when I was a little nipper.

My holiday education did also include ten years later the decided working class holiday at this very holiday camp. Rows of cabins, knobbly knee competitions for the Dads, beauty completions for the mums, activities for the kids, soooo non pc. In terms of my working class upbringing, let’s not forget the ultimate: Charabanc (coach) trips to Blackpool illuminations and Skegness from our home in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England., organised by the archetypal ‘Working Men’s Club’

So why am I telling you all this?

It helps make up who I am.

Check the Guardian article that relates to the photo.

Coincidentally Martin Parr, who’s exhibition this all refers to, lived in Hebden Bridge early in his career probably shortly after this photo was taken. In 1986 when Liz, Ben and I moved to Hebden Bridge we bought the very same house where he’d lived.

a new direction?

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We’ve had a blog for a few years now and while there’s been a fair amount of interest we feel its not necessarily been very focussed (now there’s a surprise, given who’s written it!) and not necessarily too relevant…. thank you to those who do follow us and your helpful feedback.  We’re trying something slightly better as of now, for that read:  The management has instituted a review.

There will be three interwoven (ha ha) threads or broad themes.

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Top of the tree will be Manjula’s story.

We’ll start that first with ‘Maid in India’ it’s definitely the one to follow.

Next up will be my take on India and life in this amazing country. So maybe, it might be worth

dipping into (and out of!)42731480-A5D7-4D0D-993F-28592EEDBD5E1

51FEED26-61C2-4E8D-9762-B510F65465D41The third will be Lucie’s view which essentially is the place to find the odds and sods, maybe even the political soap box (she is a dedicated “participant observer’)  and a slightly alternative viewpoint.

We don’t offer a better understanding of anything. We are after all unfathomable people by the very nature of homo sapiens. We are, of course, living in the most wonderful, startling, infuriating, beautiful country full of the most smiley people but whose twists and turns, consistent inconsistencies, joys and horrors creates an overriding paradoxical roller coaster ride.  I hope you’ll find some interesting insights and an entertaining journey. I reckon that you’ll get to know Manjula in a different way and its the connections between the three themes that can provide more insights.

We ask you for your help…..Please do follow us and pass on to friends with an interest in India or those you may wish to punish in some bizarre way. 😉 and equally importantly do give critical feedback: tell us what works and doesn’t, do feel free to provide fresh ideas for content and suggest how we can get it out to more people. Above all please do get involved and create a conversation.

But ultimately don’t get your hopes up!

It’s not really written by Manjula (although I will be delving into transcribed recordings from her made over the last couple of years in Kannada and our own conversations) or by Lucie (she is a dog!)

It’s still written by me.

Yes the man from North England (where’s that? …Yorkshire) who hasn’t quite got the grasp of the English language but who has a wealth of insights stolen from our wonderful guests, the amazing people we meet her in India and frankly anyone else with a half decent idea.

So there you have it, please get involved, watch this space, give feedback so we can learn and improve and pass on to those you think might be interested.

We’ll continue to post on Facebook and our info-insights-tips to help visitors to Mysore have a great time will be on the main site here but the real richness,  if you can call it that, will be on the blog itself.

Special 


A very special friend, the lovely Leela, invited me out for a drink, to celebrate my ‘significant’ birthday. (Yes, I’ve been celebrating it for quite some time now!) this was during my April trip back to Blighty.


Well Leela. Is something of an innovator and is really great at helping others as a facilitator and coach. She’s especially good at using her artistic skills to help people create a shared understanding and most importantly act on it.

Come on Farrell. Get to the point!

well she’s working her magic on me.

Here is my birthday gift, drawn in the next four pictures…… and  no that’s correct I’m not 42 😉



Its an invitation.

to work out what it is I love.

what would be your 42 things?

more to follow…

Time for a change

As I almost reach sixty and a half it’s time to reflect, review and introduce a view changes.


So I’ve got out and dusted off the plimsolls (does that word still exist?). The classic Green Flash.
Yes I’m heading to the gym…. But one step at a time … for Yoga., at this stage.

Already I’m feeling results, my stiff back is beginning to ease up a tad. I am however beginning to think I’m the class clown. Yes they laugh at (not with me) my grunting (kindly teacher calls it music), or my silly walks, try walking on the inside edge of your feet (or IS IT just me?) and to top it all. .., This morning after the final lie down relaxation session, the mat (these are plasticky gym mats) had a perfect image of my body in sweat. Uncanny no one else has any sweat!

Next step cardio. Bring out the buckets. (For the gallons of sweat)

Oh and…

yes they do still sell them

Why India? 2

Why move to India…

I fell in love with India, its culture, people and places from afar and planned to visit in the 1970’s when I took a year off from my university. (I made a bit of a habit of taking years off).

True or False

True

I was a bit of a wus and not an adventurous traveller. I’d got as far as Turkey and the message from those who’d travelled overland from India was that it was particularly dangerous at that time to go to India, via Pakistan as they had just hanged Bhutto. So my visit to India just didn’t seem destined to happen.

Would I even manage to get to India in the next decade?

Nope

I hooked up with Liz and Ben in my late 20’s (We’re in the 1980s now). Liz had already lived in India for a couple of years in the early 1970’s so with one kid already (Ben) and potentially another one to come (Ol), India, was most definitely not considered by Liz to be a suitable place to take a young family.  Her experience of India was as a hippy  and she wouldn’t reconnect with India for many more years.

So that means I wasn’t also going to get to India, not yet anyway.

Farrell Factoid

I have subsequently met many people who have found a love for India (not least the visitors to Mysore Bed and Breakfast). There are of course many different attractions and often its difficult to define what it is that they particularly like. For many people they are inexplicably drawn to India, it has a sort of magnetism from a great distance. Maybe it is the free flow of ideas crossing the ‘bridges’ west and east (especially Britain and India) that stimulate people’s interest, there has of course been many exported ideas (and zero) for hundreds of years. There’s been icons such as the Beatles, the travelling Yogis, the hippies themselves, Yoga, whatever, there is an incredible range of things that we’ve heard about that help feed our seemingly insatiable desires for India, India things and Indian-ness.

Michael Wood in his book (Big Recommendation) to accompany the BBC series ‘The Story of India’ writes of becoming ’emeshed with India’, ‘the great privilege to be welcomed into another culture and to spend time in it, especially one so rich and diverse and perenially illuminating’

Of course many cultures and countries could fulfil this but

…what is so special about India?

I’d have to wait, quite a bit longer to find out.

Why India? 1

So why did you move to India when you were 53?

Its a question often asked by guests at Mysore Bed and Breakfast. Top Ten answers

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I loved the wild west and its stories from an early age. India seems to be just like the wild west.

True or False?

True, I did used to watch the westerns, with my Dad, on the TV from an early age and really got into it.

True, India in some ways is a bit anarchistic (to put it mildly) so can seem a bit of a free for all as in the old west, without the guns (mostly) but it is of course …..

FALSE, its not the reason I moved to India.

 

STOP PRESS

Here’s further evidence of a young interest in the Wild West and that it runs in the family

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!