Our Life together

Our Story: His and Herstory ….

our adventures together, falling in love, establishing Mysore Bed and Breakfast, Manjula’s big holidays, and the challenges of life here in India. These were posted as they happened over the past five years. Please follow the links below to find individual postings.

Postings here are up until February 2019 for more recent listings check our contents page.

I hope this whets your appetite, a more coherent Manjula’s story from her own audio and video recordings and my additions will appear over the next few months. These will also be accessed via our contents page.

Our Love Story

is something you will find in all our postings and apparent from spending time with us at Mysore Bed and Breakfast. In particular here’s:

  • Stephen’s declaration of love in June 2015. Not such a well kept secret as everyone seemed to know before me! Our most popular posting is here
  • I love Manjula, in case you hadn’t realised but this post here  in January 2019 came at a very significant time.
  • Manjula was beautiful in so many ways and here are some images to prove it

 

HerStory,
its Manjula and my Story but posted previously and includes:
  • Manjula’s very first time of voting in the election in 2014 click here

 

  • I think its important to share Manjula’s story, a post from March 2016 here

 

  • Once we’d sorted out what was her birth date, she celebrated each year, not unusually for someone from a poor background, she hadn’t recognised her birthday beforehand here she is celebrating in 2016 and again here in 2018

 

  • a wonderfully crazy year, in 2016 click here
  • Manjula’s family, from her mother’s side and who live a few hours west of Mysore in local villages click here its from 2016
  • Manjula’s cooking: recipes and a link to Tom’s wonderful video: click One, Two and Three  from 2017
  • After getting engaged in 2015 there seemed to be a constant series of obstacles, that’s life of course and on top of that, nothing is ever ever straightforward in India… We were eventually married in 2018. There were five postings about our wedding, click here for the not quite full story: One, Two, Three, Four, Five
Our Story: Mysore Bed and Breakfast
We’ve created a lovely lifestyle.
Here we are in the Guardian, how cool is that? please check here  can you find us?
Its been an absolute joy hosting Mysore Bed and Breakfast and meeting the rich mix of people from around the world, here
  • we can’t overstate how our guests and their wonderful reviews have so made it for us, here Manjula always claimed she’d learned English from our guests and most definitely NOT from me
  • you keep us going, here
  • be warned, we visit you, here
Our approach, here
  • We’ve introduced one or two quirky things at Mysore Bed and Breakfast here and
  • one or two quirky things have been forced on us, here
  • Back home after our uk trip, here
  • So what is the best job ever? here
  • The booking clerk reveals all, here
Manjula’s Holidays
Holidays in India have traditionally been for visiting family, often for specific events and pilgrimages. With the growth of the middle classes, leisure holidays have really grown. Manjula has previously travelled a fair amount partly through living in Mumbai for over ten years but these were primarily pilgrimages . We started our own holidays ….. with a trip to the seaside in 2015 shortly after we became engaged.
Manjula’s very first holiday, November 2015, click here
Hampi Holidays, click  here and here
So Manjula has got the bug and now she’s up for a trip to the UK but that’s easy said than done. She needs a passport and a visa and as she’s from a poor background we need to sort out her IDs first!
Check further down if you just want to go straight to Madam English’s holidays abroad.
Manjula’s Story: Passport
This turned out to be one big project….. which demonstrates just how difficult for the most excluded in our society to get what services they need from the state.
India is a country where many of its citizens are ‘beneath the radar’ for example many of Manjula’s age and background wouldn’t have had a birth certificate or necessarily known their birthdate…. so be prepared, it’s a long haul…..
the beginning of a journey to ‘sort out’ Manjula’s identity!! in December 2015, click here
part two of the journey to get a passport, here
this is proving to be a long haul. yes its part three of trying to sort out Manjulas IDs, here
First hurdle completed, we’re now in Feb 2016, not bad going, here
are you still with us? Its March, things might be getting easier to get a passport or maybe not, check here
we’re still on the same path but its getting a bit complicated so I’m turning to graphics to help explain what’s going on…. as if i know myself! Its PART SIX, here
so you haven’t lost the will to live yet?! we’ve received requests for further detail, from various sadists…. here
hang-on  hang-on, one more things before we can apply for the blasted passport, check here
Whoopee we’ve actually applied for the flipping passport, here
nothing is ever as it seems, here
and now the police have to get involved, I blame the British Raj, or my parents…there’s even more here
passport service gets an award, God knows what it was like beforehand!!!! check here
I’m losing the will to live, no one explained this aspect of getting engaged and wanting to take my fiancée on an international holiday, even more here
I can’t believe it, if you’re following the analogy of a board game we’re about to go back three spaces, here
You might wonder if and how anything ever gets done here!? check here
Its true the world over that helpful friends can make all the difference when navigating the jungle of bureaucracy or Babudom, imagine how difficult this process is for someone who is just fazed by the system its why they pay for the fixers its now April 2016! here
Manjula is over the moon, there a knock at the door, check the joy here
I’ve broken into a cold sweat just putting together this contents list. Imagine what it was like in real life. Just look at how many more entries there were for the passport than the holiday!!!!
Manjula applies for a visa
Madam wants to go on holiday to the UK (she’ll change her mind when she experiences the weather!). So the next step is to apply for a visa, more here
– bugger the Brits have turned her down!  check here at least they were quick about it
– I’m fuming but we’ve got to regroup, check the action here, here and here and we get a result what a relief, with days to go…before our flight, check here and here
– This seems to be a regular problem, check here
Manjula’s BIG holidays to the UK
London, Yorkshire and touring throughout England in 2016 and again in 2017:
  • first trip, here and here
  • life on a barge here
  • WOMAD music festival here
  • London Culture here
  • Our last weekend, a farewell gathering, here
  • what a wonderful holiday here
  • second trip to England in 2017, here and here
Manjula’s illness.
Manjula was first diagnosed with her series of relentless illnesses in the year we got engaged, it wasn’t a coincidence that we got engaged then. Her health challenges ratcheted up with a spell in the: ICU in 2018. There are postings here, just click on each word for a different posting: shattered, maid, caring, escape, settling, update, Manjula’s, connections, mother hen
Registering the BnB with the city corporation

I haven’t dared bore you with the tedious details of setting up the business. Manjula and I were Directors. Everything takes an age and the process seems to constantly change.

Here’s a flavour of what it’s like……

Not content with the nightmare of getting all her ID ducks in a row: PAN Card, Aadhaar Card, TC, Passport, Directors Identification Number, Visas we now set off on the journey to officially register Mysore Bed and Breakfast.
It’s an altogether new journey. Click here, here ,  here, and here to find out more.
Life at the Bed and Breakfast and our staff
Lucie’s story
Lucie, sprung a leak, Reading and walking
Narianappa our original gardener, here and here
our garden: one, two, three, four, five
Kamlama, here and here
Satish, here