Manjula …. Taking back control

The idiots in the British Government at the head of the Conservative party seem to have completely lost it, and not just in terms of Brexit

On the other hand …. it’s quite another matter for a woman in Mysore ……

Her main purpose in our nine years together was to invite people to share her home and to connect. In those years she’d done everything to create a beautiful, clean, comfortable open welcoming home. Not just the cleaning, cooking, preparing rooms for the guests, managing the staff, coordinating transport and the garden and above all create that warm, welcoming atmosphere that something in the air.

That useless lump of a husband by contrast was only the booking clerk. She so loved pointing that out!

Of this achievement she was rightly proud. This week we’ve received hundreds of messages from around the world, a testament to how she’s drawn people close to her, connected with them and left behind a piece of her.

This last season, as she lost so much weight and at times became poorly, she would often reflect with me that now that she could do none of what she did over the years. It wasn’t true of course, after talking it through she’d agree that the most important the meeting, greeting and chatting, connecting with people was still very much her role and what she’d love doing. It’s the main reason why we were open over this last season. It was what kept her going.

Recorded on 12th March

She very much kept control, she had a network, fetching and carrying, the fruit and veg for breakfasts delivered by the shop, the gardener dropping in her own Breakfast, Sudha bringing home cooked food every day, organising transport, managing the staff, I’d even jokingly bought her a bell to use when she wanted me but the innovator, the strong woman that she was would just have to ring my phone and pavlov’s dog would come running.

I’d joke that it wasn’t like this before we got married.

But there’s another less comfortable aspect of her taking control.

I think she’d had enough and knew it was time to go.

She was fed up of the uncertainty, the to and fro from the different doctors and clinics, the loss of weight, feeling ill, the many many many drugs she was taking every day, the dodderyness, the tests. She absolutely hated the blood tests, it had all got too much. Last week on Wednesday the doctors wanted to admit her, she wouldn’t go. We went home. I discussed it with her. She eventually decided to go back in on the Friday to an ordinary ward. She was admitted to the ICU as her condition had deteriorated. As we prepared to leave home in the Ambassador to go to the hospital she had one careful look around the lounge, as if she was taking it all in, one last time or as others suggested that she could see something else telling her it was time.

Manjula had a heart attack that evening and was brought back to life then again in the morning she had another and in line with her wishes I asked the doctors to let her go.

Visa escapades in Jan and March

Here’s an update on my visa situation. Be prepared it’s a long one!

I’ve been based here for nine years. I’ve set up a tourism business for Manjula to ensure she has a secure income.

The first mention of a little local difficulty was Here where I give credit where it’s due

The story starts when entering Bangalore Airport in August (after five weeks in U.K.) I was questioned by FRRO/immigration. They let me in but insisted I register with the FRRO on arrival in Mysore. I did. I’m a bit confused as to why.

Anyway, I registered.

So in October, I get a phone call from Anant, one of the original Directors of the company. He’d been contacted by the FRRO (police/immigration) in Bangalore with a whole series of questions. They were investigating me.

Subsequently they wrote to the very local police station asking them to contact me and get documents and a statement. They were focusing on the fact that I’d ‘wilfully’ not registered at the mysore FRRO each time I’d come back into the country.

I wrote a statement saying that if I had to register and hadn’t it was purely a mistake. I also explained Manjula and I had got married earlier this year, the company was set up for her, I wasn’t employed by the company and received no remuneration. They subsequently asked for my tax returns which I couldn’t supply as there were none as I wasn’t employed and had no income. Get it? 🙃

So as of last week.

I was due to fly to Sri Lanka for my first ever visa run. The time between my arrival in August and the next time in the U.K. was over 180 days so I had to leave the country by the end of Jan.

So what could go wrong?

The day before I was due to leave the Mysore FRRO telephoned and asked me to come in. It was the same helpful chap featured here

Bangalore had informed him, they had decided that I was on the wrong visa.

Sugar!

It was presumably because of the low level of investment/turnover in the business. It’s a small business predominantly for Manjula so doesn’t earn much money and doesn’t require much investment, just some furniture and cycles.

Sugar, this is a real problem. If I leave the country as planned they will not let me back in……

This is a critical time for us.

It’s our busiest time with just a few days with hardly any guests so my plan has been to nip out and rush straight back. Also Manjula had not been well, because of a recurring problem (more later) so I was essentially holding it all together (that’s juggling all the stuff, preparing rooms, making breakfast, leading cycle tours. ( I know, I know violins are playing, but I’m a man, multi tasking is NOT easy) thankfully there was the help of our two cleaners and a Special mention for Tom, Amy, Anne and Dave and of course the forbearance of my panicking – will he get back in- wife.

I’ve just got to go. It’s now or never but it can’t drag on.

What to do?

I feel like I’m appearing in Fawlty Towers and Keystone cops! here I come 🙃

The great guy at the police commissioners gave me an option. Apply for an x (aka entry) visa as a spouse. Great idea. I wonder how long would this take? I just can’t be away from home and Manjula for more than a few days. It doesn’t seem feasible.

I’d planned to fly out of Mysore to Chennai, then onto Colombo on the friday (next day) and back on Sunday. Tickets were bought, small bag packed. Eek.

Tom had a solution: Get a tourist e visa to get back in. I applied on the Thursday, it would take 72 hours to be processed, I flew out on the Friday due back on the Sunday but wouldn’t expect to get the visa until Monday so would forego the flights and dash back as soon as I got the visa. Then I would fly in to Chennai where I’d hope they’d let me in.

Phew. Sounds like a good idea. An Indian solution.

I apply and I’m off….

So it’s Saturday and this trip has proven to be one mishap after another. More details here.

After a day walking aimlessly in Colombo I had supper ( no micro breweries) and headed back to the hotel with my sea view from the balcony.

You know, sometimes things just work out. It’s a hallmark of India. On getting back I get an email confirming my e tourist visa. Wonderful! Not only has it arrived it’s in time for me to go back as planned on the Sunday using the tickets I’d bought!

So what was Sri Lanka like? Loved it. As they say it’s India lite. More later.

Back in our piddling little airport. Yes we walk from the plane.

Next.

I go and get an x visa in March in Sri Lanka when we’re not busy and hopefully Manj is feeling better.

Oh no I won’t.

It’s now March and I’m just heading back to Sri Lanka for a few days. I have a second e tourist visa that will see me through to May when I return to the U.K. and I’ll get an X visa.

Confused?

I just wonder what form the U.K. itself will take in May.

Banana Republic 3

Phew

The attempt to allow a party (BJP) to establish a Government (in Karnataka) without an overall majority denying the opportunity to a coalition of other parties (Congress and JDS) fails

The BJP ‘Chief Minister’ (Yeddyurappa) resigns.

“Much of the credit for this Congress-JD(S) victory goes to the Supreme Court, which overturned Vala’s [the state a Governor, with a role like the British Queen] decision to allow the Yeddyurappa government 15 days time to prove its majority. The governor’s decision was surprising, as Yeddyurappa himself had reportedly asked for only one week.

In a rare display of promptness, the Congress-JD(S) combine left no stone unturned, moving the Supreme Court twice – first by challenging the governor’s decision to call Yeddyurappa to form the government and then again to get the nomination of the controversial pro tem speaker, K.G. Bopaiah, reversed. They also moved their MLAs around frequently and built public opinion against the alleged bribery attempts !by the BJP.”

Full article here

Real Message From Karnataka Floor Test is That Modi, Shah Are Not Invincible

Check the article here

So what can we take away from all this?

It’s not a Banana Republic?

The opposition seems to have got its act together to collaborate and to challenge the the BJP machine. Let’s hope it can continue that same energy and effectiveness in Government. It shows how best to beat BJP in next year’s national elections so it has national significance.

The robust institutions, in this case the Supreme Court as a brake on the BJP juggernaut.

That was all a couple of weeks ago. The ‘dynamic duo’ of Congress and JDS in coalition are now creating a Government.

The ministers are appointed and we wait with baited breath for some coherent Governance aka serving the people 😉 just look at the list above. The caste of each minister is listed and therefore just shows what the issues are. Many people vote according to community aka caste. Now there are arguments from individual ministers and communities that their ministerial responsibilities are not good enough! Good enough for what? Serving the community? Making a difference? Leaving a lasting legacy? Probably not …. if the comments of friends and neighbours are anything to go by it’s whether it creates enough of an opportunity to make money.

The lessons for elsewhere.

Let’s not be smug. This sort of shenanigans is found the world over, admittedly with cultural variations.

The Donaldness in the US is also testing the rules to the absolute limit, some would say clearly stepping over, bashing through or stomping on them, nepotism is just one of many examples. It might indicate that the rules and the institutions that ensure action and accountability aren’t quite working to ensure a ‘fair’ and robust system.

On the other side of the ‘big pond.’

In the chaos that once had an Empire, yes the disunited kingdom (UK) did once have an Empire. I’m not supporting colonialism just pointing out that there may have been at least one point in the past when they could actually manage something. Now they clearly can’t organise a party in a Brexit micro brewery.

Wherever in the world we’ve lost sight of the real focus. All this should not be about party, power at whatever cost or manic pursuit of dogma or money. Surely is should be about doing the best for all its people.

I can feel the innocence and naivety oozing from my every pore. 😉

Manjula’s Crazy Year

we’re looking back on what has been a momentous year for Manjula.

If only for the lots of holidays in India: Kerala three times (twice to Kannur Beach House), Hampi and lots of local day trips. Sorting out her inconsistent IDs, getting her Passport, submitting tax returns, obtaining a visa for the UK and the BIGGY her first trip outside the country.

Now she’s just signed the documents to become a Director of MyCycle Tours and Travels Private Limited.

She reckons that coming to work for me (yes she did actually work for me, originally) and this house has been really lucky

So what next? watch this space.

 

Wow

what a day!

Biscuit (aka Brexit) pales into insignificance. UKAOs just seems so small and so less relevant.

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India was MODI-fied, over two years ago, with the election of the BJP party to govern India. Today in a country of one billion people Modi announced that OVERNIGHT all large denomination notes (500 and 1000 Rupees) would be abolished, imagine that? In a country with so many people, where the majority have a stash of notes at home and a significantly large minority aren’t known by the tax authorities, operate in an under-the-table-informal economy will now have to take their cash to the bank to get it exchanged. It is intended to tackle counterfeit notes, bribery, corruption, ‘black’ money and add to other polices such as IDs, bank accounts for poor people etc. that together help contribute to formalise society fully onto the ‘radar screen’.

Astonishing! img_1138

There will be much more to come. Banks are closed, ATMs not working. Once they reopen cash can be exchanged up to a maximum of  4000 Rs per day or put into a bank account within the next fifty days! These new notes will be issued in limited quantities from Thursday.

Cash chaos.

But it’s India so somehow it will all work out.

Next, we can now look forward to a President Trump!

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There’s an Elephant in the room.

Is this another example of how people in UK and now the US have become so disconnected with the political classes, the establishment power and the orthodoxy they represent? People are angry and are providing a strong message, wanting a different future.

Meanwhile, ‘laid-back’ Manjula relaxes, munching on the Roses Chocs I smuggled in (equivalent of five tubs) from the UK. She gives them out to friends, neighbours and relatives…..

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Why a blog?

the journal, our bloglet  is an experiment. Is there a story to tell? can it be told competently and ultimately, will it be engaging?

Only you and time will tell.

Our guests at the BnB are always asking for our story and often  suggest we share it to a wider audience. So here is our humble attempt, to relay our story of life in India. Manjula as a ‘young’ Indian woman and me as a much much older English guy. (the age gap isn’t a big as it looks…. he said defensively!)

We intend to introduce ourselves and our life here in India, local characters and the wonderful guests, from around the world, who come to Mysore to join our Mycycle tours and stay in our Mysore Bed and Breakfast. Its already a bit of a mad mix. On the way we hope to share insights into this amazing, crazy, challenging, annoying, ‘consistently inconsistent’ beautiful place and it’s people.

Please do regularly check into meandmycycle.com

If it’s of interest do share and pass on to others.

We value your opinion.

Do you want more of the same or something different? what shall we post? insights into Manjula’s life as a poor woman in modern India? an understanding of what its like for me as an English guy adjusting to life in this ‘differently organised’ world? our personal story of coming together from different cultures and backgrounds, the fun we have and the challenges we face? a better understanding of India (is that possible?) from our own limited experience.

Do let us know.

our very best wishes,

Manjula and Stephen

Oh, and exactly on cue I hear Lucy calling from downstairs. We haven’t forgotten she is of course the third and, dearly loved, part of our family here in India.

and Lucy, of course…

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one helluva trip

Lipsmackin, thirst quenchin travel …..

…..in a plane, train, open top buses, flash rental car, over and underground, Thames boat trip, friend’s cars, chain ferry, tram, narrow boat, taxi,

 

and a three week road trip to see the sights of England and Wales, London.

Of which… There’s just too many sights to mention….

passing through Chesterfield, Dronfield, Huddersfield, Sheffield, cities that haven’t been fields for a very long time,

Hereford’s black and white houses from hundreds of years back, countryside of Dorset, Oxfordshire, Warwick, Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Wiltshire, Wye Valley, Avon, Bath, steam fair carousel, Kingsclere, Hebden Bridge, ancient standing stones at Avebury and Stonehenge, the white horse, seaside at Swanage and Pool…. phew… no wonder I’m short of breath

burning up the roads or alternatively, gently chugging along whilst at times laboriously stepping up and down the canal,

…… glamping and camping, music festival, hills and dales, breathing in the history, basking in the sun, (amazingly, with very little rain Manjula reckons she brought the good weather), bee hives, art installations, museums, pubs, restaurants, restaurants and pubs, shops, shops, shops, markets, High Tea, Mummies,

 

so much walking Manj complains of aching legs, cycling (only one of us doing that) visiting old and new friends and family, restaurants, shops, political dialogue, (yes BREXIT was discussed and UKAOs)

’rounding’ as Manjula would call it and its a good job I took Gina’s advice ‘not to overdo it’ on reflection it was helluva lot.. who knows what’s racing around in Manjula’s brain 😉

meeting and staying with BnB guests, on sofas, beds, futon, air beds, camping, absorbing difference, chatting, shopping, eating out, appreciating it’s clean and green and above all and what really matters is ….

… meeting and sharing our time with wonderful, kind, patient, caring people.

 

As Manjula would often stop and exclaim…. Wow!

Thank you to you all for making this a special life time experience for Manjula.